Pawel Kalinski, MD, PhD, plans to change the way our immune system recognizes and kills cancer.

Pawel Kalinski, MD, PhD

Vice Chair for Translational Research, Department of Medicine
Director of Cancer Vaccine and Dendritic Cell Therapies, Center for Immunotherapy
Co-Leader, Tumor Immunology & Immunotherapy Program
Rustum Family Professor for Molecular Therapeutics and Translational Research
Professor of Oncology
Roswell Park Cancer Institute

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Areas of Expertise: 
Biology of dendritic cells (DC) and DC vaccines
Biology of T cells and T cell targeting therapies of cancer
Biology of natural killer (NK) cells
Biology of human myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC)
Regulation of chemokine production in tumor microenvironment (TME)
TME and tumor-associated immune suppression
In vitro modeling of human immune system
Design and implementation of early phase clinical trials
Special Interests: 
Development and clinical evaluation of new cancer involving the modulation of patients' immune system
Role of the immune system in the effectiveness of chemo- and radiotherapy
Promoting interactions between clinical and laboratory researchers
Development and clinical evaluation of therapeutic vaccines involving different subsets of “polarized” DCs (colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, melanoma, hematologic malignancies)
Development and clinical evaluation of adoptive T cell therapies (ACT) using ex vivo-induced polyclonal CTLs (ovarian- & colorectal cancers and melanoma)
Development and clinical evaluation of combinatorial approaches to enhance the effectiveness of vaccines, ACT an checkpoint blockers, but reprogramming tumor microenvironments for enhanced CTL infiltration and modulating intratumoral expression of PD-L1,
Development of combinatorial adjuvants to modulate DC functions in situ
Counteracting cancer-related immunosuppressive mechanisms and their use in transplantation and autoimmunity
Role of the immune system in the effectiveness of oncolytic virotherapies
Role of the immune system in the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiotherapy of cancer
Interplay between stress and cancer immunity

Biography

The overall goal of my research is to advance the integration of immunotherapy within comprehensive cancer care, as a complementary modality to surgery, chemo and radiotherapy. My group develops new methods of using ex vivo-educated dendritic cells, DC-activated T cells, combinatorial adjuvants and checkpoint blockers, to promote selectively accumulation of type-1 immune cells (CTLs, Th1 and NK cells) in tumor lesions, without amplifying pre-existing Treg- and MDSC responses, in order to enhance local immune surveillance and enhance overall therapeutic outcomes. Our current projects include:

  • Development and clinical evaluation of therapeutic vaccines involving different subsets of “polarized” DCs (colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, melanoma, hematologic malignancies)
  • Development and clinical evaluation of adoptive T cell therapies (ACT) using ex vivo-induced polyclonal CTLs (ovarian- & colorectal cancers and melanoma)
  • Development and clinical evaluation of combinatorial approaches to enhance the effectiveness of vaccines, ACT and checkpoint blockers, but reprogramming tumor microenvironments for enhanced CTL infiltration and modulating intratumoral expression of PD-L1, PD-L2 and other checkpoints (colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, melanoma, bladder cancer, HPV-associated cancers)
  • Development of combinatorial adjuvants to modulate DC functions in situ
  • Counteracting cancer-related immunosuppressive mechanisms and their use in transplantation and autoimmunity
  • Role of the immune system in the effectiveness of oncolytic virotherapies
  • Role of the immune system in the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiotherapy of cancer
  • Interplay between psychologic stress and cancer immunity These interdisciplinary projects involving multiple clinical and laboratory teams, have been advanced as parts of the as multiple NIH-, DOD-, pharma and biotech-funded grants and program projects (single- and multi-institution P01s and P50/SPOREs; where I have been serving as the overall PI, overall co-PI or a Project Leader) and focusing on the therapy of melanoma, colon cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, and hematologic malignancies. Our current work includes phase I/II and phase II clinical testing of the resulting paradigms and methods in cancer patients, and development of similar treatments for patients with premalignant lesions and chronic infections resistant to standard forms of treatment.

Background

Education and Training: 
1991 - MD, Warsaw Medical Academy (AMW), Poland
1998 - PhD, Immunology, University of Amsterdam (UvA), The Netherlands
Professional Memberships: 
American Association of Immunologists
Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer
American Association for Cancer Research
American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI: “Young Turks”)