City of Hope’s Department of Immunology, one ofeight major basic science (“Laboratory Research”) departments of the Beckman Research Institute, was established in 1972 by Charles Todd. At that time, immune-based therapies were used on a very limited basis in cancer treatment, reserved for conditions such as malignant melanoma and bladder cancer. Most immunotherapy treatments consisted of agents such as BCG and interferon.

In recent years, the field of cancer immunology has grown by leaps and bounds, and a wide range of neoplastic diseases, including both hematologic malignancies and solid tumors,are routinely being treated with a well-stocked armamentarium of monoclonal antibodies and other immunotherapy methods.

The Department of Immunology continues its original vision, with a dual focus on both immunology and structural biology. It has seven principal investigators with research interests in cell and tumor immunology and structure analysis, who are aided by state-of-the-art facilities in mass spectrometry and NMR, as well as a computer cluster for computational chemistry.

The unique combination of biological and structural studies and the intensive exploration of structure-function relationships have created a thriving, productive environment that has encouraged fruitful collaboration among investigators at City of Hope and at other institutions.
Laboratory Research

John Shively, Ph.D. -  CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) gene family
Dr. Shively's lab specializes in the CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) gene family. In particular, he is researching the use of anti-CEA antibodies for tumor imaging and therapy and the role of CEACAM1 in T-cell activation and mammary epithelial cell polarization.  He is also exploring the relationship of the immune system and genetics to fibromyalgia.
Terry Lee, Ph.D. - Optimizing the application of biomolecule mass spectrometry
Dr. Lee’s focus is optimizing the application of biomolecule mass spectrometry to “real-world” biological problems. He develops new methods for proteomic analyses by mass spectrometry including integrated microfluidic systems for sample preparation and automated methods of data acquisition and analysis.
Markus Kalkum, Ph.D. - Develops novel biochemical and mass spectrometric methods
Dr. Kalkum develops novel biochemical and mass spectrometric methods for the sensitive detection of functional biomolecules in complex samples. His goal is to improve the early diagnosis of emerging and frequently under-diagnosed diseases, including opportunistic fungal and bacterial infections common in transplant recipients.
Nagarajan Vaidehi, Ph.D. - Devises computational approaches
Dr. Vaidehi devises computational approaches to study the structure, function and dynamics of G-protein coupled receptors. Of particular interest is the interaction of chemokines, and antagonists to the chemokine receptors, that trigger leukocyte migration in immune response and inflammation. By predicting binding-site interactions of agonists and antagonists with the receptors, the drug development process is greatly streamlined.
Zuoming Sun, Ph.D. - Studies the mechanisms controlling T-cell activation and survival
Dr. Sun’s lab studies the mechanisms controlling T-cell activation and survival. Activation and survival of T-lymphocytes control the quality and magnitude of immune response. Manipulation of T-cell activity is therefore one of the most important treatments for 1) enhancing immune responses against pathogens and tumors and 2) inhibiting the immune responses involved in autoimmune diseases and transplant rejection.