About us

Yantasee lab is part of the Biomedical Engineering Department of Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) School of Medicine. We combine novel nanotechnology and cancer systems biology to develop next-generation combination immunotherapies for cancer. We aspire to substantially improve health care using our proprietary nanotechnology platform. It can co-deliver siRNA, chemo drugs, vaccines, and/or immunotherapies. We capitalize on this platform to generate next generation combination immune therapies for cancer by co-delivering therapeutics targeting complementary cancer and immune pathways, leading to synergistic clinical benefits. 

About Dr. Yantasee

In addition to her position as Professor at OHSU, Dr. Yantasee is also a Research Member of the Knight Cancer Institute and a Nanomedicine Signature Researcher at Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI)


    February 21, 2023

    The Yantasee lab at OHSU in collaboration with PDX Pharmaceuticals has been awarded a phase II SBIR grant of $1.87M for 2 years from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) focusing on the development of a new nano-immunotherapy ARAC-02 (Antigen Release Agent and Checkpoint Inhibitor) for lung cancer treatment. ARAC-02 – nanoparticle co-delivering a PD-L1 antibody, a polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) inhibitor, and an immune-stimulant CpG – provides effective antitumor immune response via CD8+ T cell activities. The original grant application of ARAC-02 had high merit and received a rare perfect score from the NIH. We met all phase I SBIR milestones on formulation optimization and initial efficacy and safety studies in cells and in mice, which leads to phase II SBIR grant awarded for ARAC-02’s evaluation in multiple lung cancer models. Many cancers including lung cancer depend on PLK1 for cell division and growth, and PLK1 inhibition by ARAC-02 will lead to cell death. After PLK1 inhibition, ARAC-02 transiently upregulates PD-L1 expression, rendering the cancer (which may originally have low PD-L1 expression and are not eligible for immune checkpoint inhibitors, ICIs) more sensitive to PD-L1 antibody serving as the ICI and cancer homing agent on ARAC-02. We also show that CpG on ARAC-02, which recruits and activates antigen-presenting cells, enhance CD8+ T cell population and activities. Our current data suggest that ARAC-02 will have broad efficacy in lung and other cancer types (e.g., breast, liver, and pancreatic cancer) regardless of mutational status. ARAC-02 is anticipated to reach clinical trials next year. Data on ARAC (without CpG) was published in Nature Communications (view online). A US patent (US11224573B2) on the ARAC technology was also issued in Jan, 2022.


    March 21, 2022

    Data on T-siHER2-NP(DTX) featured as a cover article in Small (IF 13).

    Yantasee Lab in collaboration with PDX Pharmaceuticals and the Hynynen lab at Sunnybrook Research Institute, co-authored a cover article published in Small Journal, which describes our nano-therapeutic for treating advanced HER2+ breast cancer. 

    The article describes how our nanoparticle platform (Pdx-NPTM) can load 3 different classes of therapeutics, including HER2 siRNA, docetaxel (chemotherapeutic) and trastuzumab (anti-HER2 antibody) and deliver them to a breast tumor at once. By co-delivering these therapeutics, T-siHER2-NP(DTX) can overcome resistance of HER2+ breast cancer to the first-line treatment regimen, while improving toxicity by specifically targeting HER2+ cells.

    To read the paper, click here.

    February 7, 2022

    Three new US patents issued to Yantasee Lab in collaboration with PDX Pharmaceuticals, Inc. To date, the Yantasee lab have had a total of 38 patent applications, and 3 patents were issued in the past 3 months. All thanks to our dedicated team of researchers.

    - Patent No. 11,235,058, Immunotherapeutic constructs and methods of their use, February 1, 2022

    - Patent No. 11,224,573, Therapeutic constructs for co-delivery of mitotic kinase inhibitor and immune checkpoint inhibitor, January 18, 2022

    - Patent No. 11,207,428, Cross-linked polymer modified nanoparticles, December 28, 2021

    They are the joint inventions of OHSU and PDX Pharmaceuticals. Huge thanks to our research teams, Tanya Harding of Lee & Hayes (our patent attorney), and the NIH’s NCI for sponsoring the research (R44CA217534, R44CA265751, and R44CA265752). The content is solely the responsibility of the inventors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

    October, 2021

    Yantasee and team have received the USPTO’s Notice of Allowance for two US patents including  US 16/999,948 titled “Immunotherapeutic constructs and methods of their use” and US 17/023,311 titled “Therapeutic constructs for co-delivery of mitotic kinase inhibitor and immune checkpoint inhibitor”. The patent should be issued shortly. Both technologies are joint inventions of OHSU and her startup, PDX Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 

    September, 2021

    Yantasee Lab in collaboration with PDX Pharmaceuticals, Inc., has received a perfect score (10) on its fast track SBIR grant application to the NCI. The application focuses on development of PDX Pharma’s ARACTM pipeline, a systemic nano-immunotherapy for tumor not accessible for local treatment or injection. Grant title: Novel Nano-immunotherapy for Treatment of Non-small Cell Lung Cancer, and was awarded $2.26 M ($378K as phase I) over 3 years.

    Furthermore, the team scored very high (18) on its direct phase II SBIR grant application to the NCI. The application focuses on IND enabling studies of AIRISETM pipeline, an innovative, next generation immunotherapeutic. Grant title: In Situ Tumor Vaccination with a Nano-oligo Therapeutic to Induce Whole-body Antitumor Immune Response, and was awarded $2.0 M over 1.5 years

    July 29, 2021

    Yantasee Lab in collaboration with PDX Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and the Knight Cancer Institute recently published a paper in the Advanced Materials Journal on in situ tumor vaccination with AIRISE-02. This paper was featured as a cover article in Advanced Materials (impact factor 30.8), and selected for women in materials science collection. To read the paper, click here. To read more about the Women in Materials Science collection, click here

    May 6, 2021

    Yantasee Lab in collaboration with PDX Pharmaceuticals, Inc., has received the USPTO’s Notice of Allowance for the patent application US 15/429,971 on its core nanoparticle technology (Pdx-NP) encompassing “Compositions” and “Method of Use” claims. The patent should be issued shortly. The technology is a joint invention of OHSU and PDX Pharma. It was first reported as a cover article in Advanced Functional Materials in 2015.