About the Program

The Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center studies the mechanisms involved in cancer development and immune system regulation, and the relationship between inflammation and cancer. The program also develops and tests immune therapies for patients with cancer.

Research initiatives

The Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program brings together multidisciplinary researchers from around Mayo Clinic to conduct cancer research in four main areas:

  • Developing new knowledge about how the immune system functions and interacts with cancer cells
  • Developing new antibody-based therapies to treat cancer
  • Identifying and developing vaccines to prevent cancer recurrence and improve the efficacy of immune modulation with checkpoint inhibitors
  • Developing strategies to redirect nontumor antigen-specific T cells to attack cancer

The program conducts research at all three Mayo Clinic campuses — in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; and Rochester, Minnesota.

Program leadership

The Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program is directed by Keith L. Knutson, Ph.D.; Larry R. Pease, Ph.D.; and Richard G. Vile, Ph.D.

  • Dr. Knutson is a professor of immunology in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Jacksonville, Florida. Dr. Knutson's research interests include the immunology and immunotherapy of breast cancer and ovarian cancer, the development of a breast cancer vaccine, and CD4 helper T cell vaccines.
  • Dr. Pease is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and a professor of immunology in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Rochester, Minnesota. His research includes studying new ways to activate immunity and inherent mechanisms to control inflammation, which is applicable to breast cancer, lymphoma, melanoma, virus infection and autoimmune syndromes.
  • Dr. Vile is a professor of immunology in the College of Medicine and Science in Rochester, Minnesota. His research work includes oncolytic viruses, adoptive cell therapy for patients with melanoma, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cells, and the combination of radiotherapy with our other immune-based approaches.

Affiliations

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