Anandani Nellan, M.D., M.P.H.
- Center for Cancer Research
- National Cancer Institute
- Building 10-CRC, Room 1-3750
- Bethesda, MD 20892
Brain tumors are the most common cause of death in childhood cancers. T cell immunotherapy is a promising approach to target pediatric brain tumors by enhancing the immune system to kill malignant cells. Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are synthetic receptors that redirect T cells to recognize proteins expressed on tumor cells. CAR T cell therapy has been very effective in hematologic malignancies and early results treating brain tumors show promise.
Our lab’s goal is to develop innovative immunotherapy strategies for high-risk pediatric CNS tumors. Current projects focus on designing novel CAR T cells and evaluating mechanisms of response and resistance to immunotherapy by studying the tumor-immune microenvironment. We ultimately hope to translate promising preclinical findings to the clinic for children and young adults with CNS tumors.
Areas of Expertise
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- Evaluate novel targets in pediatric brain tumors utilizing antibody and chimeric antigen receptor T cell-based therapies
- Establish immunocompetent models to evaluate TME modification plus CAR T cells in brain tumors
- Characterize the CNS tumor microenvironment utilizing multimodal techniques to elucidate mechanisms of immunosuppression and treatment resistance
- Develop novel CAR T cell designs and combinatorial strategies to treat brain tumors incorporating our understanding of response and resistance to immunotherapy
Durable regression of Medulloblastoma after regional and intravenous delivery of anti-HER2 chimeric antigen receptor T cells.
Improved CNS exposure to tocilizumab after cerebrospinal fluid compared to intravenous administration in rhesus macaques.
CAR T Cells Targeting B7-H3, a Pan-Cancer Antigen, Demonstrate Potent Preclinical Activity Against Pediatric Solid Tumors and Brain Tumors
Analysis Reveals BRAF V600E Mutations Are Infrequent in Isolated Pituitary Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis Patients
Anandani Nellan, M.D., M.P.H.
My interest in research and child health began during my combined MD/MPH program at the University of Arizona. I developed a foundation in public health research methods and designed a research project based in rural India to determine predictors of adherence to the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS. I was awarded my first grant from the National Institutes of Health (Biomedical Research Abroad: Vistas Open Program) to fund this research endeavor. The results of this study demonstrated that increased social support and self-efficacy were significantly associated with improved adherence to prevention methods.
Following medical school, I completed a residency in pediatrics at the University of Virginia. There I developed a strong base in pediatric medicine and a sound understanding of critical needs for improvement in child health research. My fellowship at the combined Johns Hopkins/National Institutes of Health Pediatric Hematology/Oncology program was formative in launching my career as both a clinician and translational researcher in pediatric oncology and directly contributed to the selection of my research focus. I then obtained specific fellowship training in Pediatric Neuro-oncology at the Children’s Hospital Colorado. I received the institutional K12 Child Health Research Career Development Award in 2018 to fund the study of CAR T cells in ependymoma under the mentorship of Dr. Nicholas Foreman and Dr. Terry Fry.
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