Vincent K. Tuohy,  PhD

Vincent K. Tuohy, PhD


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

Lerner Research Institute, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44195



My current research activities focus on the preclinical and clinical development of vaccines designed to prevent adult-onset cancers such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and endometrial cancer. My prototypic strategy for developing cancer prevention vaccines 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 induce safe and effective prophylactic vaccination against age-related emerging tumors that express the targeted “retired” protein.

We are currently involved in a phase I clinical trial sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense to determine the safety and dosage of a vaccine ultimately designed to prevent triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), the most aggressive and lethal form of breast cancer and the version of breast cancer that predominates in women at high genetic risk due to carrying mutations in their BRCA1 genes. We also have a collaborative agreement with the National Cancer Institute’s PREVENT Program to enter clinical trials ultimately designed to determine the ability of our ovarian cancer vaccine to prevent ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer. Supporting all of this publicly supported work are licensing agreements with Anixa Biosciences, Inc. to facilitate commercialization of these two vaccines.

Finally, my program has also developed a humanized monoclonal antibody that inhibits the growth of human ovarian tumors in patient-derived xenografts and may be useful in treating human ovarian and endometrial cancers either directly or as an immune reagent for delivering a toxic payload to tumor cells.

Current Program:

  • Primary Immunoprevention of Adult-Onset Cancers
  • Breast Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Endometrial Cancer
  • Cancer Immunotherapy


Patents Granted by the USPTO:

Selected Tuohy Lab News:


Anixa Biosciences Announces Issuance of U.S. Patent for Ovarian Cancer Vaccine Technology, PR Newswire; August 18, 2021

Cleveland Clinic Little Book of Big Impact-2021: Breakthroughs, Then and Now ‒ Breast Cancer Vaccine, pp. 32‒33; August 2, 2021

Experimental Breast Cancer Vaccines, online publications on #FeatureFriday at; June 25, 2021

Anixa Biosciences Announces Support from the National Cancer Institute for Ovarian Cancer Vaccine Developed by Cleveland Clinic, PR Newswire; May 26, 2021

Could There Ever Be a Vaccine for Breast Cancer?, by Sam Moxon, reporter at, March 16, 2021

Anixa Biosciences Announces Issuance and Publication of European Patent for Ovarian Cancer Vaccine Technology, PR Newswire; March 12, 2021

Can This Promising Vaccine Really Stop Breast Cancer?, Electronic Health Reporter; February 17, 2021

Cleveland Clinic Breast Cancer Vaccine Approved for Trial, by Elisabeth Gromofsky, Staff Reporter at The Bruin, the Newspaper of Wadsworth High School, Wadsworth, OH; February 5, 2021

FDA Clears Breast Cancer Vaccine for Clinical Trials, by Caroline Tien, reporter at, January 6, 2021

How Close Are We to a Breast Cancer Vaccine?, published at Patient Power; January 5, 2021


Cleveland Clinic Breast Cancer Vaccine Goes To Clinical Trials, by Anna Huntsman, Reporter at WVIZ/PBS Ideastream, Cleveland, OH; December 28, 2020

Anixa Biosciences Receives Clearance to Initiate Clinical Trial of Breast Cancer Vaccine Developed by Cleveland Clinic Researchers, by Lydia Coutré, Reporter at Crain’s Cleveland Business; December 21, 2020

FDA Clears Way for Cleveland Clinic’s Groundbreaking Breast Cancer Vaccine (text) or FDA Clears Way for Cleveland Clinic’s Groundbreaking Breast Cancer Vaccine (video), by Jennifer Jordan, Reporter at WGN-TV Newsnation, America, Chicago, IL; December 21, 2020

Anixa Biosciences and Cleveland Clinic Announce FDA Clearance to Initiate Clinical Trial of Breast Cancer Vaccine, PR Newswire; December 21, 2020

Anixa Biosciences Announces Licensing Agreement with Cleveland Clinic for Ovarian Cancer Vaccine Technology, PR Newswire; December 1, 2020

Anixa Biosciences and Cleveland Clinic File IND Application for Breast Cancer Vaccine, PR Newswire; November 23, 2020


Exclusive: The Team That Wants to Eliminate Breast Cancer, Total Prestige Magazine (Cover Story), by Drew Farmer; November 26, 2019

Anixa Biosciences Announces Patent Issued for its Breast Cancer Vaccine, PR Newswire; November 5, 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

Selected Key References: 

Mazumder S, Swank V, Komar AA, Johnson JM, Tuohy VKImmunotherapy of ovarian cancer with a monoclonal antibody specific for the extracellular domain of anti-Müllerian hormone receptor IIOncotarget. 2020; 11:1894‒1910. 

Tuohy VK, Johnson JM, Mazumder S. Primary immunoprevention of adult onset cancers by vaccinating against retired tissue-specific self-proteinsSeminars in Immunology. 2020; 47:101392.

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

Aguilar R, Johnson JM, Barrett P, Tuohy VKVaccination with inhibin-α provides effective immunotherapy against testicular stromal cell tumorsJournal 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 cancerCancers (Basel). 2016; 8:56.

Tuohy VKPrimary immunoprevention: The great unmet need for controlling breast cancerOncology (Williston Park). 2016; 30:486‒487.

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

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

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 careful scheduling to achieve productive immunotherapyInternational Journal of Cancer. 2014; 134:1695‒1705.

