Newswise — HOUSTON-(June 7, 2017)-Houston Methodist is launching the Center for Immunotherapy Research under the leadership of Shu-Hsia Chen, Ph.D., a cancer immunotherapy researcher recruited from  Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Chen focuses on harnessing the immune system to fight cancer by developing and identifying new therapies that can change the tumor microenvironment and render tumors respond to treatment. The center will expand the growing cancer immunotherapy research programs at Houston Methodist.

Chen is considered one of the pioneers in identifying a group of immune suppressive cells found in cancer patients (myeloid-derived suppressor cells). These cells tend to expand in chronic inflammatory conditions and in cancer patients, so Chen’s team has also focused on reprogramming this immune suppressive cell population. She invented methods of using novel immune checkpoints to modulate myeloid suppressor cell function for treating cancer, and chronic inflammatory diseases.

She brings a team of 10, including senior scientist Ping-Ying Pan, Ph.D., the center’s co-director. Pan focuses on harnessing immunosuppressive function of myeloid cells for preventing rejection in bone marrow transplantation and for treatment of autoimmune diseases. He will work closely with the Immunobiology and Transplant Science Center at Houston Methodist.

Chen’s preclinical and clinical research is supported by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, and numerous companies.

To speak with Shu-Hsia Chen, Ph.D., contact Gale Smith, Houston Methodist, at 281.627.0439 or [email protected]. For more information about Houston Methodist, visit Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.


Houston Methodist’s cancer programs include the Houston Methodist Cancer Center, led by Jenny Chang, M.D., internationally-known in breast cancer research, specifically triple negative breast cancer; an NCI-designated Center for Transport Oncophysics (physics of mass transport in cancer-stricken organisms), led by Mauro Ferrari, Ph.D., president and CEO, Houston Methodist Research Institute; the Center for Inflammation and Epigenetics, led by Rongfu Wang, Ph.D.; and the Center for Biomarkers, led by Dario Marchetti, Ph.D.