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Smita Kesavan 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 at Knoxville, 1993

Selected Grants

Publications

Chandramohan, Vidyalakshmi, Xuhui Bao, Xin Yu, Scott Parker, Charlotte McDowall, Yen-Rei Yu, Patrick Healy, et al. “Improved efficacy against malignant brain tumors with EGFRwt/EGFRvIII targeting immunotoxin and checkpoint inhibitor combinations..” J Immunother Cancer 7, no. 1 (May 29, 2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40425-019-0614-0.

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Zhang, Xiaojie, Kathleen A. Ashcraft, Allison Betof Warner, Smita K. Nair, and Mark W. Dewhirst. “Can Exercise-Induced Modulation of the Tumor Physiologic Microenvironment Improve Antitumor Immunity?.” Cancer Res 79, no. 10 (May 15, 2019): 2447–56. https://doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-2468.

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Holl, Eda K., Victoria N. Frazier, Karenia Landa, Georgia M. Beasley, E Shelley Hwang, and Smita K. Nair. “Examining Peripheral and Tumor Cellular Immunome in Patients With Cancer..” Front Immunol 10 (2019). https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2019.01767.

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Force, Jeremy, Lynn J. Howie, Sara E. Abbott, Rex Bentley, P Kelly Marcom, Gretchen Kimmick, Kelly Westbrook, et al. “Early Stage HER2-Positive Breast Cancers Not Achieving a pCR From Neoadjuvant Trastuzumab- or Pertuzumab-Based Regimens Have an Immunosuppressive Phenotype..” Clin Breast Cancer 18, no. 5 (October 2018): 410–17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clbc.2018.02.010.

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Brown, Michael C., Eda K. Holl, David Boczkowski, Elena Dobrikova, Mubeen Mosaheb, Vidya Chandramohan, Darell D. Bigner, Matthias Gromeier, and Smita K. Nair. “Abstract A79: Cancer immunotherapy with recombinant poliovirus induces IFN-dominant activation of antigen-presenting cells and tumor antigen-specific CTLs.” In Other Topics. American Association for Cancer Research, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1158/2326-6074.tumimm17-a79.

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Desjardins, Annick, Matthias Gromeier, James E. Herndon, Nike Beaubier, Dani P. Bolognesi, Allan H. Friedman, Henry S. Friedman, et al. “Recurrent Glioblastoma Treated with Recombinant Poliovirus..” N Engl J Med 379, no. 2 (July 12, 2018): 150–61. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1716435.

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Holl, Eda K., Victoria Frazier, David Boczkowski, Bruce Sullenger, and Smita K. Nair. “Targeting inflammation to prevent breast cancer metastasis.” In Journal of Immunology, Vol. 200. AMER ASSOC IMMUNOLOGISTS, 2018.

Scholars@Duke

Zhao, Fei, Christine Xiao, Kathy S. Evans, Tbalamayooran Theivanthiran, Nicholas DeVito, Alisha Holtzhausen, Juan Liu, et al. “Paracrine Wnt5a-β-Catenin Signaling Triggers a Metabolic Program that Drives Dendritic Cell Tolerization..” Immunity 48, no. 1 (January 16, 2018): 147-160.e7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.immuni.2017.12.004.

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