Zloza Laboratory

Research Overview

Zloza Laboratory

     Research Overview

     Andrew Zloza, MD, PhD

     Current Lab Members

     Lab Alumni

Our laboratory focuses on understanding the interplay between infections, cancer, and the immune system. We have discovered that non-oncogenic infections (those that do not directly cause cancer) regulate tumor occurrence and growth (in both negative and positive ways). Therefore, we strive to understand the mechanisms underlying these effects and to translate our findings toward patient microbial-based therapies against cancer.

Toward this effort we have developed the autologous immune-reconstituted patient-derived xenograft (AIR-PDX) mouse model and novel biotechnologies. These allow us to conduct in vivo studies of a patient’s anti-cancer immune response in the context of that patient’s own intact tumor microenvironment, and to efficiently target our therapies to the tumor microenvironment. Our goals are to discover new cancer immunotherapies and to develop a unified theory of infection, cancer, and immunity. 


News and Events!

Last updated: July 30, 2018


JULY 2018

NIH FUNDING: We are very happy to announce that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has funded our 5-year R01 grant: "Role of IFN-lambda in Promoting Breast Cancer Metastasis". We expect to great advances in preventing cancer metastasis to come out of this study in collaboration with the laboratory of MPI Ahmed Lasfar, PhD!

Dr. Zloza has accepted a position on the Editorial Board of the journal, Cancer Biology and Therapy! Special thanks to Editor-in-chief, Wafik El-Deiry!

PUBLICATION: Our study “Novel bone morphogenetic protein receptor inhibitor JL5 suppresses tumor cell survival signaling and induces regression of human lung cancer” has been accepted for publication in Oncogene! The findings presented stem from a major collaboration with the laboratory of co-corresponding author John Langenfeld (Rutgers)! Congrats to our PhD candidate Jenna Newman on this first-author publication!


JUNE 2018

Congrats to our undergraduate student, Stuti Buddhadev, for being awarded The Douglass Project: STEM Summer Stipend 2018 to continue conducting her research in our lab this summer! Congrats Stuti!

PUBLICATION: Thanks to Jorge Romaguera (MD Anderson Cancer Center) and our collaborators at Oncoceutics for inviting us to contribute to their study "Integrated stress response and immune cell infiltration in an ibrutinib‐refractory mantle cell lymphoma patient following ONC201 treatment" published in the British Journal of Haematology!


MAY 2018

Congrats to our undergraduate student, Nora Herzog, for being awarded an NIH-sponsored "Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD)" grant to continue conducting her research in our lab this summer! Congrats Nora!

PUBLICATION: Thanks to the El-Deiry Lab (Fox Chase Cancer Center) for inviting us to contribute clinical trial data to their article "Dose intensification of TRAIL-inducing ONC201 inhibits metastasis and promotes intratumoral NK cell recruitment" published in  the Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI)!

Congrats to our PhD candidates Praveen Bommareddy and Jenna Newman who have been recruited to complete competative research internships this summer! Praveen will conduct research at Regeneron and Jenna will conduct research at Celularity! We know you will both represent our lab well and these will be unmatched experiences as you plan out your future!

Please join our Radiation Oncology resident Shang-Jui Wang at the annual American Association for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) meeting this coming October 21-24 in San Antonio, TX, where he has been awarded an oral presentation "Combined Radiation and Oncolytic Viral Therapy Augments Cytotoxic and Immunogenic Antitumor Effects Against Melanoma" -- congrats Shang-Jui!

Please join our PhD candidate Jenna Newman as she presents her work "Utilizing the 2017-2018 seasonal influenza vaccine as a treatment for cancer"on May 7th at the American Association of Immunologists (AA) annual meeting in Austin, TX!

APRIL 2018

PUBLICATION: Our study “Novel bone morphogenetic protein receptor inhibitor JL5 suppresses tumor cell survival signaling and induces regression of human lung cancer” conducted in collaboration with the Langenfeld Lab (Rutgers) has been published in Oncogene!  

Congrats to our undergraduate student, Mones Abo El Atta, who successfully defended his Honors Thesis based on his research in our lab! We wish you many future successes!


MARCH 2018

Congrats to our radiation oncology resident Sachin Jhawar who has been invited as one of 40 reserchers to present his work on combination oncolytic virus + radiation immunotherapy for cancer at the 4th Annual Immuno-Oncology Young Investigators' Forum (IOYIF) in Houston, TX in April! Good luck!
Congrats to our undergraduate student researech Eshan Kaul who has been accepted into the BA/MD Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Program and is ending his research experience in our lab. This early admission to medical school is well-deserved and we wish you the best of luck! 



