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Laboratory of Molecular Immunoregulation

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The Laboratory of Molecular Immunoregulation (LMI), together with the Laboratory of Experimental Immunology (LEI), is part of the Cancer and Inflammation Program (CIP). The CIP constitutes the major immunologic component of the CCR's inflammation and cancer initiative, which spans the NCI's campuses in Frederick and Bethesda and seeks to partner NCI's expertise in inflammation and immunology with its cutting-edge cancer etiology and carcinogenesis program. Several of the LMI investigators have leadership roles in the CIP as well as the NCI Center for Excellence in Immunology and the NIH Cytokine and Immunology interest groups.

The LMI performs fundamental research studies of the role of cytokines and chemokines in inflammation, immunity, angiogenesis, and cancer. LMI scientists engage in the discovery, identification and characterization of new cytokines, study the action of cytokines on target cells (studies of receptors, second and third messengers), determine effects on cell differentiation and cell death pathways and study cytokine regulation of pathophysiological processes. LMI scientists pursue both basic and translational studies of cytokines, chemokines, defensins and other alarmins involved in host defense.

The lab consists of four interactive groups:

- The Cytokines and Immunity Section (Dr. Scott Durum) is investigating the role of the IL-7 pathway in the development and maintenance of T lymphocytes and T cell leukemia. They are also investigating the anti-inflammatory effects of mucosal delivery of IL-27 as a therapeutic in colitis models.

- The Tumor Immunity and Tolerance Section (Dr. Arthur Hurwitz) is pursuing studies of the close relationship of autoimmunity and tumor immunity in animal models being vaccinated to treat melanoma and development of vitelligo. These studies are examining the influence of T cell avidity on immunity to tumors and susceptibility to immune suppression. He is also evaluating the effect of inflammation and immunity on prostate tumors in mice. He is investigating means of overcoming the immune-suppressive effects of the tumor microenvironment.

- The Cellular Immunology Section (Dr. Joost Oppenheim) is studying the structure/function relationships of the family of chemoattractant cytokines. He is also investigating the role of chemokines in inflammation, immunity, and chemokine mimics such as defensins and autoantigens. The study of defensins has led to the identification of other antimicrobial peptides with chemotactic and immune-activating effects called alarmins, which are being studied as first responders in host defense. He is also studying the pathophysiological consequences of receptor cross-talk in regulating the functions of receptors for pain, chemokines and toll-like receptors.

- The Chemoattractant Receptor and Signal Section (Dr. Ji Ming Wang) is engaged in studies of the role of chemoattractant receptors such as FPRs and chemokine receptors in the pathogenic processes of cancer and inflammation. He has determined that FPRs are required for leukocyte recruitment in inflammation in response to pathogen- and host-derived ligands. He also found that one of the FPRs, FPR2, contributes to the homeostasis, inflammation, and the reduction of tumor formation in colon mucosa.

This page was last updated on 7/9/2014.