Jennifer A. Kanakry, M.D.

Jennifer A. Kanakry, M.D.
Associate Research Physician
Clinical Head of Transplant, ETIB
Head, Neoplasms of Immunodeficiency Unit

Dr. Jennifer Kanakry engages in clinical research related to allogeneic bone marrow transplantation for patients with primary immunodeficiency diseases (PIDDs). Patients with PIDDs are at high risk for virus-associated lymphoproliferative disorders and cancers, immune dysregulation, autoimmunity, and life-threatening infections. Transplant is potentially curative for many PIDDs but remains largely investigational, particularly among those only recently identified and characterized. In collaboration with investigators from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Dr. Kanakry is leading a clinical trial at the NCI of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation for PIDD, with the aims of reducing the toxicities of transplant, expanding donor options with the use of half-matched donors, and improving the immune function and health of patients with PIDD. Dr. Kanakry works with investigators from NIAID to treat many of her patients with PIDD. Visit NIAID’s featured research page to learn more about their PIDD research and clinical trials.

Areas of Expertise

1) allogeneic bone marrow transplantation, 2) virus-associated lymphomas and lymphoproliferative disorders, 3) primary immunodeficiency diseases, 4) Epstein-Barr virus, 5) haploidentical transplantation, 6) posttransplantation cyclophosphamide

Contact Info

Jennifer A. Kanakry, M.D.
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
10-CRC, Room 4-3132
Bethesda, MD 20892
Ph: 240-760-6172

Patients with immunodeficiencies, whether due to defects in the immune system present from birth or acquired, such as with HIV infection, are at higher risk for virus-associated lymphoproliferative disorders and cancers. In addition, many of these patients suffer from immune dysregulation, autoimmunity, and serious infections. Allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation (BMT) is a potentially curative treatment for many of these diseases. Dr. Kanakry’s research is focused on clinical trials for patients with primary immunodeficiency diseases (PIDDs) and virus-associated malignancies/lymphoproliferative disorders, investigating ways to optimize the approach to BMT to reduce its toxicities, while at the same time expanding transplant options to patients without a fully matched donor through the use of half-matched donors.

NIH Scientific Focus Areas:
Clinical Research
View Dr. Kanakry's PubMed Summary.

Selected Key Publications

  1. Kanakry JA, Kasamon YL, Bolaños-Meade J, Borrello IM, Brodsky RA, Fuchs EJ, Ghosh N, Gladstone DE, Gocke CD, Huff CA, Kanakry CG, Luznik L, Matsui W, Mogri HJ, Swinnen LJ, Symons HJ, Jones RJ, Ambinder RF
    Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation. 19/10: 1514-1517, 2013. [ Journal Article ]
  2. Dimitrova D, Rose JJ, Uzel G, Cohen JI, Rao KV, Bleesing JH, Kanakry CG, Kanakry JA
    J Clin Immunol. [Epub ahead of print] No abstract available., 2018. [ Journal Article ]
  3. Melendez-Munoz R, Marchalik R, Jerussi T, Dimitrova D, Nussenblatt V, Beri A, Rai K, Wilder JS, Barrett AJ, Battiwalla M, Childs RW, Fitzhugh CD. Fowler DH, Fry TJ, Gress RE, Hsieh MM, Ito S, Kang EM, Pavletic SZ, Shah NN, Tisdale JF, Gea-Banacloche J, Kanakry CG, Kanakry JA
    Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. [Epub ahead of print], 2018. [ Journal Article ]
  4. Kanakry JA, Li H, Gellert LL, Lemas MV, Hsieh WS, Hong F, Tan KL, Gascoyne RD, Gordon LI, Fisher RI, Bartlett NL, Stiff P, Cheson BD, Advani R, Miller TP, Kahl BS, Horning SJ, Ambinder RF
    Blood. 121/18: 3547-3553, 2013. [ Journal Article ]
  5. Kanakry JA, Kasamon YL, Gocke CD, Tsai HL, Davis-Sproul J, Ghosh N, Symons H, Bolanos-Meade J, Gladstone DE, Swinnen LJ, Luznik L, Fuchs EJ, Jones RJ, Ambinder RF
    Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 19/4: 602-6, 2013. [ Journal Article ]

Dr. Jennifer Kanakry is an Associate Research Physician at the Center for Cancer Research of the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Kanakry received her B.A. (2002) from Pomona College in Claremont, California, where she studied cognitive neuropsychology and biology. She then worked at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland as an Intramural Research Training Award Fellow under Dr. Ellen Leibenluft within the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program of the National Institute of Mental Health. She then went on to receive her medical degree (2007) from a joint program between Dartmouth College School of Medicine (Hanover, NH) and Brown University School of Medicine (Providence, RI). She completed both her residency training in Internal Medicine (2007-2010) and fellowship training (2010-2013) in Hematology at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Her clinical research during fellowship was focused on virus-associated cancers, immunodeficiency associated lymphomas, and allogeneic bone marrow transplantation under the mentorship of Dr. Richard Ambinder. In 2013, she joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins within the Departments of Medicine and Oncology, where she primarily focused on treating patients with diseases that more commonly occur in the setting of immunodeficiency, including lymphoma, disorders of immune dysregulation, and virus-associated lymphoproliferative disorders. She continued her research on Epstein-Barr virus and Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus related cancers, investigating biomarkers for these diseases and carrying out clinical trials for patients with these cancers. In 2015, she joined the Experimental Transplantation and Immunology Branch of the National Cancer Institute, where she continues to focus on diseases related to immunodeficiency and the role of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation and other adoptive immunotherapies.

Name Position
Amy Chai M.S.N., R.N. Research Nurse (Transplant Coordinator)
Dimana Dimitrova M.D. Lead Associate Investigator
Stephanie Hicks R.N. Research Nurse
Paola Massa B.S. Patient Care Coordinator (Contr.)
Kamil Rechache M.D. Clinical Fellow
Jennifer Sadler R.N. Research Nurse