Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Center for Research on Reproduction and Women's Health

Lana Kandalaft

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Adjunct Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Department: Obstetrics and Gynecology

Contact information
Privat-Docent, Centre de Thérapies Expérimentales
Département d'oncologie
Université de Lausanne
Lausanne, 19104-6160
Office: 215-573-4782
Fax: 215-573-5129
GSCE (General Certificate of Secondary Education)
London Examination (honors), 1995.
University of Jordan School of Pharmacy, Amman Jordan (cum laude), 2000.
PhD (Pharmaceutical Cell Biology and Drug Delivery)
Welsh School of Pharmacy, Cardiff University, UK, 2003.
MTR (Master of Science in Translational Research)
University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, 2012.
Post-Graduate Training
Postdoctoral Research fellow, Carcinogenesis & Angiogenesis, Cell and Cancer Biology Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, 2004-2007.
Research Fellow, Carcinogenesis & Angiogenesis, Cell and Biology Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD (1/08 to 8/08), 2007-2008.
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Description of Clinical Expertise

Dr. Kandalaft, along with faculty researchers at the Ovarian Cancer Research Center, is interested in moving the biologically-focused research ideas into clinical trials. Dr. Kandalaft plays an integral role in the development and implementation of these clinical protocols stemming from the laboratory discoveries of the OCRC and the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute (AFCRI). Her role encompasses working with researches in the laboratory to finalize pre-clinical data required for IND submission, supervising the regulatory team and the clinical team to ensure compliance with FDA, IRB and CTSMRC regulations and coordinating with the business team, clinical team of nurses, sub investigators, clinical fellows and core directors to ensure a seamless clinical operation at the OCRC.

The clinical program at the Ovarian Cancer Research Center encompasses a wide range of novel translational therapies for the treatment of ovarian cancer including:

Cancer Vaccines: Vaccines have been the main approach to ovarian cancer immunotherapy as with many other tumor types. Consistent with experience in other immunogenic tumors, vaccines have shown limited efficacy as monotherapy in patients with advanced recurrent disease. Current efforts to improve vaccines are directed broadly towards a) optimizing the choice of antigens; b) improving vaccine delivery systems to maximize the magnitude and quality of T-cell response; and c) developing combinatorial approaches with adoptive T-cell or immunomodulation therapy to maximize activation and function of vaccine-primed T-cells in vivo. We currently testing some of these approaches in our center with a pilot phase I clinical trial.

Cell-based Immunotherapy: Effective cancer immunotherapy is dependent on the presence of large numbers of anti-tumor lymphocytes with appropriate homing and effector functions that enable them to seek out and destroy cancer cells in vivo. The presence of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in ovarian cancers positively correlates with improved survival. Our hypothesis is that TIL represent a tumor-reactive T cell population with the potential for use in the immunotherapeutic treatment of ovarian cancer. We are currently preparing to develop and test the feasibility of adoptive cellular therapy for the treatment of patients with ovarian cancer in a phase I clinical trial.

Genetically-modified Cell Therapy: Recent clinical trials have demonstrated the feasibility, safety and preliminary efficacy of redirecting T-cells of patients with cancer using tumor antigen-specific T cell receptors (TCRs) to arbitrate objective cancer regression. TCR-based engineering represents a potentially powerful strategy for ovarian cancer therapy. Optimization of this approach is currently being investigated by selection of naturally occurring or recombinant high affinity receptors, engineering to prevent recombination with endogenous TCR, and the use of lentiviral vectors. Additionally, modification of T cells to express genes encoding chimeric immune receptors capable of recognizing intact cancer cell- or tumor vasculature-specific surface proteins will be investigated.

Dr. Kandalaft works closely with Dr. Coukos to develop a Regional Ovarian Cancer Network, and to develop Industry and Biotech partnerships for future clinical studies.

Selected Publications

Yan X, Hu Z, Feng Y, Hu X, Yuan J, Zhao SD, Zhang Y, Yang L, Shan W, He Q, Fan L, Kandalaft LE, Tanyi JL, Li C, Yuan CX, Zhang D, Yuan H, Hua K, Lu Y, Katsaros D, Huang Q, Montone K, Fan Y, Coukos G, Boyd J, Sood AK, Rebbeck T, Mills GB, Dang CV, Zhang L: Comprehensive Genomic Characterization of Long Non-coding RNAs across Human Cancers. Cancer Cell 28(4):529-40, Oct 2015.

Tanyi J, Kandalaft LE, Ophir E, Bobisse, Genolet, R, Zsiros E, Torigian D, Mick, R, Harrari A, Coukos G: Autologous oxidized whole-tumor antigen vaccine in combination with angiogenesis blockade elicits antitumor immune response in ovarian cancer, ASCO, Jun 2015.

Zsiros EZ, Duttagupta P, Dangaj D, Li H, Frank R, Garrabrant T, Hagemann IS, Levine B, June CH, Zhang L, Wang E, Marincola FM, Bedognetti D, Powell DJ Jr, Feldman M, Tanyi JL, Kandalaft LE, Coukos G: The Ovarian Cancer Chemokine Landscape is Conducive to Homing of Vaccine-promed and CD3/CD28 Costimulated T cells Prepared for Adoptive Therapy. Clin Cancer Res 21(12):2840-50, Jun 2015.

Ophir E, Bobisse, S, Kandalaft LE, Tanyi J, Genolet, R, Zsiros E, Torigian D, Mick, R, Harrari A, Coukos G: Increased anti-tumor immunity that correlates with clinical benefit and induction of neoantigens reactivity following autologous tumor lysate-pulsed dendritic cells vaccination in recurrent ovarian cancer, CIMT, May 2015.

Chiang C, Coukos G, Kandalaft LE: Whole Tumor Vaccines-Where are we? Vaccines 3(2), 344-372, Apr 2015.

Chiang C, Balint K, Coukos G, Kandalaft LE: Potential approaches for more successful dendritic cell based immunotherapy. Expert Opin Biol Ther 15(4):569-82, Jan 2015.

Ophir E, Bobisse S, Coukos G, Harari A, Kandalaft LE: Personalized approaches to active immunotherapy in cancer. Biochim Biophys Acta 1865(1):72-82, Jan 2015.

Chiang C, Balint K, Coukos G, Kandalaft LE: Potential approaches for more successful dendritic cellbased immunotherapy. Expert Opin Biol Ther 2:1-14, Jan 2015.

Zsiros E, Tanyi J, Balint K, Kandalaft LE: Immunotherapy for ovarian cancer: recent advances and perspectives. Curr Opin Oncol 26(5):492-500, Sep 2014.

Tanyi J, Kandalaft LE, Zsiros Z, Mantia-Smaldone G, Coukos G: Combinatorial immunotherapy enhances survival in patients with recurrent ovarian cancer-SGO. Mar 2014.

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Last updated: 03/10/2016
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