Cassian Yee, MD

  • Recruited to: The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Recruited from: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/The University of Washington
  • Award: Established Investigator

Dr. Cassian Yee is a professor in the Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology and Department of Immunology at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center. He also serves as the Director of the Solid Tumor Cell Therapy Program there. Previously, Dr. Yee was a professor in the Division of Oncology at the University of Washington and a Member in Program in Immunology, Clinical Research Division of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

After receiving his medical degree from the University of Manitoba in Canada, Dr. Yee trained as a research fellow at the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto and continued his medical residency at Stanford University. He completed a fellowship in medical oncology and postdoctoral research studies at the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Dr. Yee is a recipient of the Cancer Research Institute Investigator Award and the Damon Runyon Walter Winchell Clinical Investigator Award. He is also a Burroughs Wellcome Scientist in Translational Research and elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and co-leader of the Stand Up to Cancer Immunology Dream Team.

Dr. Yee’s research was among the first to show that adoptive T-cell therapy holds great promise for treating melanoma, a potentially fatal form of skin cancer. His team described the first successful use of a patient’s own T-cells as the sole therapy to put advanced melanoma into long-term remission. Additionally, he demonstrated for the first time that human T cells can become long-lasting memory cells after infusion and, when combined with a checkpoint inhibitor, halt tumor growth in patients with metastatic melanoma. Using this combinational approach, Dr. Yee’s team seeks to develop adoptive T cell therapy as a clinically feasible treatment modality for patients with solid tumor malignancies in general.