Skip to main content
Explore URMC

Wilmot Cancer Institute Logo


Blood Cancers

One of the body’s most important functions is to pump out healthy blood cells. The bone marrow stimulates the production of about 500 billion cells a day, which transport oxygen and fight infection.

lymphomaWhen this elaborate system malfunctions, though, it can result in blood cancer. A wide spectrum of blood cancers range from slow-growing and curable to aggressive and lethal, and include 20 different forms of leukemia and lymphoma.

Wilmot has a long-standing strength in studying and treating blood-borne malignancies. Our researchers are focusing on four major areas: the cancer stem cells that drive leukemia; harnessing the immune system to fight lymphoma; the bone marrow microenvironment, i.e., the vessels, tissues and cells that send the wrong growth signals to blood cells; and new drug trials based on promising preclinical data.

We are making great strides in the microenvironment, or the neighborhood in which the cancer blooms. By learning how to properly manipulate the cells and tissues that form the bone marrow microenvironment, for example, we hope to reverse the effects of aging on the blood system.

Another priority is translational research, which has a more immediate impact on patients. Wilmot has been a nationwide leader in accruing people for several clinical studies of drugs for blood cancers; our researchers, in fact, had an important role in both preclinical and clinical investigations into a new class of drugs called oral tyrosine kinase inhibitors for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).  At any given time, more than 300 people with various blood cancers are taking part in dozens of studies at Wilmot.

Using strong laboratory data to inform physicians and their patients is what research is all about. Our team provides Wilmot’s blood cancer patients with access to the latest information and the newest therapies.