Fumito Ito, MD, PhD, FACS Fumito Ito, MD, PhD, FACS

Fumito Ito

Surgical Oncology

Specializing In:

Surgical oncology Breast Cancer Small intestine Colon and rectum Minimally invasive colorectal cancer surgery

Special Interests:

Development of effective immunotherapy for melanoma, sarcoma, and breast cancer Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to generate immune cells for immunotherapy Genome-engineering of immune cells to augment anti-cancer responses Discovery of blood-based biomarkers to predict response and toxicity to immunotherapy

About Fumito Ito


Fumito Ito, MD, PhD, joined the faculty of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in 2015 and is an Associate Professor of Oncology in the Departments of Surgical Oncology and Immunology. 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.


Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

  • Associate Professor of Oncology
  • Departments of Surgical Oncology and Immunology

Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo

  • Associate Professor of Surgery


Education and Training:

  • 2004 - PhD - Shiga University, Shiga, Japan
  • 1995 - MD - Shiga University, Shiga, Japan


  • 2008 - General Surgery - University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Madison, WI
  • 2005 - General Surgery - University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, WA
  • 1999 - General Surgery - Shiga University at Affiliated Hospital, Shiga, Japan


  • 2010 - Surgical Oncology - Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY
  • 2003 - Tumor Immunology - University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Board Certification:

  • American Board of Surgery

Professional Memberships:

  • 2019-present - Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC)
  • 2017 - Association for Academic Surgery
  • 2016 - International Society for Stem Cell Research
  • 2014 - American Association of Immunologists (AAI)
  • 2013 - Central Surgical Association (CSA)
  • 2010 - Society of Thermal Medicine (STM)
  • 2008 - Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO)
  • 2003 - American College of Surgeons (ACS)
  • 1999 - American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
  • 1995 - Japanese Society of Gastrointestinal Surgery
  • 1995 - Japan Surgical Society

Professional Experience:

  • 7/2011-9/2015 - Assistant Professor of Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
  • 7/2008-6/2010 - Clinical Lecturer, Department of Surgery, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

Honors & Awards:

  • 2017 - STL Cure Sarcoma Research Award, Sarcoma Foundation of America
  • 2015 - Young Investigator Award, Melanoma Research Alliance
  • 2014 - Turcotte Enrichment Award, Central Surgical Association Foundation
  • 2014 - Faculty Research Fellowship Award, American College of Surgeons
  • 2010 - New Investigator Award, Society of Thermal Medicine
  • 2009 - Basic Research Award 1st place, Western New York American College of Surgeons
  • 2009 - Clinical Research Award 1st place, Western New York American College of Surgeons
  • 2008 - Travel Award, Cancer and Leukemia Group B
  • 2000 - Scholarship, Japan-North America Medical Exchange Foundation
  • 1998 - Scholarship, Japan-North America Medical Exchange Foundation


Research Overview:

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.

Featured on Cancer Talk


Full Publications list on PubMed
  • Oba T, Long MD, Keler T, Marsh HC, Minderman H, Abrams AI, Liu S, Ito F. Overcoming primary and acquired resistance to anti-PD-L1 therapy by induction and activation of tumor-residing cDC1s. Nature Communications (2020); 11(1):5415. PMID: 33110069
  • Oba T, Yamauchi T, Hoki T, Saito H, Keler T, Marsh HC, Cao X, Ito F. A critical role of CD40 and CD70 signaling in conventional type 1 dendritic cells in expansion and antitumor efficacy of adoptively transferred tumor-specific T cells. The Journal of Immunology (2020); 205(7):1867-77. PMID: 32848036; PMCID: PMC7511447
  • Yamauchi T, Hoki T, Oba T, Saito H, Attwood K, Sabel MS, Chang AE, Odunsi K, Ito F, CX3CR1- CD8+ T cells are critical in antitumor efficacy, but functionally suppressed in the tumor microenvironment. JCI insight (2020); 5(8). pii: 133920. PMID: 32255766; PMCID: PMC7205436
  • Vizcardo R, Klemen ND, Islam SMR, Devikala G, Tamaoki N, Yamada D, Koseki H, Kidder BL, Yu Z, Jia L, Henning AN, Good ML, Bosch-Marce M, Maeda T, Liu C, Abdullaev Z, Pack S, Palmer DC, Stroncek DF, Ito F, Flomerfelt FA, Kruhlak MJ, Restifo NP. Generation of tumor antigen-specific iPSC-derived thymic emigrants (iTE) using a 3D thymic culture system. Cell Reports, (2018); 22(12): 3175-3190. PMID: 29562175; PMCID: 5930030
  • Saito H, Okita K, 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. PMID: 27197199; PMCID: 4911287