Douglas Lake is a tumor immunologist who has been at ASU since 2006. Previously, he was at the University of Arizona Cancer Center where he studied anti-tumor T cells and tumor-associated peptides as immunotherapy targets.
Currently, he is investigating an enzyme called QSOX1 that is over-expressed in multiple tumor types. Lake was the first to show that this enzyme is important in tumor cell growth, invasion and metastasis. His laboratory is developing chemical and biological inhibitors of QSOX1 with strong therapeutic potential.
His laboratory also studies Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis). A pressing clinical need is that Valley Fever lacks an accurate and sensitive diagnostic test while patients are acutely symptomatic. Because the current test relies on an immune respone, which is often delayed in this disease, patients can go for as long as three months without a diagnosis. As a result, many patients are inappropriately treated. Lake is developing a test that detects bits and pieces of the fungus in urine in infected patients.
To address the needs of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Lake developed a specialized rapid antibody test that measures levels of protective neutralizing antibodies which prevent SARS-CoV-2 from infecting cells. Using this rapid test (10 minutes) and a finger-stick drop of blood, one can monitor levels of neutralizing antibodies after vaccination or natural infection to determine when one might require an additional vaccine dose.
In addition, Lake teaches immunology and microbiology at the undergraduate level and advance cell biology at the graduate level.