University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI)

Pawel Kalinski, MD, PhD

Pawel Kalinski
Professor of Surgery, Immunology, Bioengineering, and Infectious Diseases and Microbiology
Director of Research, Division of Surgical Oncology
Director, Immunotransplantation Center

Contact Information

Contact Information

1.46 HCC
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Phone: 412-623-3251

Administrative Assistant
Name: Ms. Sharon Coutch
Phone: 412-623-0306

Research Keywords

Research Keywords

cancer immunotherapy; cancer vaccines; dendritic cells; T cells, NK cells; CTLs; cytokines; chemokines; prostanoids; interferons; TLR ligands; PGE2; tumor microenvironment; clinical trials; colon cancer; colorectal cancer; ovarian cancer; prostate cancer; brain cancer; melanoma

Research Summary

Research Summary

The goal of my research is to advance the integration of immunotherapy as a standard component of comprehensive cancer care. My group aims to develop means of using ex vivo-educated dendritic cells (DCs) and combinatorial adjuvants to selectively induce type-1 effector- and memory-type immunity (mediated by CTLs, Th1- and NK cells), without amplifying ongoing Treg responses and MDSC activity in cancer patients. Our second goal is to promote selective homing of effector cells to tumor lesions (rather than to healthy tissues) and to enhance their local effector functions, with concommittant suppression of intratumoral accumulation of regulatory/suppressive cells. Finally, we aim to develop ways of priming lymph nodes for enhanced attraction of DCs, naïve and memory T cells, with concommittant exclusion of Tregs, in order to amplify the induction phase of anti-cancer immunity. We have developed means of promoting selective induction of cancer-specific type-1 effector and memory cells using “polarized” DCs( DCs induced in the conditions that mimic viral infections) or/and combinatorial adjuvants to manipulate endogenous DCs and lymph node tissues in vivo. Furthermore, we developed means of conditioning tumor micro-environments to selectively enhance the entry of the vaccination-induced effector cells into tumors, while counteracting local development, accumulation and function of immunosuppressive Tregs and MDSCs. Our current work includes the clinical translation of the resulting paradigms and methods into new treatments of cancer, premalignant lesions and chronic infections.

Selected Publications

Selected Publications

  • Obermajer, N., J.L. Wong, R.P. Edwards, K. Chen, M. Scott, S. Khader, J.K. Kolls, K. Odunsi, T.R. Billiar, and P. Kalinski. Induction and stability of human Th17 cells require endogenous NOS2 and cGMP-dependent NO signaling. J. Exp. Med. 210: 1433-1445 (2013). PubMed Link
    Shared Resources Used: BF, CF, CTIF
  • Wong, JL, R. Muthuswamy, E. Berk, R P. Edwards, and Pawel Kalinski. IL-18-primed human 'helper' NK cells attract and collaborate with dendritic cells to promote the recruitment of effector CD8 T cells to cancer environment Cancer Res. Cancer Res. 73(15); 4653-62 (2013). PubMed Link
    Shared Resources Used: BF, CF, CTIF

See all pubs (Pubmed)



Current UPCI/Pitt Collaborators

Leonard Appleman, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Member - Cancer Therapeutics Program (CTP)

David Bartlett, MD
Professor of Surgery
Member - Cancer Immunology Program (CIP)

Dana Bovbjerg, PhD
Professor of Psychiatry
Leader - Biobehavioral Oncology Program (BOP)

Lisa Butterfield, PhD
Professor of Medicine
Member - Cancer Immunology Program (CIP)
Member - Melanoma Program (MP)

Robert Edwards, MD
Professor of Obstetrics
Co-Leader - Breast and Ovarian Cancer Program (BOCP)

Jeffrey Gingrich, MD
Associate Professor of Urology

Frank Jenkins, PhD
Assc. Prof. Pathology
Member - Biobehavioral Oncology Program (BOP)

John Kirkwood, MD
Professor of Medicine
Co-Leader - Melanoma Program (MP)

Kelvin Lee, MD, PhD
Professor of Immunology

Saumendra Sarkar, PhD
Associate Professor of Microbiology
Member - Cancer Virology Program (CVP)

Walter Storkus, PhD
Professor of Dermatology
Member - Cancer Immunology Program (CIP)
Member - Melanoma Program (MP)

Current External Collaborators

Gurkamal Chatta, MD, PhD
Assc. Member
Benaroya Res. Inst./Virginia Mason Med. Ctr.

Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD
Professor, OBGYN

Hideho Okada, MD, PhD
Professor of Neurological Surgery
University of California, San Francisco

Affiliated Graduate Programs

Affiliated Graduate Programs

  • Bioengineering
  • Immunology

Department Website

Last modified: 8/24/16