Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Sabita Roy, Ph.D.

Sabita Roy, Ph.D.

Professor of Surgery

Description of Research

Immunology-based approaches for the treatment of cancer is rapidly emerging as a therapeutic mechanism to activate and instruct immune system to eliminate cancer and prevent its recurrence. The immune system is the body’s first line of defense against most diseases and infectious invaders. Understanding how the immune system protects against cancer or promotes its progression will allow for new discoveries that can harness its function to create synergy and to improve the effectiveness of surgery, cancer vaccines, drug therapies and radiation therapy.

Opioids are the gold standard for moderate to severe pain particularly in post-surgical cancer patients. However, a wealth of data now exists on the negative consequences of opioid use on immune function, modulation of gut microbiome, sepsis and wound healing. However, very few studies have focused on the cause and consequence of opioid use on tumor progression, metastasis, immunotherapy and response to cancer vaccines. In the era of precision or personalized medicine, a holistic approach to guide the best immune approaches to the right patients is essential. Dr. Roy’s research is focused on identifying how opioids modulate the gut-immune-“end organ”(brain, liver, lung, adipose tissue) axis and its long term consequence on tumor progression, metastasis and response to therapy.


Dr. Roy recently showed that chronic morphine use leads to significant shift in microbiome, leading to gut leakiness and sustained immune activation. Their long term goal is to investigate its implication in tumor proliferation and metastasis in cancer patients that are on chronic opioids for pain management.

Selected Cancer-Related Publications


Collaborating in the Multidisciplinary Research Program(s):

E-mail a Friend