Center for Immunotherapy Projects

Research Laboratories 

  • The Sebastiano Battaglia Lab: Integrating bioinformatics, immunological and genetic approaches to identify neoantigens and their corresponding TCRs in neoplastic tissues order to translate them into clinically usable cancer vaccines.
  • The Thinle Chodon Lab: Determining factors that enhance the development of reengineered peripheral-blood-derived stem cells into efficient anti-tumor immune cells, with ability to recognize and kill cancer cells and persist for durable clinical responses.
  • The Fumito Ito Lab: Development of a more effective immunotherapeutic strategy for the treatment of melanoma, sarcoma and gastrointestinal cancer.
  • The Richard Koya Lab: Gene vector design, molecular imaging, new approaches to enhance anti-cancer T-lymphocyte responses, advanced immune monitoring and understanding of cancer biology for therapeutic translation.
  • The Junko Matsuzaki Lab: Development of reliable immunomonitoring strategy, characterization of spontaneous and vaccine-induced immune responses in cancer patients, elucidation of immune suppression mechanisms at local tumor site.
  • The Kunle Odunsi Lab: Molecular characterization of tumor antigens in ovarian cancer and their application to the development of vaccine therapies for the disease.
  • The Takemasa Tsuji Lab: Utilizing tumor antigen-specific CD4+ T cells to maximize the therapeutic effect of cancer immunotherapy, development of therapeutic gene products (T cell receptors and chimeric antigen receptors) for adoptive T cell therapy, identification of immunotherapy targets, characterizing spontaneous and vaccine-induced immune responses against tumor antigens.
  • The Emese Zsiros Lab: Conducting clinical trials of immunomodulatory therapeutics and multiplexed characterization of the tumor-immune interface in response to these novel treatments.

RPCI-UPCI Ovarian Cancer SPORE

Roswell Park Cancer Institute experts discuss the significance of the Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Ovarian Cancer award.

The Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) and University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) Ovarian Cancer SPORE includes:

It brings together basic and applied investigators to conduct innovative and diverse translational investigations aimed at risk stratification, treatment of primary and recurrent ovarian cancer, and prevention of relapse in patients in remission.

The four projects have been carefully designed to have significant potential to change clinical practice paradigms in ovarian cancer within five years. The theme of the program uniquely reflects immune-based approaches in the etiology, prognosis and treatment of patients with ovarian cancer.

NYSTEM Program

Dr. Odunsi explains the exciting research developments that led to the NYSTEM grant.

Roswell Park's Center for Immunotherapy received a prestigious grant of nearly $12 million, funded by the New York State Stem Cell Science Program (NYSTEM) program, to accelerate therapeutic applications of stem cells to develop a new therapy for recurrent chemo-resistant ovarian cancer.

Billions of mature immune cells can be reengineered to become anti-tumor immune cells, and infused into patients. Unfortunately, these cells do not persist for long, and clinical responses are transient. Using this approach, known as adoptive T cell therapy, to harness the immune system, Roswell Park's Center for Immunotherapy team will reengineer adult stem cells from patients’ blood and infuse these reprogrammed cells back into the patients. Once inside a patient’s body, the reengineered stem cells become mature blood cells, providing a continuous, potentially lifelong source of cancer-fighting immune cells for a sustained response. The team has successfully reengineered human blood-derived stem cells such that when they mature in the body of mice, they become anti-tumor immune cells, with ability to recognize and kill cancer cells. In this clinical trial, reengineered mature immune cells will be also utilized to provide the first attack on the cancer cells, followed by help from the transgenic stem- cell-derived progeny immune cells for a sustained, long-lasting anti-cancer response.