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Elucidating how chronic inflammation creates tolerance to protect tumors and healthy tissues from immune-mediated injury

The field of cancer immunotherapy has exploded due to the approval of several novel immune modulators that have shown remarkable therapeutic effects against several tumor types. The main goal of the Cancer immunology, Inflammation, & Tolerance (CIT) program is studying those immune inflammatory processes that cause cancer and to develop immune-based strategies to treat cancer. This will be accomplished by: understanding how inflammation contributes to malignant transformation; improving immune responses to tumor antigens through the development of therapeutic vaccines or adoptive cell therapies; and blocking immune suppressive activities that limit the effectiveness of anti-tumor immune responses. A major impetus of all CIT members is to translate knowledge acquired from basic research activities into the clinic setting. To achieve this goal, CIT-specific areas of interest include:  Elucidating how chronic inflammation creates tolerance to protect tumors and healthy tissues from immune-mediated injury;  Understanding how the interplay between dietary fiber and gut microbiota suppresses chronic inflammation and carcinogenesis;  Discovery research using models of chronic inflammatory diseases to elucidate how immune responses are regulated to create tolerance (unresponsiveness) in tumor microenvironments that inhibit natural and vaccine-induced anti-tumor immunity and to identify novel targets for therapeutic intervention;  Development and characterization of molecular and immunological strategies for manipulating innate and adaptive immune responses to malignancy;  Translating new discoveries into clinical settings in collaboration with experimental oncologists in the GRU Cancer Center and corporate partners;  Evaluating the efficacy of immunotherapy and conventional therapies by developing a system to monitor immune response in conjunction with clinical outcomes;  Manipulating tolerogenic mechanisms for clinical benefit;  Developing better cancer vaccines;  Elucidating novel targets to manipulate immune responses to treat cancer and other chronic inflammatory syndromes; and  Understanding how commensal microbiota or commensal dysbiosis influences innate and adaptive immune responses to natural and vaccine-induced anti-tumor immunity.