Kesaraju P, Jaini R, Johnson JM, Altuntas CZ, Gruden JJ, Sakalar C, Tuohy VKExperimental 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, Jaini R, Kesaraju P, Jane-wit D, Johnson JM, Covey K, Flask CA, Dutertre M, Picard JY, Tuohy VKAutoimmune mediated regulation of ovarian tumor growth. Gynecologic Oncology. 2012; 24:98‒104.

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-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 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.

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.

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.

Liu J, Lin F, Strainic MG, An F, Miller RH, Altuntas CZ, Heeger PS, Tuohy VK, Medof ME. IFN-gamma and IL-17 production in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis depends on local APC-T cell complement production. Journal of Immunology. 2008; 180:5882‒5889.

Tuohy VK, Altuntas CZ. Autoimmunity and premature ovarian failureCurrent Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2007; 19:366‒369.

Jane-wit D, Altuntas CZ, Johnson JM, Yong S, Wickley PJ, Clark P, Wang Q, Popović ZB, Penn MS, Damron DS, Perez DM, Tuohy VKBeta 1-adrenergic receptor autoantibodies mediate dilated cardiomyopathy by agonistically inducing cardiomyocyte apoptosisCirculation. 2007; 116:399‒410.

Xiao H, Gulen MF, Qin J, Yao J, Bulek K, Kish D, Altuntas CZ, Wald D, Ma C, Zhou H, Tuohy VK, Fairchild RL, de la Motte C, Cua D, Vallance BA, Li X. The Toll-interleukin-1 receptor member SIGIRR regulates colonic epithelial homeostasis, inflammation, and tumorigenesisImmunity. 2007; 26:461‒475.

Qian Y, Liu C, Hartupee J, Altuntas CZ, Gulen MF, Jane-Wit D, Xiao J, Lu Y, Giltiay N, Liu J, Kordula T, Zhang QW, Vallance B, Swaidani S, Aronica M, Tuohy VK, Hamilton T, Li X. The adaptor Act1 is required for interleukin 17-dependent signaling associated with autoimmune and inflammatory diseaseNature Immunology. 2007; 8:247‒256.

Altuntas CZ, Johnson JM, Tuohy VKAutoimmune targeted disruption of the pituitary-ovarian axis causes premature ovarian failureJournal of Immunology. 2006; 177:1988‒1896.

Fan K, Zhou M, Pathak MK, Lindner DJ, Altuntas CZ, Tuohy VK, Borden EC, Yi T. Sodium stibogluconate interacts with IL-2 in anti-Renca tumor action via a T cell-dependent mechanism in connection with induction of tumor-infiltrating macrophagesJournal of Immunology. 2005; 175:7003‒7008.

Edling AE, Tuohy VK.Stem cell reconstitution of autoimmune T cell repertoiresJournal of Neuroimmunology. 2005; 169:126‒136.

Solares CA, Edling AE, Johnson JM, Baek MJ, Hirose K, Hughes GB, Tuohy VKMurine autoimmune hearing loss mediated by CD4+ T cells specific for inner ear peptides.  Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2004; 113:1210‒1217.

Yin L, Yu M, Edling AE, Kawczak JA, Mathisen PM, Nanavati T, Johnson JM, Tuohy VKPre-emptive targeting of the epitope spreading cascade with genetically modified regulatory T cells during autoimmune demyelinating disease. Journal of Immunology. 2001; 167:6105‒6112.

Klein L, Klugmann M, Nave KA, Tuohy VK, Kyewski B. Shaping of the autoreactive T-cell repertoire by a splice variant of self protein expressed in thymic epithelial cells. Nature Medicine. 2000; 6:56‒61.

Tuohy VK, Yu M, Yin L, Kawczak JA, Kinkel RP. Spontaneous regression of primary autoreactivity during chronic progression of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and multiple sclerosisJournal of Experimental Medicine. 1999; 189:1033‒1042.

Tuohy VK, Mathisen PM. T-cell design: optimizing the therapeutic potential of autoreactive T cells by genetic modificationResearch in Immunology. 1998; 149:834‒842; discussion pp. 854‒860.

Tuohy VK, Yu M, Yin L, Kawczak JA, Johnson JM, Mathisen PM, Weinstock-Guttman B, Kinkel RP. The epitope spreading cascade during progression of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and multiple sclerosisImmunological Reviews. 1998; 164:93‒100.

Mathisen PM, Tuohy VKGene therapy in the treatment of autoimmune diseaseImmunology Today. 1998; 19:103‒105.

Mathisen PM, Yu M, Johnson JM, Drazba JA, Tuohy VKTreatment of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis with genetically modified memory T cells. Journal of Experimental Medicine. 1997; 186:159‒164.

Tuohy VK, Yu M, Weinstock-Guttman B, Kinkel RP. Diversity and plasticity of self recognition during the development of multiple sclerosisJournal of Clinical Investigation. 1997; 99:1682‒1690.

Yu M, Johnson JM, Tuohy VKA predictable sequential determinant spreading cascade invariably accompanies progression of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis: a basis for peptide-specific therapy after onset of clinical diseaseJournal of Experimental Medicine. 1996; 183:1777‒1788.

10/26/2021 |  

Researchers Open Clinical Trial for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Vaccine

Dr. Tuohy and his research team will begin vaccinating patients in a phase I trial to study how their triple-negative breast cancer vaccine immunizes against the protein alpha-lactalbumin.