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Todd Schell, PhD

Todd Schell, PhD

Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Scientific Program:Mechanisms of Carcinogenesis
Disease Teams:
Cancer Institute, Immunotherapy Team
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Research Interests

Dr. Todd Schell's research focuses on defining immune-based therapies for cancer. His interests include evaluating approaches to improve the persistence and function of tumor-reactive T lymphocytes within the tumor microenvironment. These studies have defined how tumor-reactive T-cells behave in distinct types of cancer including those that occur in the brain, pancreas, prostate and skin. Emphasis is placed on the use of adoptive T-cell therapies as well as defining how existing immune-based therapies currently used in cancer patients can be further improved.

Recent studies from the Schell laboratory highlight how antibody-based therapies targeting CD40 or PD-1 can be improved through combination with existing approaches such as radiation or common medications such as beta-blockers. Through collaborations with clinical investigators, translational studies focus on identification of patient characteristics that are associated with durable clinical responses to immune-based therapies, particularly for metastatic melanoma.

In addition to his research, Dr. Schell is the faculty director of Penn State College of Medicine's Flow Cytometry Core Facility.

  • T-Lymphocytes
  • Neoplasms
  • Epitopes
  • Therapeutics
  • Transgenic Mice
  • Neoplasm Antigens
  • Viral Tumor Antigens
  • Simian virus 40
  • Immunotherapy
  • Cytotoxic T-Lymphocytes
  • Melanoma
  • Polyomavirus Transforming Antigens

Clinical Trials

General Protocol for the Acquisition of Whole Blood for the Detection and Characterization of Circulating Tumor Cells and/or Tumor Specific Immunity/Immune Cell Activation for any Malignancy at any Stage of Disease
A Retrospective Evaluation to Understand how â-adrenergic Antagonism Impacts the Progression of Melanoma and the Efficacy of Standard Treatments Intended to Eliminate the Cancer

Recent Publications


Joshi, M, Tuanquin, L, Zhu, J, Walter, V, Schell, T, Kaag, M, Kilari, D, Liao, J, Holder, SL, Emamekhoo, H, Sankin, A, Merrill, S, Zheng, H, Warrick, J, Hauke, R, Gartrel, B, Stein, M, Drabick, J, Degraff, DJ & Zakharia, Y 2023, 'Concurrent durvalumab and radiation therapy (DUART) followed by adjuvant durvalumab in patients with localized urothelial cancer of bladder: Results from phase II study, BTCRC-GU15-023', Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer, vol. 11, no. 2, e006551.


Lü, J, Jiang, C, Schell, TD, Joshi, M, Raman, JD & Xing, C 2022, 'Angelica gigas: Signature Compounds, In Vivo Anticancer, Analgesic, Neuroprotective and Other Activities, and the Clinical Translation Challenges', American Journal of Chinese Medicine, vol. 50, no. 6, pp. 1475-1527.
Dhanyamraju, PK, Schell, TD, Amin, S & Robertson, GP 2022, 'Drug-Tolerant Persister Cells in Cancer Therapy Resistance', Cancer Research, vol. 82, no. 14, pp. 2503-2514.
Zhang, R, Neighbors, JD, Schell, TD & Hohl, RJ 2022, 'Schweinfurthin induces ICD without ER stress and caspase activation', OncoImmunology, vol. 11, no. 1, 2104551.
Liu, X, Wills, CA, Chen, L, Zhang, J, Zhao, Y, Zhou, M, Sundstrom, JM, Schell, T, Spiegelman, VS, Young, MM & Wang, HG 2022, 'Small extracellular vesicles induce resistance to anti-GD2 immunotherapy unveiling tipifarnib as an adjunct to neuroblastoma immunotherapy', Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer, vol. 10, no. 4, e004399.


Jia, B, Zhao, C, Bayerl, M, Shike, H, Claxton, DF, Ehmann, WC, Mineishi, S, Schell, TD, Zheng, P, Zhang, Y, Shultz, LD, Prabhu, KS, Paulson, RF & Zheng, H 2022, 'A novel clinically relevant graft-versus-leukemia model in humanized mice', Journal of Leukocyte Biology, vol. 111, no. 2, pp. 427-437.


Jia, B, Zhao, C, Rakszawski, KL, Claxton, DF, Christopher Ehmann, W, Rybka, WB, Mineishi, S, Wang, M, Shike, H, Bayerl, MG, Sivik, JM, Schell, TD, Drabick, JJ, Hohl, RJ & Zheng, H 2019, 'Eomes+T-betlow CD8+ T cells are functionally impaired and are associated with poor clinical outcome in patients with acute myeloid leukemia', Cancer Research, vol. 79, no. 7, pp. 1635-1645.
Feng, Q, Stork, CJ, Xu, S, Yuan, D, Xia, X, LaPenna, KB, Guo, G, Sun, H, Xu, LC, Siedlecki, CA, Brundage, KM, Sheaffer, N, Schell, TD & He, P 2019, 'Increased circulating microparticles in streptozotocin-induced diabetes propagate inflammation contributing to microvascular dysfunction', Journal of Physiology, vol. 597, no. 3, pp. 781-798.
Zhao, C, Jia, B, Wang, M, Schell, TD, Claxton, DF, Ehmann, WC, Rybka, WB, Mineishi, S, Naik, S, Songdej, N, Sivik, JM, Hohl, RJ, Zeng, H & Zheng, H 2020, 'Multi-dimensional analysis identifies an immune signature predicting response to decitabine treatment in elderly patients with AML', British Journal of Haematology, vol. 188, no. 5, pp. 674-684.