At Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR) we study and seek remedies for cancer as well as cardiovascular, autoimmune, gastrointestinal and other diseases. Our research is at the leading edge of today’s immunotherapy revolution in health care. Our guiding principle: In medicine, hope springs from research.

LIMR is a nonprofit, biomedical research institute located on the campus of Lankenau Medical Center in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia. Founded in 1927, LIMR’s mission is to improve human health and well-being. Our resident faculty members conduct basic, preclinical and clinical research seeking to improve disease detection, diagnosis, treatment and prevention. We are committed to extending the boundaries of human health through technology transfer and training of the next generation of scientists and physicians.

Our mission is to advance human health and well-being through research by improving the detection and treatment of disease; rapidly transferring new technology to the clinic; and training the next generation of scientists and physicians. 

Disease modifiers

The core theme of our basic research is to define and treat modifier pathways in inherited and noninherited diseases. For example, in many inherited diseases, patients with the same genetic mutation may develop a severe or mild form of disease, or have no symptoms at all. Among the factors that explain the differences are the patient’s modifier genes. Modifier pathways do not determine the onset of disease but instead its severity.

We study general modifiers of age-associated disease that affect inflammation and immunity. This unique theme addresses fundamental questions in age-associated diseases, which usually are not due to a single cause—making them more challenging to precisely define and treat by traditional means. Our focus on disease severity uncovers unique clinical benefits, extending health by disrupting multiple disease processes at a single point.

One disease modifier pathway of emerging importance that our researchers pioneered is IDO (indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase), which modifies inflammatory processes in cancer, autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease and other disorders. Our work on IDO-inhibitor drugs—which are currently at the leading edge of the immuno-oncology revolution—may transform the treatment of many diseases. Other cancer modifier pathways discovered at LIMR focus on experimental drugs that affect cell membrane dynamics, tissue barrier functions, and metabolic homeostasis in diseased cells.

Training and education

As part of LIMR’s mission, our staff is dedicated to not only training the scientists of tomorrow but also the clinicians of today. Programs at LIMR include:

  • Medical resident and fellow training: Residents and fellows may participate in basic, preclinical and clinical research in LIMR laboratories and the Clinical Research Center. Also, our researchers participate in graduate and continuing medical education programming in conjunction with the Annenberg Conference Center for Medical Education at Lankenau Medical Center.
  • Graduate training: Our researchers mentor graduate students studying at biomedical science universities throughout the region.

Technology development and licensing

At LIMR we have initiated a unique hybrid mix of knowledge-based academic culture with invention-based entrepreneurial culture. We call it an “acapreneurial” strategy. To date, more than 15 biomedical start-up companies have incubated in LIMR side-by-side with our research laboratories.

Learn more about technology development and licensing