Fumito Ito, MD, PhD, joined the faculty of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in 2015 and is an Associate Professor of Oncology in the Department of Surgical Oncology and the Center for Immunotherapy. He is also an Associate Professor of Surgery, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo.
After earning his medical degree from the Shiga University, Japan, Dr. Ito completed his postgraduate training in Surgery at the Shiga University Hospital, Japan. Dr. Ito then completed a research fellowship in Tumor Immunology at the University of Michigan and earned his PhD from the Shiga University, Japan. From 2003 to 2010, Dr. Ito completed his surgery residency training at the University of Wisconsin and surgical oncology fellowship training at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. He then served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Michigan before returning to the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in 2015.
Dr. Ito is licensed by New York State and certified in General Surgery by the American Board of Surgery.
He has a significant clinical interest in melanoma, sarcoma, breast and gastrointestinal cancer. Dr. Ito’s research interests include the development of novel cancer immunotherapy using pluripotent stem cells, and the use of genome-engineering technology to augment anti-cancer responses, and the discovery of blood-based biomarkers to predict response and toxicity to immunotherapy.
Dr. Ito is a member of the American College of Surgeons, the Society of Surgical Oncology, the Central Surgical Association, the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Association of Immunologists, and the Society of Thermal Medicine.
1. Reprogramming Technology to Regenerate Cancer-targeted T cells for Immunotherapy:
Adoptive cell therapy with autologous tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) has emerged as one of the most effective treatments for patients with metastatic melanoma. A major limitation of this approach is poor survival of T cells in vivo following infusion. This limitation of adoptive cell therapy can be overcome by using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) that self-renew, maintain pluripotency, and provide an unlimited source of autologous T cells for immunotherapy.
In 2011, Dr. Ito gained expertise in generating iPSCs from T cells in collaboration with Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, the 2012 Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology, who discovered groundbreaking reprogramming technology.
Dr. Ito has recently reported successful generation of human iPSCs from melanoma TILs, and is currently investigating safety and therapeutic efficacy of pluripotent stem cell-derived T cells.
2. Discovery of Blood-based Dynamic Biomarkers to Predict Response and Toxicity to Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors:
While immune checkpoint inhibitors have revolutionized treatment for various solid malignancies, only a subset of patients receives durable clinical benefit. The almost dichotomous response profile, combined with potentially severe immune-related adverse effects (irAEs), and very high costs, means a reliable predictive biomarker is urgently needed. Discovery of mechanism-driven peripheral blood dynamic biomarkers that predict response to immune checkpoint inhibitors and early diagnosis of irAEs will markedly improve current treatment regimens. Dr. Ito has been interested in identifying blood-based T-cell biomarkers to predict response and toxicity to immune checkpoint inhibitors. in preclinical models and patients. Currently, clinical studies evaluating the utility of peripheral blood T-cell biomarkers in patients undergoing immune checkpoint inhibitors are ongoing.
3.Development of Effective Immunotherapy for Breast Cancer:
Immune checkpoint inhibitors have revolutionized treatment for various cancers; however, only a subset of breast cancer patients receives clinical benefits. Breast cancer is described as “cold” tumor or “non-T cell-inflamed tumor” due to a poor pre-existing T-cell infiltrate, resulting in limited response to immune checkpoint inhibitors. Dr. Ito has been working on a novel strategy, “intratumoral immune modulation” for converting tumors into vaccine manufacturing factories for patients with locally advanced breast cancer.
Saito H, Okita K, Fusaki N, Sabel MS, Chang AE, Ito F. Adoptive transfer of CD8+ T cells generated from induced pluripotent stem cells triggers regressions of large tumors along with immunological memory. Cancer Research, (2016); 76(12): 3473-3483. (corresponding senior author) (Figure 1 from this manuscript was chosen for the cover of the journal) PMID: 27197199; PMCID: 4911287)
Saito H, Okita K, Fusaki N, Sabel MS, Chang AE, Ito F. Reprogramming of Melanoma Tumor-infiltrating Lymphocytes to Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells. Stem Cells International, (2016); 8394960, 11 (corresponding senior author) PMID: 27057178; PMCID: 4707343
Ito F, Ku AW, Bucsek MJ, Muhitch J, Vardam-Kaur T, Kim M, Fisher DT, Camoriano M, Khoury T, Skitzki JJ, Gollnick SO and Evans SS. Immune Adjuvant Activity of Pre-resectional Radiofrequency Ablation Protects against Local and Systemic Recurrence in Aggressive Murine Colorectal Cancer. Plos One, (2015); 23;10(11):eD143370 PMID: 26599402; PMCID: 4657935
Ito F, Cho CS, Rikkers LF and Weber SM. Hilar cholangiocarcinoma: current management. Annals of Surgery (2009); 250(2):210-218 PMID: 19638920
Ito F, Li Q, Shreiner AB, Okuyama R, Jure-Kunkel MN, Teitz-Tennenbaum S and Chang AE. Anti-CD137 monoclonal antibody administration augments the antitumor efficacy of dendritic cell-based vaccines. Cancer Research (2004); 64(22): 8411-8419 PMID: 15548712