Vincent K. Tuohy Ph.D.


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

  • Department of Immunology
  • Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute
  • 9500 Euclid Avenue
  • Cleveland, Ohio 44195
  • (216) 445-9684
  • (216) 444-8372

We have had a longstanding interest in understanding the precise self-recognition events involved in initiation and progression of autoimmune diseases and in developing novel therapeutic strategies that prevent disease progression. In these pursuits we have developed and characterized autoimmune animal models for several human diseases including multiple sclerosis, heart failure, sudden hearing loss, infertility, prostatitis, interstitial cystitis/pelvic pain syndrome, and breast failure. However, more recently, we have focused our attention on harnessing and focusing the full strength of the autoimmune response to provide safe and effective immunity against the development of diseases we confront with age. As such we have pioneered the concept of ‘immunoprevention’ of breast cancer by providing proof-of-principle that safe and effective protection against the development of breast cancer may be induced by vaccination against ‘retired’ self-proteins that are no longer expressed with age at immunogenic levels in any normal tissues but are overexpressed in newly invigorated emerging breast tumors. Thus, ‘retired’ proteins may substitute for unavailable pathogens as targets for developing prophylactic immunity against tumors we confront with age like breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer. Our laboratory is currently involved in bringing our ‘immunoprevention’ strategy from bench-to-bedside in clinical trials designed to prevent the more aggressive and lethal forms of breast cancer.

In other words ...

Current Program: 

  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Immunoprevention of Breast Cancer and Ovarian Cancer
  • Plasticity of Self-Recognition in Autoimmune Disease
  • Immunoregulation of Autoimmunity


  • Li-Xin Wng, M.D., Ph.D. Staff Scientist
  • Suparna Mazumder, Ph.D., Project Scientist
  • Roberto Aguilar, M.S., Graduate Student and Ph.D. Candidate
  • Justin M. Johnson, B.S., Senior Research Technologist, Graduate Student, and Ph.D. Candidate
  • Dennis J. Wilk, B.Sc., Senior research Technologist 
  • Matthew Loya, Research Technologist


  • G. Thomas Budd, M.D., Taussig Cancer Center, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
  • Joseph Crowe, M.D., Director of the Breast Center and Breast Services, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
  • Firouz Daneshgari, M.D., Chair, Department of Urology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
  • Robert Aguilar
  • Graduate Student
  • Location:NB3-15
  • Phone:(216) 444-0613
  • Patrick Barrett
  • Research Technologist
  • Location:NB3-15
  • Phone:(216) 444-0613
  • Justin M. Johnson
  • Principal Research Technologist
  • Location:NB3-15
  • Phone:(216) 444-0613
  • Fax:(216) 444-8372
  • Suparna Mazumder Ph.D.
  • Project Staff
  • Location:NB3-26
  • Phone:(216) 444-0613
  • Valerie Ann Swank
  • Sr. Research Technologist
  • Location:NB3-15
  • Phone:(216) 444-0613
  • Fax:(216) 444-8372
  • Li-Xin Wang M.D., Ph.D.
  • Staff Scientist
  • Location:NE6-251
  • Phone:(216) 445-5273

Recent Key References

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

Tuohy VK. Bench-to-bedside challenges in developing immune protection against breast cancer. Cleveland 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 model. American Journal of Physiology: Renal Physiology 2015; 308:F103-113

Tuohy VK. Retired self-proteins as vaccine targets for primary immunoprevention of adult-onset cancers. Expert Review of Vaccines 2014; 13:1447-1462

Singh V, Jaini R, Torricelli AA, Tuohy VK, Wilson SE. A method to generate enhanced GFP+ chimeric mice to study the role of bone marrow-derived cells in the eye. Experimental Eye Research 2013; 116:366-370

Jaini R, Rayman P, Cohen PA, Finke JH, Tuohy VK. Combination of sunitinib with anti-tumor vaccination inhibits T cell priming and requires careful scheduling to achieve productive immunotherapy. International 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 mice. PLoS One 2013; 8:e72067

Jaini R, Popescu DC, Flask CA, Macklin WB, Tuohy VK. Myelin antigen load influences antigen presentation and severity of central nervous system autoimmunity. Journal 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 VK. A novel murine model of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) induced by immunization with a spermine binding protein (p25) peptide. American 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 VK. Connective 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 vaccination. American Journal of Pathology 2012; 181:775-784

Altuntas CZ, Daneshgari F, Sakalar C, Goksoy E, Gulen MF, Kavran M, Qin J, Li X, Tuohy VK. Autoimmunity to uroplakin II causes cystitis in mice: a novel model of interstitial cystitis. European 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 VK. Autoimmune mediated regulation of ovarian tumor growth. Gynecologic Oncology 2012; 124:98-104

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

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

Tuohy VK. A 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 VK. An autoimmune-mediated strategy for prophylactic breast cancer vaccination. Nature 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 encephalomyelitis. Immunity 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 activation. Immunity 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 disease. Journal 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 cells. Journal of Immunology 2009; 183:5654-5661

Buniel MC, Geelan-Hansen K, Weber PC, Tuohy VK. Immunosuppressive therapy for autoimmune inner ear disease. Immunotherapy 2009; 1:425-434