About the Program

The Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center studies the mechanisms involved in cancer development and how the immune system responds to cancer. The program also develops and tests immune therapies for patients with cancer.

The Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program has two missions:

  • Discovering the mechanisms that govern the immune system's ability to encourage cancer development or to recognize and respond to cancer as a threat
  • Developing clinical trials that explore the immunobiology of cancer

In the Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program, scientists and physicians from numerous departments within the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center conduct research to advance basic knowledge about how the immune system functions and how it interacts with various types of cancers. These researchers collaborate across the three Cancer Center sites in Scottsdale, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; and Rochester, Minnesota.

The program's multidisciplinary team of investigators use knowledge gained from their research to develop and test new immunotherapy cancer treatments.

Scientists are revealing that complex molecular and cellular mechanisms regulate the activation of the immune system.

By studying both positive and negative interactions of immune system cells with normal cells and with tumors, researchers are increasing their understanding of why some people have immune systems that fail to recognize tumor cells as foreign, and how some cancers evade detection or even block immune cell functions.

The ultimate goal of research in the Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program is to create novel ways to prevent cancer from developing and to develop treatments that more effectively enable the immune system to kill cancerous tumor cells.

Program leadership

The Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program at Mayo Clinic is directed by Larry R. Pease, Ph.D., and Richard G. Vile, Ph.D.

  • Larry R. Pease, Ph.D., is a consultant in the Department of Immunology and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Mayo Clinic. He is also a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and a professor of immunology for the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.
  • Richard G. Vile, Ph.D., is a consultant with the Department of Molecular Medicine and the Department of Immunology at Mayo Clinic. He is also a professor of immunology in the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Affiliations

The Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program is affiliated with other Mayo Clinic research areas, including: