Vincent K. Tuohy,  Ph.D.

Vincent K. Tuohy, Ph.D.


The Mort and Iris November Distinguished Chair in Innovative Breast Cancer Research

Lerner Research Institute, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44195
Location: NB3-76


I have a long history of developing autoimmune mouse models for human diseases including multiple sclerosis, dilated cardiomyopathy, autoimmune inner ear disease, ovarian failure, interstitial cystitis, prostatitis, and breast failure. My research has focused on understanding the autoimmune mechanisms involved in tissue-specific destruction (e.g., “epitope spreading”) and on developing novel strategies for preventing disease progression. My current research activities focus on the preclinical and clinical development of vaccines designed not only to treat adult onset cancers but also to prevent such diseases with a focus on prevention of: 1) triple-negative breast cancer, the most lethal form of breast cancer and the most common form of this disease occurring in women at high genetic risk, and 2) epithelial ovarian cancer, the most lethal of all gynecologic malignancies. My prototypic strategy is based on the“retired self-protein hypothesis” whereby tissue-specific proteins that are no longer expressed in normal tissues as a result of the natural aging process may substitute for unavailable pathogens in targeting safe and effective prophylactic vaccination against emerging tumors expressing the targeted “retired” protein. Thus, I have extensive experience in targeting, modulating, and evaluating the immune response against autoantigens and harnessing the full biologic strength of autoimmunity to prevent and treat adult onset cancers like breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Tuohy lab news:
Exclusive: The Team That Wants to Eliminate Breast Cancer,Total Prestige Magazine (Cover Story), by Drew Farmer; November 26, 2019
Anixa Biosciences, Cleveland Clinic Enter License Agreement for Breast Cancer Vaccine Technology, Crain’s Cleveland Business, by Lydia Coutré; July 17, 2019
New Fundraising and Awareness Website for Primary Immune Prevention of Breast Cancer, by the Women Who Care About Breast Cancer; January 20, 2019
One-On-One Interview with Dr. Vincent Tuohy,WKYC-TV (NBC Affiliate), Cleveland, OH, by Monica Robins; October 18, 2018

Lay Summary

Current Program: 

  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Primary Immunoprevention of Adult Onset Cancers
  • Breast Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Cancer Immunotherapy
  • Suparna Mazumder, Ph.D., Project Scientist
  • Justin M. Johnson, B.S., Principal Research Technologist, Graduate Student, and Ph.D. Candidate
  • Valerie Swank, B.S., Lead Research Technologist
  • Chhavi Jain, Ph.D., Project Manager
  • Holly Levengood, B.S., Research Technician
  • G. Thomas Budd, M.D., Taussig Cancer Center, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
  • Alberto Montero, M.D. Taussig Cancer Center, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
  • Peter Rose, M.D., Taussig Cancer Center, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
  • Roberto Vargas, M.D., Taussig Cancer Center, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
  • Ofer Reizes, Ph.D., Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
  • Erinn Downs-Kelly, D.O., Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
  • Jennifer Ko, M.D.,Ph.D., Central Biorepository, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
  • Tony Giordano, Ph.D., Innovations, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH

Selected Key References

Tuohy VK, Johnson JM, Mazumder S. Primary immunoprevention of adult onset cancers by vaccinating against retired tissue-specific self-proteins. Seminars in Immunology  2020;

Mazumder S, Johnson JM, Swank V, Dvorina N, Martelli E, Ko J, Tuohy VK. Primary Immunoprevention of epithelial ovarian carcinoma by vaccination against the extracellular domain of anti-Müllerian hormone receptor II. Cancer Prevention Research (Phila) 2017; 10:612-624

Aguilar R, Johnson JM, Barrett P, Tuohy VK. Vaccination with inhibin-α provides effective immunotherapy against testicular stromal cell tumors. Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer 2017; 5:37

Tuohy VK, Jaini R, Johnson JM, Loya MG, Wilk D, Downs-Kelly E, Mazumder S. Targeted vaccination against human α-lactalbumin for immunotherapy and primary immunoprevention of triple negative breast cancer. Cancers (Basel). 2016; 8(6). pii: E56

Tuohy VK. Primary immunoprevention: The great unmet need for controlling breast cancer. Oncology (Williston Park) 2016; 30(5):pii: 217055

Sakalar C, Mazumder S, Johnson JM, Altuntas CZ, Jaini R, Aguilar R, Naga Prasad SV, Connolly DC, Tuohy VK. Regulation of murine ovarian epithelial carcinoma by vaccination against the cytoplasmic domain of anti-Müllerian hormone receptor IIJournal of Immunology Research 2015; 2015:630287

Emens LA, Tuohy VK, Stanton SE, Clarke E. Immunotherapy for breast cancer: is it feasible? Immunotherapy 2015; 7:1135-1143

Jaini R, Altuntas CZ, Loya MG, Tuohy VK. Disruption of estrous cycle homeostasis in mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitisJournal of Neuroimmunology 2015; 279:71-74

Tuohy VKBench-to-bedside challenges in developing immune protection against breast cancerCleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine 2014; 81:605-607

Bicer F, Altuntas CZ, Izgi K, Ozer A, Kavran M, Tuohy VK, Daneshgari F. Chronic pelvic allodynia is mediated by CCL2 through mast cells in an experimental autoimmune cystitis modelAmerican Journal of Physiology: Renal Physiology 2015; 308:F103-113

Tuohy VKRetired self-proteins as vaccine targets for primary immunoprevention of adult-onset cancersExpert Review of Vaccines 2014; 13:1447-1462

Jaini R, Rayman P, Cohen PA, Finke JH, Tuohy VKCombination of sunitinib with anti-tumor vaccination inhibits T cell priming and requires carefulscheduling to achieve productive immunotherapyInternational Journal of Cancer 2014; 134:1695-1705

Izgi K, Altuntas CZ, Bicer F, Ozer A, Sakalar C, Li X, Tuohy VK, Daneshgari F. Uroplakin peptide-specific autoimmunity initiates interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome in micePLoS One 2013; 8:e72067

Jaini R, Popescu DC, Flask CA, Macklin WB, Tuohy VKMyelin antigen load influences antigen presentation and severity of central nervous system autoimmunityJournal of Neuroimmunology 2013; 259:37-46

Altuntas CZ, Daneshgari F, Veizi E, Izgi K, Bicer F, Ozer A, Grimberg KO, Bakhautdin B, Sakalar C, Tasdemir C, Tuohy VKA novel murine model of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) induced by immunization with a spermine binding protein (p25) peptideAmerican Journal of Physiology: Regulation, Integrative, and Comparative Physiology 2013; 304:R415-422

Altuntas CZ, Daneshgari F, Izgi K, Bicer F, Ozer A, Sakalar C, Grimberg KO, Sayin I, Tuohy VKConnective tissue and its growth factor CTGF distinguish the morphometric and molecular remodeling of the bladder in a model of neurogenic bladder. American Journal of Physiology: Renal Physiology 2012; 303:F1363-1369

Kesaraju P, Jaini R, Johnson JM, Altuntas CZ, Gruden JJ, Sakalar C, Tuohy VK. Experimental autoimmune breast failure: a model for lactation insufficiency, postnatal nutritional deprivation, and prophylactic breast cancer vaccinationAmerican Journal of Pathology 2012; 181:775-784

Altuntas CZ, Daneshgari F, Sakalar C, Goksoy E, Gulen MF, Kavran M, Qin J, Li X, Tuohy VKAutoimmunity to uroplakin II causes cystitis in mice: a novel model of interstitial cystitisEuropean Urology 2012; 61:193-200

Altuntas CZ, Jaini R, Kesaraju P, Jane-wit D, Johnson JM, Covey K, Flask CA, Dutertre M, Picard JY, Tuohy VKAutoimmune mediated regulation of ovarian tumor growthGynecologic Oncology 2012; 124:98-104

Altuntas CZ, Daneshgari F, Sakalar C, Goksoy E, Gulen MF, Kavran M, Qin J, Li X, Tuohy VKAutoimmunity to uroplakin II causes cystitis in mice: a novel model of interstitial cystitisEuropean Urology 2012; 61:193-200

Tuohy VK, Jaini R. Prophylactic cancer vaccination by targeting functional non-selfAnnals of Medicine 2011; 43:356-365

Tuohy VKA prophylactic vaccine for breast cancer? Why not?Breast Cancer Research 2010; 12:405

Jaini R, Kesaraju P, Johnson JM, Altuntas CZ, Jane-Wit D, Tuohy VKAn autoimmune-mediated strategy for prophylactic breast cancer vaccinationNature Medicine 2010; 16:799-803

Kang Z, Altuntas CZ, Gulen MF, Liu C, Giltiay N, Qin H, Liu L, Qian W, Ransohoff RM, Bergmann C, Stohlman S, Tuohy VK, Li X. Astrocyte-restricted ablation of interleukin-17-induced Act1-mediated signaling ameliorates autoimmune encephalomyelitisImmunity 2010; 32:414-425

Gulen MF, Kang Z, Bulek K, Youzhong W, Kim TW, Chen Y, Altuntas CZ, Sass Bak-Jensen K, McGeachy MJ, Do JS, Xiao H, Delgoffe GM, Min B, Powell JD, Tuohy VK, Cua DJ, Li X. The receptor SIGIRR suppresses Th17 cell proliferation via inhibition of the interleukin-1 receptor pathway and mTOR kinase activationImmunity 2010; 32:54-66

Staschke KA, Dong S, Saha J, Zhao J, Brooks NA, Hepburn DL, Xia J, Gulen MF, Kang Z, Altuntas CZ, Tuohy VK, Gilmour R, Li X, Na S. IRAK4 kinase activity is required for Th17 differentiation and Th17-mediated diseaseJournal of Immunology 2009; 183:568-577

Tigno-Aranjuez JT, Jaini R, Tuohy VK, Lehmann PV, Tary-Lehmann M. Encephalitogenicity of complete Freund's adjuvant relative to CpG is linked to induction of Th17 cellsJournal of Immunology 2009; 183:5654-5661

Buniel MC, Geelan-Hansen K, Weber PC, Tuohy VKImmunosuppressive therapy for autoimmune inner ear diseaseImmunotherapy 2009; 1:425-434

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