Congrats to our medical student Russell Pepe who has received an American Heart Association (AHA) Medical Student Fellowship Award to continue his work utilizing our AIR-PDX model for stem cell-driven regeneration of patient cardiac tissues. This is a great collabortion with Leonard Lee and Shaohua Li and we expect great outcomes!

PUBLICATION: Thanks to the Goydos Lab (Rutgers CINJ) for involving us in their article "A phase II trial of riluzole, an antagonist of metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 (GRM1) signaling, in patients with advanced melanoma" which has been published in Pigmented Cell and Melanoma Research! This was a great collaboration with our research and clinical partners Ann Silk, Suzie Chen, and Janice Mehnert



Dr. Zloza has been nominated for an Autumn Immnology Confrence (AIC) General Council position and has accepted! It is a wonderful privledge to serve in this capacity!

PUBLICATION: A commentary authored by Dr. Zloza entitled, "Viruses, bacteria, and parasites - oh my! A resurgence of interest in microbial-based therapy for cancer" has been accepted for publication in the Journal for Immunothearpy of Cancer (JITC)! This is the first article published by JITC under its new rolling acceptance policy - what an honor!



Congrats to our PhD candidate, Jenna Newman, who was one of 41 students (out of over 1500 applicants!) selected to present her work on the interplay between influenza infection and cancer at the 2018 St. Jude National Graduate Student Symposium (NGSS) at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital on March 27 - March 29! Well done, Jenna!

PUBLICATION: Thanks to the Rudra Lab (University of Texas-Medical Branch) for involving us in their article  "Supramolecular Peptide Nanofibers Engage Mechanisms of Autophagy in Antigen-presenting Cells" accepted for publication in ACS Omega



Please join our medical students Sal Aspromonte and Russell Pepe and our PhD student Ricardo Estupinian at the Autumn Immunology Conference (AIC) annual meeting November 17-20 in Chicago, IL where they will give oral presentations on their accepted abstracs. Dr. Zloza will lead the Cancer Immunotherapy I workshop on November 18!

PUBLICATION: Our article "Nanoparticles: Augmenting Tumor Antigen Presentation for Vaccine and Immunotherapy Treatments of Cancer" has been published in Nanomedicine

Please join our PhD candidates Praveen Bommareddy (P110) and Jenna Newman (P481) at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) annual meeting November 9-12 in National Harbor, MD where they will present their accepted abstracts! Also see our collaborative clinical trial poster P235!



PUBLICATION: Our article "Infection:  A Cause of and Cure for Cancer" has been published in Current Pharmacology Reports

Congrats to our PhD candidate, Praveen Bommareddy, whose SITC Sparkathon team TimIOs has been selected as one of two teams to receive funding to overcome critical hurdles that challenge the field of cancer immunotherapy!

Please join our Radiation Oncology Resident Sachin Jhawar (in Cancun, Mexico!) as he presents his work "Oncolytic Virus Therapy with Talimogene Laherperepvec (T-VEC) Potentiates the Cytotoxic and Immunogenic Effects of Radiation Therapy in the Treatment of Melanoma" at the Radiation Research Society (RRS) 63rd Annual Meeting!



PUBLICATION: An article summarizing the workshop that Dr. Zloza co-organized at SITC 2016 (with Marcus Bosenberg of Yale and A. Karolina Palucka of Jackson Laboratory) "Workshop on challenges, insights, and future directions for mouse and humanized models in cancer immunology and immunotherapy: a report from the associated programs of the 2016 annual meeting for the Society for Immunotherapy of cancer" has been published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer (JITC)!

Please join our PhD candidate, Praveen Bommareddy, as he presents "Oncolytic HSV-1 viruses as novel therapies for melanoma treatment" at the International Conference on Cancer Biology and Drug Delivery on September 19 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA -- congrats Praveen!

NIH FUNDING: The NIH has awarded the Dr. Zloza a UM1 supplement grant for the study "Validation of flow cytometry for tumor immune cells after hypothermal transport" (Project Leader: Zloza)

Dr. Zloza has been quoted by Science News in the article "Zika counld one day help combat deadly brain cancer!"

PUBLICATION: Our article "Oncolytic Viruses - Natural and Genetically Engineered Cancer Immunotherapies" has been published by Frontiers in Oncology



PUBLICATION: Thanks to the Dr. Mark Stein (Rutgers CINJ) and our collaborators at Oncoceutics for involving us in the study "First-in-Human Clinical Trial of Oral ONC201 in Patients with Refractory Solid Tumors" published in Clinical Cancer Research! 


JULY 2017

Congrats to our graduate student Praveen Bommareddy, who has been selected as one of 29 young investigators to participate in the inaugural SITC Sparkathon!


