Richard Young is a lab based Senior Research Officer with over 16 years of experience working in translational cancer research. His work is focussed on investigating novel tissue biomarkers of prognostic or predictive significance in head and neck cancers and other malignancies, with the aim to find better ways to select patients for optimal treatment with conventional or novel treatment strategies. Our current work focusses on studying the immune microenvironment in head and neck carcinoma and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma.
Richard has been at Peter Mac for 16 years, initially working with Danny Rischin and Grant McArthur on a large Phase III study in Head and Neck Cancer, then transitioning to working with Ben Solomon for the past 14 years in biomarker discovery in head and neck cancer and lung cancer.
Richard’s current research projects are aimed at identifying prognostic or predictive tissue biomarkers. We collate and utilise clinically annotated cohorts of tumour tissue which enables us to perform various techniques for investigating protein and gene expression of known and novel targets. We then correlate our findings with patient clinico-pathological data with the aim to better characterise molecular or immunological subtypes of cancer.
Danny Rischin, Richard J. Young, Richard Fisher, Stephen Fox, Quynh-Thu Le, Lester Peters, Ben Solomon, Jimin Choi, Brian O'Sullivan, Lizbeth Kenny, Grant McArthur. Prognostic significance of P16INK4A and HPV in patients with Oropharyngeal cancer treated on TROG 02.02 Phase III Trial. JCO, 2010 [IF-18.97]
This is one of the seminal publications identifying the prognostic significance of HPV in oropharyngeal cancer and has over 750 citations.
Richard J. Young, Danny Rischin, Grant A. McArthur, Richard Fisher, Stephen B. Fox, Annette Lim, Kelly Waldeck, Benjamin Solomon. Relationship Between p16INK4A and Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Status and Outcome in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Cancer Epi Biom Prev 20(6); 1-8, 2011 [IF–3.92]
This work identified EGFR gene expression as a key difference between HPV+ and HPV- oropharyngeal cancers, providing further evidence that these cancers are molecularly and clinically distinct.
Richard J. Young*, Damien Urban* (*co-first authors), Christopher Angel, June Corry, Bernard Lyons, Neil Vallance, Stephen Kleid, Tim Iseli, Benjamin Solomon, Danny Rischin. Frequency and prognostic significance of p16INK4A protein overexpression and transcriptionally active human papillomavirus infection in laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma. British Journal of Cancer. Feb, 2015. [IF-4.817]
This publication showed that unlike in oropharyngeal cancer where a large proportion of cancers are HPV driven, the frequency of HPV infection in laryngeal cancer is very low. This is an important finding to be able to properly identify and treat HPV driven cancers.
Benjamin Solomon, Richard J. Young, Mathias Bressel, Damien Urban, Shona Hendry, Alesha Thai, Christopher Angel, Afaf Haddad, Marcin Kowanetz, Tsien Fua, Stephen Fox, Danny Rischin. Prognostic significance of Programmed Death–Ligand 1 (PD-L1) positive and CD8 positive immune cells in Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. Cancer Immunology Research, Jan 2018. [IF-8.284]
Identification of immune biomarkers in head and neck cancer is vitally important for helping us to understand the immune microenvironment and the potential utility of immunotherapies. We identified the presence of CD8+ T cells and PD-L1+ immune cells as being prognostic for improved patient survival in HPV+ oropharyngeal cancer.
Benjamin Solomon*, Richard J. Young*(*co-first authors), Mathias Bressel, Janez Cerniac, Peter Savas, Howard Liu, Damien Urban, Alesha Thai, Tsien Fua, Sherene Loi, Sandro Porceddu, Danny Rischin. Identification of an excellent prognosis subset of human papillomavirus-associated oropharyngeal cancer patients by quantification of intratumoral CD103+ immune cell abundance. Annals of Oncology, August 2019 [IF-32.976]
This publication builds on the findings of the previous publication (above) in further defining the types of T cells that are present in the tumor microenvironment. The presence of CD103+ T cells, or Tissue Resident Memory cells is associated with excellent patient survival in HPV+ oropharyngeal cancer.