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Smita K Nair, PhD

Professor in Surgery
Professor in Pathology
Professor in Neurosurgery
Office: Room 1077, Msrb-2, 106 Research Drive, Durham, NC 27710
Campus Mail: DUMC Box 103035 Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710

I have 22 years of experience in the field of cancer vaccines and immunotherapy and I am an accomplished T cell immunologist. Laboratory website:
https://surgery.duke.edu/immunology-inflammation-immunotherapy-laboratory

Current projects in the Nair Laboratory:
1] Dendritic cell vaccines using tumor-antigen encoding RNA (mRNA, total tumor RNA, amplified tumor mRNA)
2] Local immune receptor modulation using mRNA that encodes for antibodies, receptor-ligands, cytokines, chemokines and toll-like receptors (current target list: CTLA4, GITR, PD1, TIM3, LAG3, OX40 and 41BB)
3] Combination therapies for cancer: cytotoxic therapy (radiation, chemo and oncolytic poliovirus therapy) with dendritic cell-based vaccines and immune checkpoint blockade
4] Adoptive T cell therapy using tumor RNA-transfected dendritic cells to expand tumor-specific T cells ex vivo
5] Adoptive T cell therapy using PSMA CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) RNA-transfected T cells
6] Direct injection of tumor antigen encoding RNA (targeting antigens to dendric cells in vivo using nanoparticles and aptamers)

Education and Training

  • Ph.D., University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 1993

Selected Grants

Publications

Farrow, Norma E., Eda K. Holl, Jeanne Jung, Junheng Gao, Sin-Ho Jung, Rami N. Al-Rohil, Maria A. Selim, et al. “Characterization of Sentinel Lymph Node Immune Signatures and Implications for Risk Stratification for Adjuvant Therapy in Melanoma.” Ann Surg Oncol 28, no. 7 (July 2021): 3501–10. https://doi.org/10.1245/s10434-020-09277-w.

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Heggestad, Jacob T., David S. Kinnamon, Lyra B. Olson, Jason Liu, Garrett Kelly, Simone A. Wall, Solomon Oshabaheebwa, et al. “Multiplexed, quantitative serological profiling of COVID-19 from blood by a point-of-care test.” Sci Adv 7, no. 26 (June 2021). https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abg4901.

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Holl, Eda K., Victoria Frazier, Karenia Landa, David Boczkowski, Bruce Sullenger, and Smita K. Nair. “Controlling cancer-induced inflammation with a nucleic acid scavenger prevents lung metastasis in murine models of breast cancer.” Mol Ther 29, no. 5 (May 5, 2021): 1772–81. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ymthe.2020.12.026.

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Beasley, Georgia M., Smita K. Nair, Norma E. Farrow, Karenia Landa, Maria Angelica Selim, Carol Ann Wiggs, Sin-Ho Jung, et al. “Phase I trial of intratumoral PVSRIPO in patients with unresectable, treatment-refractory melanoma.” J Immunother Cancer 9, no. 4 (April 2021). https://doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-002203.

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Olson, Lyra B., Ibtehaj A. Naqvi, Daniel J. Turner, Sarah A. Morrison, Bryan D. Kraft, Lingye Chen, Bruce A. Sullenger, Smita K. Nair, Loretta G. Que, and Jerrold H. Levy. “Key Pathogenic Factors in Coronavirus Disease 2019-Associated Coagulopathy and Acute Lung Injury Highlighted in a Patient With Copresentation of Acute Myelocytic Leukemia: A Case Report.” A a Pract 15, no. 4 (March 30, 2021): e01432. https://doi.org/10.1213/XAA.0000000000001432.

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Brown, Michael C., Mubeen M. Mosaheb, Malte Mohme, Zachary P. McKay, Eda K. Holl, Jonathan P. Kastan, Yuanfan Yang, et al. “Viral infection of cells within the tumor microenvironment mediates antitumor immunotherapy via selective TBK1-IRF3 signaling.” Nat Commun 12, no. 1 (March 25, 2021): 1858. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-22088-1.

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Beasley, Georgia M., Aaron D. Therien, Eda K. Holl, Rami Al-Rohil, Maria Angelica Selim, Nellie E. Farrow, Liuliu Pan, et al. “Dissecting the immune landscape of tumor draining lymph nodes in melanoma with high-plex spatially resolved protein detection.” Cancer Immunol Immunother 70, no. 2 (February 2021): 475–83. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00262-020-02698-2.

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Swartz, Adam M., Kendra L. Congdon, Smita K. Nair, Qi-Jing Li, James E. Herndon, Carter M. Suryadevara, Katherine A. Riccione, et al. “A conjoined universal helper epitope can unveil antitumor effects of a neoantigen vaccine targeting an MHC class I-restricted neoepitope.” Npj Vaccines 6, no. 1 (January 18, 2021): 12. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41541-020-00273-5.

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Gromeier, Matthias, Michael C. Brown, Gao Zhang, Xiang Lin, Yeqing Chen, Zhi Wei, Nike Beaubier, et al. “Very low mutation burden is a feature of inflamed recurrent glioblastomas responsive to cancer immunotherapy.” Nat Commun 12, no. 1 (January 13, 2021): 352. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-20469-6.

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