Date of Award


Degree Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Field of Study

Microbiology and Immunology


Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

First Advisor

Lisa Hodge


The lymphatic system’s significance in maintaining health has been focused on by the osteopathic medical profession for years. Osteopathic manipulative treatments (OMT), specifically lymphatic pump techniques (LPT), aim at increasing lymphatic circulation and improving the clearance of interstitial fluid, inflammatory agents, and protein from the interstitial space. However, certain osteopathic manipulative techniques, such as LPT, are contraindicated in the presence of cancer with metastatic potential because it is thought that by accelerating the flow of lymph through the lymphatic vessels, tumor cells may metastasize throughout the body via the lymphatics. However, this theory lacks scientific proof.

Studies previously conducted by our lab show that LPT increases thoracic duct lymph flow and leukocyte numbers in the rat and significantly decreases solid tumor formation and increases leukocyte concentrations in the lungs of rats with tumors (unpublished data). It is possible that increased lymph flow along with an increased number of circulating leukocytes can improve immune surveillance, providing recognition of and protection against pathogens and disease. Therefore, we hypothesized that administration of LPT would enhance anti-tumor immune responses in the lungs of rats with pulmonary tumors. In order to test this hypothesis, this thesis focused on one specific aim: to determine if LPT enhances leukocyte activation and/or function, thereby enhancing anti-tumor activities, such as tumor lysis and cytokine secretion.