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Center for Tumor Immunology Research

Our Mission is to Harness the Power of the Immune System to Fight Cancer

Why is Cancer Difficult to Treat?

The Tumor Microenvironment - A Formidable Obstacle

tumor environment

The Tumor Microenvironment: A dense collection of various cells and biological factors

The tumor consists of a complex array of cells and factors, some of which promote the growth of the cancer and some try to fight the tumor.  Unfortunately, without treatment, the cells that help the tumor grow overshadow and dominate those cells that try to stop it resulting in cancer progression.  Research in the Center focuses on deciphering the complex interactions within the tumor microenvironment in order to design more effective therapies to treat cancer.

However, there is hope: A New Era for Cancer Therapy – Immunotherapy

What is Immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy is an innovative approach to spark the body's own immune cells to recognize and destroy the tumor. Our Center researches a two-pronged strategy:

t-cell attacking

A T cell (bluish gray) attacking and killing a cancer cell (orange)

1. Target and eliminate the immune cells that promote cancer progression.

2. Stimulate the immune cells that fight cancer to elicit robust anti-tumor responses.

Strong Memorial Hospital

David C. Linehan, M.D.


Strong Memorial Hospital

Scott A. Gerber, Ph.D.


Strong Memorial Hospital

Brian A. Belt

Center Manager

Research Themes

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Targeting Myeloid Cells to Treat Pancreatic Cancer

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Stimulating the Immune System to Enhance Radiotherapy

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Genetic Alterations of Melanoma: Key Features that Modulate Treatment Efficacy

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T cell Engineering for Cancer Immunotherapy

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Microbiome and Cancer

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Predicting Treatment Efficacy Using Shear Wave Elastography


  • Scott Gerber received a 2 million dollar R01 research grant from the National Cancer Institute focusing on an innovative immunotherapeutic strategy to treat pancreatic cancer.
  • Taylor Uccello was awarded a travel award from the Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) Society to attend the Advanced Course in Immunology this summer.
  • David Linehan recently received a multi-million-dollar R01 grant from the National Cancer Institute of exploring novel therapies for pancreatic cancer. 
  • Congratulations to Taylor Uccello for winning the top prize at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Institute 23rd Annual Scientific Symposium in Solid Tumor Biology and Therapy. 
  • Aditi Murthy successfully defended her graduate thesis.  Good luck at your post doc at Uniformed Services University studying the role of Sca-1 in breast cancer.

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Support Our Mission

doctor scan photo

Thank you for your generosity to support tumor immunology research here in Rochester, NY and the Finger Lakes Region. Your gift has a tremendous impact on the future success of cancer research at URMC.

Make A Gift

Contact Us

  The Center for Tumor Immunology Research
601 Elmwood Ave
Rochester NY, 14642

Patients, Please Call:

 (866) 4WILMOT