Raymond Wong, Ph.D.


Raymond-Wong-Photo1Throughout his career, Raymond Wong, Ph.D. has conducted cancer immunotherapy research in both the academic and biotechnology sectors. His past projects focused on synthetic cancer vaccines and Programmed Death-1 immune checkpoint inhibition using nivolumab (Opdivo®), which is now FDA-approved for treating melanoma and lung cancer. Major advances in the clinical development of immune checkpoint inhibitors for cancer therapy have created much interest in identifying potential synergies with other immunotherapies. Dr. Wong’s current research involves engineering mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to deliver immunotherapeutic agents deep into the stroma of tumors. MSCs are a type of adult stem cell that can be expanded from healthy bone marrow, fat tissue, umbilical cord blood and placenta. Owing to their putative tumor-homing properties, there is current interest in exploring MSCs as potential “universal” vectors for delivering therapeutic agents into tumors. Tumor-targeted delivery of immunostimulatory proteins, such as cytokines, could potentially sensitize tumors to other forms of immunotherapy.


Ph.D. Molecular Microbiology and Immunology 2006
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

B.S. Biological Sciences 2001
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

Selected presentations

Wong R. “Enhancing immune-based therapies for mesothelioma.”
5th International Symposium on Lung-Sparing Therapies for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. Santa Monica, CA. May 2, 2015

Wong R. “Targeting the mesothelioma stroma with mesenchymal stem cells.”
4th International Symposium on Lung-Sparing Therapies for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. Santa Monica, CA. June 7, 2014.

Wong R. “Investigating the tumor microenvironment using 3D multicellular mesothelioma spheroids.” 3rd International Symposium on Lung-Sparing Therapies for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.  Santa Monica, CA. May 18, 2013.

Wong R. “Regulation of CD8+ T cell-associated PD-1 expression by antigen-dependent and -independent signaling.”  American Association of Immunologists Annual Conference.  San Diego, CA.  April 7, 2008.


Kotova S, Wong RM, and Cameron RB. New and emerging therapeutic options for malignant pleural mesothelioma: review of early clinical trials. Cancer Manag Res. 7:51-63, 2015.

Olevsky O, Wong RM, and Cameron RB. New Results and Concepts in Systemic Treatment of Mesothelioma. Proceedings of UCLA Healthcare – VOLUME 18 (2014).

Wong RM, Ianculescu I, Sharma S, Gage DL, Olevsky OM, Kotova S, Kostic MN, Grundfest WS, Hou D, and Cameron RB. Immunotherapy for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: Current Status and Future Prospects. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 50:870-5, 2014.

Smith KA, Qiu Z, Wong R, Tam VL, Tam BL, Joea DK, Quach A, Liu X, Pold M, Malyankar UM, and Bot A. Multivalent immunity targeting tumor-associated antigens by intra-lymph node DNA-prime, peptide-boost vaccination.  Cancer Gene Therapy.  18:63-76, 2011.

Bot A, Qiu Z, Wong R, Obrocea M, and Smith KA. Programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) at the heart of heterologous prime-boost vaccines and regulation of CD8+ T cell immunity.  Journal of Translational Medicine.  14:132, 2010.

Smith KA, Meisenburg BL, Tam VL, Pagarigan RR, Wong R, Joea DK, Lantzy L, Carrillo MA, Gross TM, Malyankar UM, Chiang CS, Da Silva DM, Kündig TM, Kast WM, Qiu Z, and Bot A.  Lymph node-targeted immunotherapy mediates potent immunity resulting in regression of isolated or metastatic human papillomavirus-transformed tumors.  Clinical Cancer Research. 15:6167-76, 2009.

Wong RM, Smith KA, Tam VL, Pagarigan RR, Meisenburg BL, Quach AM, Carrillo MA, Qiu Z, and Bot AI. TLR-9 signaling and TCR stimulation co-regulate CD8(+) T cell-associated PD-1 expression.  Immunology Letters. 127:60-7, 2009.

Smith KA, Tam VL, Wong RM, Pagarigan RR, Meisenburg BL, Joea DK, Liu X, Sanders C, Diamond D, Kündig TM, Qiu Z, and Bot A.  Enhancing DNA vaccination by sequential injection of lymph nodes with plasmid vectors and peptides.  Vaccine. 27:2603-15, 2009.

Wong RM and Weber JS.  Peptide and protein vaccines for cancer.  In Kaufman HL and Wolchok JD (Eds.), General Principles of Tumor Immunotherapy.  Chapter 8, 2007.

Wong RM, Scotland R, Lau R, Wang C, Korman J, Kast WM, and Weber J. PD-1 blockade enhances expansion and functional capacity of human melanoma antigen-specific CTLs.  International Immunology.  19:1223-32, 2007.

Wong R, Lau R, Chang J, Kuus-Reichel T, Brichard V, Bruck C, and Weber J.  Immune responses to a class II helper peptide epitope in patients with stage III/IV resected melanoma.  Clinical Cancer Research.  10:5004-13, 2004.

Chiong B, Wong R, Lee P, Delto J, Scotland R, Lau R, and Weber J.  Characterization of long-term effector-memory T-cell responses in patients with resected high-risk melanoma receiving a melanoma peptide vaccine.  Journal of Immunotherapy.  27:368-79, 2004.