Grant to Study Inflammatory Response of Lymphocytes Awarded to Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center Researcher

BUFFALO, NY – Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center announced a grant award for $2.7 million from the National Institutes of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to study inflammation in relation to lymphocytes. Sharon Evans, PhD, of Roswell Park’s Immunology department, is the principal investigator.

Lymphocytes are cells found in the blood, lymph, and lymphoid tissues, constituting approximately 25 percent of white blood cells and including B cells and T cells, which function in cellular immunity. A critical component of the acute inflammatory response is the rapid mobilization of blood-borne lymphocytes into secondary lymphoid organs that are the powerhouses for immune attack on infectious agents. It is hypothesized that the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6), is a driving force in regulating lymphocyte migration to these organs during acute inflammation.

The study aims to identify the cellular source of IL-6 that regulates the entry of white blood cells into tissues across vascular gateways during a productive immune response and to dissect the molecular mechanisms underlying the boost in lymphocyte trafficking by IL-6.

Dr. Evans explains, “It is hoped that if we can understand the cytokine, or IL-6 requirements, for lymphocyte recruitment during acute inflammation it may lead to novel intervention strategies in chronic inflammatory disorders such as autoimmune diseases. The knowledge may also provide insight into vaccine approaches for the treatment of cancer based on the ability of IL-6 to heighten adaptive anti-tumor immunity.”

The mission of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. Roswell Park, founded in 1898, was one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit Roswell Park’s website at, call 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) or email

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