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Xiaohe Liu

Research Scientist, Cancer Research Technologies, Discovery Technologies

Xiaohe Liu, M.D., Ph.D., is a research scientist in oncology who studies the detection, isolation, and characterization of circulating rare cells from blood samples, and other liquid biopsies. Utilizing SRI’s innovative Fiberoptic Array Scanning Technology (FAST) circulating tumor cell detection system, Liu and his team have developed a platform capable of image-based screening of 26 million targets per minute. They have successfully applied this liquid biopsy technology platform to tackle problems not only in cancer liquid biopsies, but also HIV reservoir studies and antibody discovery.

For cancer liquid biopsy applications, Liu’s research focuses on harnessing the power of the FAST platform to identify rare circulating tumor cells and other related components such as cancer-associated fibroblasts and large oncosomes from a single tube of blood draw. This offers the leverage of multi-component analysis in liquid biopsy and provides a more thorough analysis for cancer’s early detection, prognosis, and treatment guidance. Liu and his team recently developed a PD-L1 assay for circulating tumor cells (CTCs), that gives expression information to guide cancer immunotherapy.  From the same blood draw, they are also able to obtain data on changes in tumor microenvironment, which supplements the information needed to help with a patient’s treatment. (https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/crowdfunding-fight-against-c…)

In addition to CTCs, another research interest of Liu’s is studying HIV reservoir cells. Until recently, HIV reservoir cells were considered largely invisible, especially in patients on anti-viral therapy, and this prohibited their identification and the ability to treat patients with residual disease. Enabled by FAST, Liu and his team were able to identify HIV reservoir cells even at 1 cell per 10 million sensitivity, and with superior specificity. Utilizing this unique power of FAST in analyzing HIV reservoir cells, Liu and his team are working with collaborators to develop a novel treatment to eliminate latent HIV virus in patients and achieve complete remission of the disease.

Liu is also applying FAST’s unparalleled capacity for high throughput image-based screening to develop unconventional assays for antibody development, chemical screening, and other applications in molecular and cell biology. He is focused on continuously expanding the pioneering projects for the FAST platform.

Liu has more than 20 years of experience in biomedical research.  Prior to joining SRI, Liu was a primary scientist for new rare cell applications and cancer biomarker discovery at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Earlier, he completed his postdoctoral training in the School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Liu received his M.D. degree from China and his Ph.D. in immunology from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

View Dr. Liu’s selected publications on PubMed. (Search results may include other authors with similar names.)

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