Our Director
Mary L. (Nora) Disis, M.D.
Director, UW Medicine Cancer Vaccine Institute
Helen B. Slonaker Endowed Professorship for Cancer Research

Dr. Disis was educated at the University of Nebraska Medical School, the University of Illinois College of Medicine and UW Medicine-Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She was one of the pioneering investigators who discovered that HER-2/neu is a tumor antigen, and she holds several patents in the field of targeted cancer therapy and cancer diagnostics. In addition, she serves as the inaugural editor-in-chief of JAMA Oncology. Read more about Dr. Disis.


The Cancer Vaccine Institute is a group of multidisciplinary investigators who work to support a comprehensive research effort for evaluating the role of the immune system in modulating cancer and develop novel therapies that will impact the lives of people with the disease. The overall goals of the program are to define cancer-immune interactions that will result in the development diagnostic, preventative, and treatment strategies to combat cancers.

Cancer Vaccines CVI aims to develop a multi-antigen cancer vaccine targeting immunogenic overexpressed self-proteins that are biologically relevant to the growth of a cancer cell and are involved in the malignant transformation.
Cancer Diagnostics CVI is able to detect very early tumors and premalignant lesions by looking for an antibody immune response to cancer, not looking for proteins secreted by cancer.
Immunologic Monitoring Laboratory (IML) CVI is working to develop immunologic correlates of cancer vaccine efficacy, i.e. measure the generation of a cancer antigen specific immunity after active immunization and correlate that measurement to clinical outcome.
Adoptive T Cell Therapy CVI uses adoptive T cell therapy to augment T cell responses over and above that achievable by vaccination alone.
Tumor Immune Environments CVI is evaluating multiple strategies that could be used alone or in combination with other immune based therapies to modulate the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment.