Image showing lab equipment in the David F. and Margaret T. Grohne Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program at Mayo Clinic Targeting the immune system to fight cancer

Our investigators study the relationships among cancer development, the immune system and inflammation, and develop novel cancer therapies, such as antibody-based therapies, cancer vaccines and CAR-T cell therapies.

Overview

The David F. and Margaret T. Grohne Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program within Mayo Clinic Cancer Center studies the mechanisms involved in cancer development and immune system regulation, and the relationship between inflammation and cancer. Investigators in the program also develop and test immune therapies, such as CAR-T cell therapy, for patients with cancer.

Research initiatives

Our program brings together multidisciplinary researchers from around Mayo Clinic to conduct cancer research in four main focus 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

Named for generous benefactors, the David F. and Margaret T. Grohne Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program includes investigators who conduct research at all three Mayo Clinic campuses — in Scottsdale, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; and Rochester, Minnesota.

Program leadership

The program is directed by Haidong Dong, M.D., Ph.D.; Keith L. Knutson, Ph.D.; and Virginia M. Shapiro, Ph.D.

  • Dr. Dong is a researcher at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, and a professor of immunology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. The long-term goals of Dr. Dong's research laboratory are to understand the regulatory mechanisms shaping anti-tumor immunity and to translate discoveries in cancer immunology into effective cancer immunotherapy treatments.
  • 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. Shapiro is a researcher at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, and a professor of immunology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. Dr. Shapiro's research focuses on the molecular machinery that regulates the development and activation of T cells to help uncover novel molecular targets for treating diseases involving immune and hematopoietic failures.

Affiliations

The David F. and Margaret T. Grohne Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program is affiliated with other Mayo Clinic research areas, including: