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.

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

Hatfield SM, Kjaergaard J, Lukashev D, Schreiber TH, Belikoff B, Abbott R, Sethumadhavan S, Philbrook P, Ko K, Cannici R, Thayer M, Rodig S, Kutok JL, Jackson EK, Karger B, Podack ER, Ohta A, Sitkovsky M. Immunological mechanisms of the antitumor effects of supplemental oxygenation. Science Translational Medicine 4 March 2015 Vol 7 Issue 277 277ra30.

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. PMID: 25120128

Ohta A, Sitkovsky M. Extracellular adenosine-mediated modulation of regulatory T cells. Front Immunol. 2014 Jul 10;5:304. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2014.00304. eCollection 2014. PMID: 25071765

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

Subramanian M, Kini R, Madasu M, Ohta A, Nowak M, Exley M, Sitkovsky M, Ohta A. Extracellular adenosine controls NKT-cell-dependent hepatitis induction. Eur J Immunol 2014; Apr;44(4):1119-29. PMID: 24448964

Ohta A, Madasu M, Subramanian M, Kini R, Jones G, Choukèr A, Ohta A, Sitkovsky M. Hypoxia-induced and A2A adenosine receptor-independent T-cell suppression is short lived and easily reversible. Int Immunol 2014; Feb;26(2):83-91. PMID: 24150242

Thomas R, Lee J, Chevalier V, Sadler S, Selesniemi K, Hatfield S, Sitkovsky M, Ondrechen MJ, Jones GB. Design and evaluation of xanthine based adenosine receptor antagonists: potential hypoxia targeted immunotherapies. Bioorg Med Chem. 2013 Dec 1;21(23):7453-64. PMID: 24126093

Nowak-Machen M, Schmelzle M, Hanidziar D, Junger W, Exley M, Otterbein L, Wu Y, Csizmadia E, Doherty G, Sitkovsky M, Robson SC. Pulmonary natural killer T cells play an essential role in mediating hyperoxic acute lung injury. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2013 May;48(5):601-9. PMID: 23349052

Georgiev P, Belikoff BG, Hatfield S, Ohta A, Sitkovsky MV, Lukashev D. Genetic deletion of the HIF-1α isoform I.1 in T cells enhances antibacterial immunity and improves survival in a murine peritonitis model. Eur J Immunol. 2013 Mar;43(3):655-66. PMID: 23208786

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. PMID: 23334369