JUNE 2017

Please join our graduate student Jenna Newman as she presents "Non-oncogenic Acute Viral Infection Slows Growth of Established Tumors in Concomitantly Challenged Hosts” at the Biotechnology Training Program Annual Symposium on June 8 at Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ.


MAY 2017

Congrats to our radiation oncology resident Sachin Jhawar who has been selected to receive a 2017 AAI Trainee Abstract Award and selected to give an oral presentation at the AAI - Immunology 2017 meeting on May 12th entitled, "Radiation Therapy and Talimogene Laherparepvec (TVEC) Synergize in the Treatment of Melanoma."

Please join our graduate student Jenna Newman and postdoctoral fellow C. Brent Chesson at the American Assoociation of Immunologists (AAI) - Immunology 2017 meeting in Washington, D.C., May 13-17 where they weill present posters based on their accepted abstracts. Congrats to Jenna Newman for receiving a Conference Travel Award for this conference from the Rutgers University Graduate School, New Brunswick, NJ.

Congrats to our PhD student Jenna Newman who received the Gallo Award for Scientific Excellence on May 25th at The 2017 Annual Retreat on Cancer Research in New Jersey! Jenna was also chosen to present a podium talk at this meeting!

Dr. Zloza has been selected to serve as a research mentor for the 2017 Emperor Science Award program! We look forward to hosting one of 100 high school students selected amongst 800 for this summer research experience!

Congrats to our Surgery Resident Michael Lee for being chosen to give a podium talk on his work with our AIR-PDX mouse model at the Resident Research Day on May 31st at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School!


APRIL 2017 

AWARD + FUNDING: Thank you! to the organizers of the 3rd Annual Immuno-Oncology Young Investigators’ Forum and to the Faculty Judges who bestowed on Dr. Zloza a 2nd Place Award and Research Grant in the Junior Faculty Category! It was completely unexpected, but is greatly appreciated!

PUBLICATION: Thanks to the Gupta Lab (Rush University) for involving us as collaborators on the study "CD11b activation suppresses TLR-dependent inflammation and autoimmunity in systemic lupus erythematosus" published in Journal of Clinical Investigation!

Congrats to graduate student Jenna Newman who presented her work on "Growth of Established Tumors is Reduced in Hosts Concomitantly Challenged with Non-oncogenic Acute Viral Infection" on April 8th in Pisctaway, NJ, where she was awarded an Excellent Poster Award at the Sino-American Pharmaceutical Association (SAPA) Symposium: Revolution in Cancer Treatment- Immunotherapy and Beyond meeting.

Dr. Zloza has been invited to present our lab's work on "Targeting Anti-viral Immune Responses to Recondition the Tumor Microenvironment" at the  3rd Annual Immuno-Oncology Young Investigators’ Forum Forum held on April 20-23 in Houston, Texas -- what a great honor!


MARCH 2017 

Please join graduate student Jenna Newman at the JMBGSA Graduate Student Symposium on March 24 at Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ, where she will present "Non-oncogenic Acute Viral Infection Slows Growth of Established Tumors in Concomitantly Challenged Hosts."

PUBLICATION: Thanks to the Kaufman Lab (Rutgers) for involving us in this review  "Talimogene Laherparepvec (T-VEC) as Cancer Immunotherapy" published in Personalized Medicine in Oncology!

Please join Dr. Zloza at the 3rd Annual Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors (ICI) Meeting in Boston, MA on March 15, where he has been invited to present "Enhancing The Translatability Of Preclinical Models To Boost Translation Into The Clinic."



Please join Dr. Zloza at the ImmunoTX Summit 2017, February 6 in San Diego, CA as he moderates the "Conditioning the Tumor Microenvironment for Immunotherapy" section and presents our work on "Harnessing Anti-Pathogen Immune Responses to Recondition the Tumor Microenvironment"



FUNDING: C. Brent Chesson (post-doctoral fellow) has been awarded a Post-Doctoral Fellowship Grant from the New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research! Congrats, Brent!

PUBLICATION: Our study “Low dose interleukin-2 (IL-2) impairs host anti-tumor immunity and inhibits therapeutic responses” conducted in collaboration with the Kaufman Lab (Rutgers) has been published in Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy!

PUBLICATION: Thanks to the Reiser Lab (Rush University) for involving us in this collaboration: "Bone marrow-derived immature myeloid cells are a main source of circulating suPAR contributing to proteinuric kidney disease" published in Nature Medicine!



PUBLICATION: Thanks to the Lasfar Lab (Rutgers) for involving us in the study "IFN-λ: A New Inducer of Local Immunity against Cancer and Infections" published in Frontiers in Immunology.



