Dr. Yu's has more than 40 years of experience in developing cures and understanding the biology of childhood cancer research, has pioneered anti-GD2 therapy, and has either led or significantly contributed in numerous clinical trials to bring novel cancer therapeutics to market. She obtained her Medical Degree in 1968 from National Taiwan University & Hospital, and then continued her studies in the United States, earning a Master's degree in 1969 in Immunology and Microbiology from Yale University and a PhD from the University of Chicago in 1973, also in Immunology and Microbiology. Dr. Yu joined the faculty of UCSD in 1977 and has been here ever since. She is board certified in Pediatrics with a subspecialty in Hematology/Oncology. Dr. Yu is a member of UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, the Children's Oncology Group, the American Association of Cancer Research, American Society of Hematology, International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) and the Society for Glycobiology. She is currently the PI on a highly successful Phase III clinical trial for the immunotherapy of neuroblastoma, which involves more than 200 Children's Oncology Group (COG) institutions, and serves to guide neuroblastoma research and therapeutics as part of the COG Neuroblastoma Steering Committee. The success on anti-GD2 immunotherapy for high risk neuroblastoma is the first successful immunotherapy targeting a non-protein antigen.
The significance of this clinical trial is reflected by its inclusion as one of the 15 major advances, and top 5 personalized medicine /targeted therapy in clinical cancer care for 2009. Her research is also focused on understanding the molecular characterization of tumor suppressor genes in the childhood cancers neuroblastoma and leukemia, and exploiting these discoveries in clinical trials. Her major research emphasis is to identify genotypes that correlate with outcome, response and toxicity of anti-GD2 immunotherapy in neuroblastoma she has developed, and taking them forward into clinical trials for neuroblastoma. Her recent research interests have expanded beyond childhood cancer to include breast cancer, stem cell, DNA vaccines and glycobiology, among other interests.