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Yu-Tzu Tai, PhD

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  • Principal Scientist

Contact Information

  • Office Phone Number617-632-3875


Dr. Yu-Tzu Tai received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Environmental Toxicology/Human Oncology and post-doctoral training in the Medical Oncology Department at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She joined the laboratory of Dr. Kenneth C. Anderson to focus on multiple myeloma research in 2000 and was promoted to Sr. Research Scientist in 2009.  


Targeted immunotherapy for myeloma and lymphoma 

Monoclonal antibody (mAb)-based targeted therapy finally becomes available as a novel treatment strategy for patients with multiple myeloma (MM) following over a decade of evaluating many mAbs targeting various antigens pre-clinically and clinically. The continuous goal is to both identify more selective MM target antigens and develop more effective targeted immunotherapy to treat MM at various disease stages. Following promising pre-clinical results of my previous studies on elotuzumab targeting a new MM antigen SLAMF7/CS1 and daratumumab targeting CD38, encouraging clinical activities when combined with lenalidomide/dexamethasone have quickly moved these two Abs into multiple phase III clnical trials in MM. Specifically, daratumumab showing acceptable safety profile with signs of single agent activity in relapsed and refractory MM with diverse heterogenecity, is the first Ab approved by FDA in treating MM patients in 2015. Most recently, we further identified that the second therapeutic anti-CD38 mAb SAR650984 (SAR) directly kills p53-mutated MM cells, which represent high-risk patient subgroup, via lysosomal activation and reactive oxygen species. This is the first therapeutic mAb inducing direct tumor cell death without immune effector cells. Although caspase 3/7-dependent apoptosis plays a minor role in SAR-induced myeloma cell death, it is synergistically activated when SAR is combined with Pomalidomide, strongly supporting ongoing combination trials in resistant MM and other CD38-expressing blood cancers. However, these antigens still lack tumor specificity since they also expressed in other normal tissues including NK and T effectors, which could limit their clinical utilities. Therefore, novel therapeutic mAbs to achieve improved MM selectivity and simultaneously producing cytotoxicity against tumor cells protected by their bone marrow microenvironment are urgently needed. Very encouragingly, we reported that B cell maturation antigen is universally expressed on the MM cell surface which can be effectively targeted by a novel humanized and afucosylated antagonistic anti-BCMA antibody-drug conjugate via a noncleavable linker. These studies demonstrate more potent and selective myeloma cell killing without affecting surrounding antigen-null non-tumor cells via multiple cytotoxic mechanisms even in two mice models, thus providing promising next-generation immunotherapeutics to overcome drug resistance. We are further defining molecular mechanisms regulating this signaling pathway in various aspects of myeloma pathophysiology and continuing to improve effectiveness of immunotherapies using multiple mAb- and cell-based approaches. We also characterize other novel cancer pathways, i.e., BTK and CRM1/XPO1, ligands to BCMA, and immuno-checkpoint proteins in the interaction and suppression of osteoclasts or various immune cells with myeloma cells in the immunesuppressive bone marrow microenvironment. 

Tai YT, Anderson KC. Targeting B-cell maturation antigen in multiple myeloma. 2015. PubMed

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Jiang H, Acharya C, An G, Zhong M, Feng X, Wang L, Dasilva N, Song Z, Yang G, Adrian F, Qiu L, Richardson P, Munshi NC, Tai YT, Anderson KC. SAR650984 directly induces multiple myeloma cell death via lysosomal-associated and apoptotic pathways, which is further enhanced by pomalidomide. Leukemia 2015. PubMed

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Cottini F, Hideshima T, Suzuki R, Tai YT, Bianchini G, Richardson PG, Anderson KC, Tonon G. Synthetic lethal approaches exploiting DNA damage in aggressive myeloma. 2015. PubMed

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Laubach JP, Tai YT, Richardson PG, Anderson KC. Daratumumab granted breakthrough drug status. Expert Opin Investig Drugs 2014; 23:445-52. PubMed

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Tai YT, Mayes PA, Acharya C, Zhong MY, Cea M, Cagnetta A, Craigen J, Yates J, Gliddon L, Fieles W, Hoang B, Tunstead J, Christie AL, Kung AL, Richardson P, Munshi NC, Anderson KC. Novel afucosylated anti-B cell maturation antigen-monomethyl auristatin F antibody-drug conjugate (GSK2857916) induces potent and selective anti-multiple myeloma activity. Blood 2014. PubMed

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Tai YT, Landesman Y, Acharya C, Calle Y, Zhong MY, Cea M, Tannenbaum D, Cagnetta A, Reagan M, Munshi AA, Senapedis W, Saint-Martin JR, Kashyap T, Shacham S, Kauffman M, Gu Y, Wu L, Ghobrial I, Zhan F, Kung AL, Schey SA, Richardson P, Munshi NC, Anderson KC.
CRM1 inhibition induces tumor cell cytotoxicity and impairs osteoclastogenesis in multiple myeloma: molecular mechanisms and therapeutic implications.
Leukemia. 2014 Jan;28(1):155-65.

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Tian Z, D'Arcy P, Wang X, Ray A, Tai YT, Hu Y, Carrasco RD, Richardson P, Linder S, Chauhan D, Anderson KC. A novel small molecule inhibitor of deubiquitylating enzyme USP14 and UCHL5 induces apoptosis in multiple myeloma and overcomes bortezomib resistance. Blood 2014; 123:706-16. PubMed

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Yang G, Zhou Y, Liu X, Xu L, Cao Y, Manning RJ, Patterson CJ, Buhrlage SJ, Gray N, Tai YT, Anderson KC, Hunter ZR, Treon SP. A mutation in MYD88 (L265P) supports the survival of lymphoplasmacytic cells by activation of Bruton tyrosine kinase in Waldenstr?m macroglobulinemia. Blood 2013; 122:1222-32. PubMed

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Roccaro AM, Sacco A, Maiso P, Azab AK, Tai YT, Reagan M, Azab F, Flores LM, Campigotto F, Weller E, Anderson KC, Scadden DT, Ghobrial IM. BM mesenchymal stromal cell-derived exosomes facilitate multiple myeloma progression. J Clin Invest 2013; 123:1542-55. PubMed

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Xu L, Hunter ZR, Yang G, Zhou Y, Cao Y, Liu X, Morra E, Trojani A, Greco A, Arcaini L, Varettoni M, Varettoni M, Brown JR, Tai YT, Anderson KC, Munshi NC, Patterson CJ, Manning RJ, Tripsas CK, Lindeman NI, Treon SP. MYD88 L265P in Waldenstr?m macroglobulinemia, immunoglobulin M monoclonal gammopathy, and other B-cell lymphoproliferative disorders using conventional and quantitative allele-specific polymerase chain reaction. Blood 2013; 121:2051-8. PubMed

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Tai YT, Anderson KC. Bruton's tyrosine kinase: oncotarget in myeloma. 2012; 3:913-4. PubMed

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Tai YT, Chang BY, Kong SY, Fulciniti M, Yang G, Calle Y, Hu Y, Lin J, Zhao JJ, Cagnetta A, Cea M, Sellitto MA, Zhong MY, Wang Q, Acharya C, Carrasco DR, Buggy JJ, Elias L, Treon SP, Matsui W, Richardson P, Munshi NC, Anderson KC. Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibition is a novel therapeutic strategy targeting tumor in the bone marrow microenvironment in multiple myeloma. Blood 2012; 120:1877-87. PubMed


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