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New England Inflammation & Tissue Protection Institute

NEITPI was founded to expand fundamental knowledge about inflamed and cancerous tissue microenvironments which are the battlefield of immune cells attacking pathogens or tumor cells. In a process Dr. Sitkovsky coined, “engineering inflammation,” researchers use molecular, genetic and pharmacological tools to explore ways to control excessive inflammation in a wide range of illnesses including sepsis and post-operative recovery of surgery patients. The institute’s work has immediate implications for anti-cancer strategies and approaches to improve vaccines.

About Dr. Sitkovsky

The New England Inflammation and Tissue Protection Institute (NEITPI) at Northeastern University was founded by Michail Sitkovsky in 2004.

Dr. Sitkovsky is Eleanor W. Black Chair Professor of Immunophysiology and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at Northeastern University.

Dr. Sitkovsky received his Ph. D. in biophysics from Moscow University in 1973. From 1981 – 84, Dr. Sitkovsky worked as an immunologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Cancer Research. At the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases from 1984 – 2004, he served as Chief of the Biochemistry and Immunopharmacology section of the Laboratory of Immunology.

Dr. Sitkovsky’s research has led to the discovery of the novel mechanism of cytotoxicity by T killer cells and to the discovery of the critical and non-redundant role of hypoxia adenosinergic immune regulation in the pathogenesis of cancer and infectious diseases. Currently, proposed co-adjuvant treatments are in preparation for clinical trials of a novel immunotherapy of cancer protocols.

New England Inflammation and Tissue Protection Institute

Contact Information

312 Mugar Life Sciences Building
Boston, MA 02115
Tel: 617.373.4157

Founder & Director

Michail Sitkovsky

Michail Sitkovsky, Ph.D.
Eleanor Black Chair in Immunophysiology
Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Director

Press Releases & Commentaries

The conceptually novel medical use of oxygen in cancer therapies was reported in an article in Science Translational Medicine and has been featured in the following press releases and commentaries:

Oxygen in Cancer Treatments
NY Times
NBC News
Science Daily
Boston Biz Journal
Business Wire


  • Develop new knowledge about hypoxia adenosinergic regulation of immune cells in immunosuppressive, inflamed and cancerous tissue microenvironments
  • Discover novel anti-hypoxia adenosinergic treatments to weaken immunosuppression and thereby enhance anti-tumor or anti-pathogen immune response
  • Educate undergraduate and graduate students in biomedical research in the areas of immunophysiology, biochemistry, mouse genetics, and clinical models of human diseases


NEITPI works collaboratively with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Koch Institute, Boston University Department of Pathology, University of Miami Sylvester Cancer Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, and others.

International collaborations include University of Heidelberg Medical School, University of Rome La Sapienza, and University of Munich. NEITPI is also involved in biomedical research under the auspices of The Obama-Medvedev Commission, officially known as the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission.


Biomedical research at NEITPI ranges from biochemical studies of the pathophysiological effects of transmembrane signaling through G-protein-coupled receptors to development of anti-cancer immunotherapies using cancer vaccines or adoptive transfer of anti-tumor T killer cells. The ongoing and future research of scientists at NEITPI is designed to inform the clinical trials of anti-hypoxia A2A adenosinergic immunotherapies of cancer.


Research at NEITPI is funded by grants from several institutes of the National Institutes of Health: National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of General Medicine, and others. Funding is also provided by Harvard Catalyst grant support and by the Eleanor W. Black Professorship in Allied Health Sciences.

Neitpi Experiments

Experiments at NEITPI have led to the discovery of a major physiologicial immunosuppressive mechanism which immediately suggested novel clinical approaches to improve immunotherapies of cancer and infectious diseases. Clinical trials in USA and Europe are in preparation.


Click on each photo for a full bio.

Stephen Hatfield, Ph.D.

Thao Nguyen, Undergraduate Biochemistry Major

Shalini Sethumadhavan, Ph.D.

Murillo Silva, Ph.D. Candidate

Notable Publications

Ohta A, Sitkovsky M. Role of G-protein-coupled adenosine receptors in downregulation of inflammation and protection from tissue damage. Nature 2001;414:916-20. PMID:11780065.

Kojima H, Gu H, Nomura S, Caldwell CC, Kobata T, Carmeliet P, Semenza G, Sitkovsky MV. Abnormal B lymphocyte development and autoimmunity in hypoxia-inducible factor1alpha deficient chimeric mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2002; 99:2170-4. PMCID:PMC122337

Thiel M, Chouker A, Ohta A, Jackson E, Caldwell C, Smith P, Lukashev D, Bittmann I, Sitkovsky MV. Oxygenation inhibits the physiological tissue-protecting mechanism and thereby exacerbates acute inflammatory lung injury. PLoS Biol 2005; 3(6):e174. PMCID: PMC 1088279

Ohta A, Gorelik E, Prasad SJ, Ronchese F, Lukashev D, Wong MK, Huang X, Caldwell S, Liu K, Smith P, Chen JF, Jackson EK, Apasov S, Abrams S, Sitkovsky M. A2A adenosine receptor protects tumors from anti-tumor T cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2006;103(35):13132-7. PMCID: PMC 1559765

Sitkovsky M, Ohta A. Targeting the hypoxia-adenosinergic signaling pathway to improve the adoptive immunotherapy of cancer. J Mol Med (Berl). 2013; Feb;91(2):147-55. PMC 3576025

Sitkovsky MV, Hatfield S, Abbott R, Belikoff B, Lukashev D, Ohta A. Hostile, hypoxia-A2-adenosinergic tumor biology as the next barrier to overcome for tumor immunologists. Cancer Immunol Res 2014; Jul;2(7):598-605. PMID: 24990240 PMCID: PMC4331061

Hatfield SM, Kjaergaard J, Lukashev D, Belikoff B, Schreiber TH, Sethumadhavan S, Abbott R, Philbrook P, Thayer M, Shujia D, Rodig S, Kutok JL, Ren J, Ohta A, Podack ER, Karger B, Jackson EK, Sitkovsky M. Systemic oxygenation weakens the hypoxia and hypoxia inducible factor 1α-dependent and extracellular adenosine-mediated tumor protection. J Mol Med (Berl) 2014; Dec;92(12):1283-92. PMCID: PMC 4247798

Hatfield SM, Kjaergaard J, Lukashev D, Schreiber TH, Belikoff B, Abbott R, Sethumadhavan S, Philbrook P, Ko K, Cannici R, Rodig S, Kutok JL, Karger B, Podack ER, Ohta A, Sitkovsky M. Immunological mechanisms of the anti-tumor effects of supplemental oxygenation. Sci Transl Med 2015; Mar 4;7(277):277ra30. PMCID:PMC 4641038

Abbott RK, Silva M, Labuda J, Thayer M, Cain DW, Philbrook P, Sethumadhavan S, Hatfield S, Ohta A, Sitkovsky M. The GS Protein-coupled A2a Adenosine Receptor Controls T Cell Help in the Germinal Center. J Biol Chem 2017; Jan 27;292(4):1211-17. PMC 5270467

Abbott RK, Thayer M, Labuda J, Silva M, Philbrook P, Cain DW, Kojima H, Hatfield S, Sethumadhavan S, Ohta A, Reinherz EL, Kelsoe G, Sitkovsky M. Germinal Center Hypoxia Potentiates Immunoglobulin Class Switch Recombination. J Immunol 2016; Nov 15;197(10):4014-20. Epub 2016 Oct 19. PMID:27798169 PMCID:PMC5123804