Sam Tzen-yue Hwang, MD, PhD
Dr. Hwang’s work focuses on the mechanisms of immune cell trafficking to and from skin in inflammatory and neoplastic processes with a particular emphasis on the roles of chemoattractant cytokines (also known as chemokines). Initial studies in his laboratory addressed the processes by which antigen-presenting cells or dendritic cells of skin leave the skin after being triggered by inflammatory signals or antigens. He found that the chemokine, CCL21, and its receptor, CCR7, play significant roles in this process by recruiting activated DC into afferent lymphatic vessels. Dr. Hwang’s recent work focuses on the role of chemokine receptors in cancer metastasis. His laboratory has shown that cancer cells can also use CCR7 to increase metastasis to regional draining lymph nodes and that specific chemokine receptors (CXCR4, CCR10, and CCR7) play non-redundant roles in organ-selective melanoma metastasis and survival. Inhibition of the CXCR4 receptor, for example, with a specific antagonists was shown to synergize with immunotherapy in decreasing metastatic tumor burden in murine models of melanoma, raising the possibility that chemokine receptor antagonists may be useful in the therapy of human cancers.