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James Lee

James Lee, MD

Assistant Professor
Department of Radiation Oncology
University of California, San Francisco

Immunology, tennis, rock-climbing, surfing, movies

Meet Dr. Lee

I am a physician-scientist with a research interest in resistance mechanisms to cancer immunotherapy drugs. Through innovative and diligent translational research, my ultimate goal is to see the next generation of immunotherapy treatments bring lasting and curative responses to more stage IV cancer patients.

James Lee, MD is a melanoma oncologist and physician-scientist with over a decade of research experience in immuno-oncology, with expertise in complex preclinical models of checkpoint inhibitor and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapies. His early contribution include the testing of 2nd/3rd generation CAR T cells in syngeneic immunocompetent animal models, results which were later contributed to the establishment of the FDA approved CAR T cell program for CD19+ leukemia/lymphomas. Currently, he is working with the Parker Institute of Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI) designing the next generation cancer immunotherapeutics for more precision and efficacy capable of overcoming the tolerant/suppressive tissue-specific tumor microenvironment associated with advanced cancers, with a focus on liver and bone metastasis. At the center of his current interests are methods to combine readily accessible therapeutic modalities such as radiotherapy and surgical metastasectomy with modern immunotherapy to reignite tumor immune responses. Teaming up with world-class basic immunologists and oncologists at UCSF, he is exploring ways to decode the network of organ specific immune-suppressors common in solid malignancies to overcome the body’s peripheral tolerance mechanisms co-opted to shut down current forms of T cell mediated treatments. His hope is to meet these challenges through diligent reversal-translational and bench-to-bedside research and see the next generation of cancer immunotherapy drugs deliver durable and curative responses for more stage IV cancer patients.



2017 University of California, San Francisco Medical Oncology
2009-2012 Mount Sinai Hospital, New York Residency – Internal Medicine
2006-2009 Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York Research Fellowship
2003-2009 Yale School of Medicine, New Haven M.D.-M.H.S.
Professional Experience

Professional Experience


2013-2022 Clinical Instructor University of California, San Francisco
2012-2013 Clinical Instructor Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY

Awards & Honors

2021-2024 Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Bridge Fellow Award
2019-2021 Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Project Award
2017-2020 A.P. Giannini Fellowship Award
2016-2017 NIH Immunology T32
2008-2009 American Cancer Society of Connecticut Research Award
2007-2008 Farr Scholar Award for Leadership and Excellence in Biomedical Research, Yale University
2006-2007 American Society of Hematology Trainee Award
2006-2007 American Medical Association Seed Grant

Redefining Possible