Christopher G. Kanakry, M.D.

Christopher G. Kanakry, M.D.
Lasker Clinical Research Scholar

Dr. Christopher Kanakry pursues basic, translational, and clinical research related to allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation. His work largely centers on better understanding and developing the use of post-transplantation cyclophosphamide as graft-versus-host disease prophylaxis. His work spans the generation of new mechanistic immunologic understandings in the laboratory and the direct translation of these understandings to the clinic in early phase clinical studies to improve transplant outcomes for patients with malignant and non-malignant hematologic diseases.

Areas of Expertise

1) allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation, 2) HLA-haploidentical transplantation,
3) graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), 4) post-transplantation cyclophosphamide,
5) post-transplant immune reconstitution

Contact Info

Christopher G. Kanakry, M.D.
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
10-CRC, Room 4-3142
Bethesda, MD 20892
Ph: 240-760-6171

Dr. Kanakry’s research is in transplantation immunology and graft-versus-host disease, particularly focused on better understanding the immunologic mechanisms by which post-transplantation cyclophosphamide prevents graft-versus-host disease in order to rationally improve transplantation platforms using this approach. His work has disproven the previously widely accepted paradigm that post-transplantation cyclophosphamide works by selectively eliminating alloreactive T cells.  He has shown in humans and mice that regulatory T cells preferentially recover after post-transplantation cyclophosphamide and are necessary in murine models for post-transplantation cyclophosphamide’s activity in preventing graft-versus-host disease.  More recently, he has shown that post-transplantation cyclophosphamide does not eliminate alloreactive T cells, but instead induces their functional impairment.  He also has published multiple clinical studies on the use of post-transplantation cyclophosphamide as graft-versus-host disease prophylaxis in human leukocyte antigen-matched and -haploidentical allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation. His current work centers on developing a comprehensive new model for understanding graft-versus-host disease prevention by post-transplantation cyclophosphamide in mice and translating these new findings to the clinic in early phase clinical studies.

NIH Scientific Focus Areas:
Cell Biology, Immunology
View Dr. Kanakry's PubMed Summary.

Selected Recent Publications

  1. Wachsmuth LP, Patterson MT, Eckhaus MA, Venzon DJ, Gress RE, Kanakry CG
    J Clin Invest. 130: 2019. [ Journal Article ]
  2. Kanakry CG, Coffey DG, Towlerton AMH, Vulic A, Storer BE, Chou J, Yeung CCS, Gocke CD, Robins HS, O’Donnell PV, Luznik L, Warren EH.
    JCI Insight. 1(5): 2016. [ Journal Article ]
  3. Nunes, NS, Kanakry, CG
    Front Immunol. 10: 2668, 2019. [ Journal Article ]
  4. Kanakry CG, O’Donnell PV, Furlong T, de Lima MJ, Wei W, Medeot M, Mielcarek M, Champlin RE, Jones RJ, Thall PF, Andersson BS, Luznik L
    J. Clin. Oncology. 32(31): 3497-3505, 2014. [ Journal Article ]
  5. Kanakry CG, Ganguly S, Zahurak M, Bolaños-Meade J, Thoburn C, Perkins B, Fuchs EJ, Jones RJ, Hess AD, Luznik L
    Sci Transl Med. 5: 211ra157, 1-12, 2013. [ Journal Article ]

Dr. Kanakry received his undergraduate degree from Harvard College and his MD from Duke University School of Medicine. He completed his Internal Medicine residency and Hematology/Medical Oncology fellowships at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he also carried out transplantation research under the mentorship of Dr. Leo Luznik. Dr. Kanakry joined the NCI at the end of 2014 as an Assistant Clinical Investigator and was awarded a Lasker Clinical Research Scholar tenure-track position within NCI in October, 2018.

Name Position
Amy Chai M.S.N., R.N. Research Nurse (Transplant Coordinator)
Alessandra de Paula Pohl Ph.D. Research Fellow
Rochelle Fletcher Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Ashley Hadjis B.S. Medical Research Scholar's Program (MRSP) Fellow
Mustafa Ali Hyder M.D. Assistant Research Physician
Shanzay Khan Postbaccalaureate Fellow (CRTA)
Meredith McAdams M.D. Clinical Fellow
Michael Patterson Special Volunteer
Jennifer Sadler R.N. Research Nurse
Natalia Schneider Nunes Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)