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Qing Chen Lab

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Wistar researchers work to accelerate laboratory discoveries into mainstream treatments. Wistar scientists developed life-saving vaccines against rabies, rubella, and more recently rotavirus, the most common cause of infantile and childhood diarrhea and death around the world. All of these advances are made possible by the generous support of individuals like you.

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Qing Chen, M.D., Ph.D.


Metastasis accounts for more than 80 percent of deaths from cancer and remains incurable, a devastating statistic. Qing Chen, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues are particularly interested in brain metastasis, which remains a significant problem in the clinic due to its rising incidence as a consequence of prolonged survival and limited efficacy of existing systemic therapies. They study how cancer cells interact with surrounding brain cells. In a recent study, Dr. Chen showed how invaded breast and lung cancer cells manipulate protective cells in our brains to facilitate metastasis. Her team also identified certain drugs that could be used to stop these cancers from spreading to the brain, which may lead to more effective therapies for patients in the future.

Kar Muthumani, Ph.D.


There are many infectious diseases for which no vaccines exist and others for which current vaccines offer limited protection. Wistar’s Vaccine Center focuses on creating new or more effective vaccines for some of the most dangerous and widespread diseases in the world, including the Zika virus, HIV, influenza, rabies, dengue, chikungunya, tuberculosis, malaria, Epstein-Barr, HPV, and other viruses linked to cancer. Kar Muthumani, Ph.D., and colleagues are developing DNA-based vaccines that drive immune responses to prevent and treat these viruses. Recently at Wistar, Muthumani was one of the creators of a Zika vaccine that was the first to enter clinical trial.

Emmanuel Skordalakes, Ph.D.


The laboratory of Emmanuel Skordalakes, Ph.D., studies the complex protein assemblies that participate in the replication and maintenance of chromosome ends, known as telomeres. Much like the plastic caps on our shoelaces that keep them from fraying, telomeres protect our chromosomes and preserve our genetic information. Because telomere length is associated with cellular longevity and cancer, if we better understand the basis of telomere replication we may be able to develop new drugs that reduce the risk of developing cancer and other age-related diseases.