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James C. Yang, M.D.

Portait Photo of James Yang
Surgery Branch
Senior Investigator
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
Building 10 CRC, Room 3-5952
Bethesda, MD 20892


Dr. Yang graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a B.S. in biology. He then completed his M.D. and surgical internship and residency at the University of California, San Diego. In 1984, he came to the Surgery Branch, NCI, as a medical staff fellow. He subsequently became a senior staff fellow, then a senior investigator in 1987. He has been involved in studies of the immune response to tumor-associated antigens and has been a principal investigator of clinical trials in renal cell carcinoma and soft tissue sarcoma.


Immune Rejection Mechanisms in Melanoma, Renal Cancer and Other Human Cancers

Our laboratory's major interest is in understanding the mechanisms of immune tumor rejection and then developing reagents to translate this understanding into clinical trials. In the last decade, it has been established that the immune system can cause the complete and durable rejection of certain metastatic cancers in some individuals. Our understanding of this process has been greatly enhanced by the discovery of several dozen tumor-associated antigens expressed by human melanoma, which can be recognized by tumor-reactive T cells. At this point, our major new challenges include:

1) understanding why human melanomas frequently contain tumor-reactive T cells in their tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) and why other human tumors appear not to,

2) discovering why human renal cancers respond to immunotherapies very similarly to melanomas, even without containing tumor-reactive TIL, and

3) developing the reagents necessary to induce T-cell-mediated rejection of non-melanoma tumors based on principles learned from treating melanoma with T-cell adoptive transfer.

This page was last updated on 12/11/2013.