Dr. Xin Lu, the John M. and Mary Jo Bohler Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences was one of two scientists nationwide to receive the 2021 Young Investigator Award from the Society for Basic Urologic Research (SBUR). SBUR, the pre-eminent US-based urologic research society founded in 1986, annually recognizes young investigators who are under the age of 45, within 5 years of their first faculty position and have made significant contributions to urologic research. Dr. Lu presented an acceptance speech and research seminar entitled "Prostate cancer and penile cancer: Similarity in immunosuppression" at the SBUR 2021 Annual Meeting (Nov. 4-7, 2021).
Dr. Lu’s laboratory is focused on identifying cancer cell intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms of tumor escape of immune surveillance, particularly in metastatic prostate cancer, breast cancer, and rare cancers (VHL disease, penile cancer). Recent publications from the Lu lab firmly establish that immunosuppressive neutrophils (also known as polymorphonuclear myeloid-derived suppressor cells, PMN-MDSCs), play the predominant role in inducing the exhaustion of effector T cells in the tumor microenvironment across multiple solid tumors. A number of mechanisms and targeting strategies of PMN-MDSCs have been reported by the Lu lab including the CXCR1/2 inhibitor SX-682, the tyrosine kinase inhibitor cabozantinib, and the cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor celecoxib, which may open new avenues to sensitize advanced malignancies to immune checkpoint blockade therapy. Dr. Lu also investigates and develops novel immuno-therapeutics and molecularly-targeted therapeutics, including antibody-drug conjugates, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-engineered NK cells and small molecules targeting transcription coactivators that promote metastasis.
Dr. Lu’s research at Notre Dame is supported by extramural federal and foundation funding agencies including the National Cancer Institute, the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, the Walther Cancer Foundation, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the American Institute for Cancer Research, the Mary Kay Foundation and the Elsa U. Pardee Foundation. His laboratory also receives internal support from the Harper Cancer Research Institute, the Indiana-CTSI, the Boler-Parseghian Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases, and the Warren Family Center for Drug Discovery.