Please join our postdoctoral fellow C. Brent Chesson at the Autumn Immunology Conference (AIC) annual meeting November 18-21 in Chicago, IL where he will give oral presentation on his accepted abstrac. Dr. Zloza will lead the Cancer Immunotherapy I workshop on November 19!

Please join Dr. Zloza at the 2016 Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) Annual Meeting in National Harbor, MD on November 10th for the workshop that he has co-organized "Workshop on Challenges, Insights, and Future Directions for Mouse and Humanized Models in Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy" as he moderates "Session I: Introduction to Models of Immunotherapy" and presents an "Overview of Patient-Derived Xenograft (PDX) Models."

Please visit our poster "Local but not distant viral infection improves cancer outcomes: implications for cancer immunotherapy" presented by graduate student Jenna Newman at SITC 2016!



PUBLICATION: Our study “Non-oncogenic acute viral infections disrupt anti-cancer responses and lead to accelerated cancer-specific host death” is now published in Cell Reports! This is the first in a line of very intersting discoveries we have made regarding the interaction between infections and cancer!  

Congrats to our postdoctoral fellow C. Brest Chesson who was selected to give an oral presentationf of his study "Single-step Nanoparticle Antigen Presentation System for Tumor Immunotherapy" at the BioMedical Engineering Society (BMES) annual meeting October 5-8 in Minneapolis, MN!



FUNDING: Our study “Autologous double-humanized mouse model for the study of Pembrolizumab” (MISP # 55542) has been funded by Merck (PI: Zloza). 

FUNDING: We been awarded research funding from Gateway For Cancer Research for our collaborative proposal with the Kaufman Lab (Rutgers) on the study “Combination Oncolytic Virus and PD-1 Blockade for Melanoma Treatment” (PI: Kaufman, Co-PI: Zloza)



PUBLICATION: Thanks to the Lasfar Lab (Rutgers) for involving us on the study "Concerted action of IFN-α and IFN-λ induces local NK cell immunity and halts cancer growth" published in Oncotarget!


JULY 2016

PUBLICATION: Thanks to the Lasfar Lab (Rutgers) for involving us on the review "IFN-λ cancer immunotherapy: new kid on the block." published in Immunotherapy!


MARCH 2016

PUBLICATION: Thanks to the Kaufman Lab (Rutgers) and our collaborators at Amgen for involving us in the study "Systemic versus local responses in melanoma patients treated with talimogene laherparepvec from a multi-institutional phase II study" pubished in the Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer.



PUBLICATION: Thanks to the Lasfar Lab (Rutgers) for including us on the reivew "IFN-lambda therapy: current status and future perspectives" published in Drug Discovery Today!



PUBLICATION: Our review "Talimogene laherparepvec (T-VEC) as cancer immunotherapy" in collaboration with the Kaufman Lab (Rutgers) has been published in Drugs Today!

PUBLICATION: Our review "Oncolytic viruses: a new class of immunotherapy drugs" has been published in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery!


JUNE 2015

PUBLICATION: Thanks to the Rudra Lab (University of Texas-Medical Branch) for involving us in the study "Enhancing the Magnitude of Antibody Responses through Biomaterial Stereochemistry" that has been published in ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering!


MAY 2015

AWARD: The American Association of Immunologists (AAI) has awarded Dr. Zloza the 2015 Chambers-eBioscience Memorial Award! Thank you for this great honor!

PUBLICATION: Our study "NK cells and CD8+ T cells cooperate to improve therapeutic responses in melanoma treated with interleukin-2 (IL-2) and CTLA-4 blockade" has been published in the Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer!

Please join Dr. Zloza at the annual AAI meeting Immunology 2015 on May 8th in New Orleans, LA where he will present the study "Combination immunotherapy utilizing influenza infection and PD-1 blockade reduces lung melanoma tumor growth" for which he has received the  2015 Chambers-eBioscience Memorial Award!


APRIL 2015

PUBLICATION: Thanks to the Sun Lab (UIC) for involving us in the study "HIV Infection Leads to Redistribution of Leaky Claudin-2 in the Intestine of Humanized SCID IL-2R(-/-) Hu-PBMC Mice" published in AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses.



WE HAVE ARRIVED! I want to thank the administration at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and the Department of Surgery at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School for recruiting us here! Let a new phase in our discovery of mechanisms and development of cures for cancer begin!

THANK YOU! I want to thank my friends and colleagues in the Department of Internal Medicine and Department of Immunology/Microbiology at Rush University for a life-changing experience and for all the kind wishes on our move! -- we will miss seeing you all daily!


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