Samir Khleif, M.D.

Director and Professor

Cancer Center

Augusta University, Augusta, GA

Voice: 706-721-1660
: skhleif@gru.edu


M.B./B.S. , University of Jordan School of Medicine, Amman, Jordan 1986

Research Interests


The research program focuses on understanding of the molecular mechanism of the interaction between the immune system and tumor cells particularly the caner-induced immune suppression, and utilizing this understanding for the development of novel immune therapeutics and vaccines against cancer. The group Designed, and conducted some of the first cancer vaccine clinical trials directed against specific genetic changes in cancer cells.

Currently, the group works on understanding the mechanisms of the inhibitory arm of the immune system and developing strategies to suppress such mechanisms to enhance therapy against cancer; identifying novel regulation pathways of the T regulatory cells and developing novel strategies to manipulate such pathways to selectively inhibit these cells; developing novel targets for immune therapy including tumor anti-angiogenesis vaccines and vaccines against novel human papilloma virus (HPV); and developing of strategies to enhance the role of the immune system as a forth modality to treat cancer.

Of Note

Post-doctoral Experience
Fellow in Medical Oncology, National Cancer Institute (NCI), Bethesda, Maryland, 1990 - 1994
Resident in Internal Medicine, Medical College of Ohio, Toledo, Ohio, 1988 - 1990
Intern in Internal Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, St. Luke's Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio, 1987 - 1988
Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Hematology-Oncology Section, Michigan State University, E. Lansing, Michigan, 1986 - 1987
Honors and Awards
Federal Technology Transfer Award, 2012
Federal Technology Transfer Award, 2011
Dietary Supplement Research Award, Office of Dietary Supplements, NIH, 2010
Federal Technology Transfer Award, 2010
Federal Technology Transfer Award, 2009
Oncologist Leadership Award and Lecture, Arab American Medical Association against Cancer, 2009,
The National Institutes of Health Award for Merit, 2008,
Lifetime Achievement Award, Jordan Medical Association/General Union of Physician in the Arab World 50th Anniversary Celebration. Amman, Jordan, April 2008
The National Institutes of Health, Clinical Center Bench to Bedside Award 2007.
The Jordan Medical Association Honorary Plaque, Amman, Jordan, April 2006
The Jordan Minister of Health Honorary Plaque, Amman Jordan, March 2006.
NCI Directors’ Gold Star Award, National Cancer Institute, February 2004
Outstanding Unit Citation, US Public Health Service, presented for “superior and exceptional service toward achieving the goals and objectives of the U.S. Public Health Service on a national or international levels”, June, 1999
Commendation Medal, US Public Health Service, presented for, “sustained high-quality work achievement in the scientific field”, November, 1998
Bicentennial Unit Commendation, US Public Health Service, 1998
Press Conference Abstract Selection (chosen by the scientific committee), Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Denver, Colorado, May, 1997

Selected Publications

Butterfield LH, Palucka AK, Britten CM, Dhodapkar MV, Håkansson L, Janetzki S, Kawakami Y, Kleen TO, Lee PP, Maccalli C, Maecker HT, Maino VC, Maio M, Malyguine A, Masucci G, Pawelec G, Potter DM, Rivoltini L, Salazar LG, Schendel DJ, Slingluff CL Jr, Song W, Stroncek DF, Tahara H, Thurin M, Trinchieri G, van Der Burg SH, Whiteside TL, Wigginton JM, Marincola F, Khleif S, Fox BA, Disis ML. Recommendations from the iSBTc-SITC/FDA/NCI Workshop on Immunotherapy Biomarkers. Clin Cancer Res. 2011 May 15;17(10):3064-76.

Mikayel Mkrtichyan, Yana G Najjar, Estella C Raulfs, Maher Y Abdalla, Raed Samara, Rinat Rotem-Yehudar , Michael Schickler, Larry Cook, Samir N Khleif. Anti-PD1 synergizes with vaccine and cyclophosphamide to induce potent anti-tumor effects by a novel mechanism of action. Eur J Immunol, 2011 [Epub ahead of print]

Rahma OE, Khleif SN. Therapeutic Vaccines for Gastrointestinal Cancers. Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2011 Aug; 7 (8).

Fox BA, Schendel DJ, Butterfield LH, Aamdal S, Allison JP, Ascierto PA, Atkins MB, Bartunkova J, Bergmann L, Berinstein N, Bonorino CC, Borden E, Bramson JL, Britten CM, Cao X, Carson WE, Chang AE, Characiejus D, Choudhury AR, Coukos G, de Gruijl T, Dillman RO, Dolstra H, Dranoff G, Durrant LG, Finke JH, Galon J, Gollob JA, Gouttefangeas C, Grizzi F, Guida M, Håkansson L, Hege K, Herberman RB, Hodi FS, Hoos A, Huber C, Hwu P, Imai K, Jaffee EM, Janetzki S, June CH, Kalinski P, Kaufman HL, Kawakami K, Kawakami Y, Keilholtz U, Khleif SN, Kiessling R, Kotlan B, Kroemer G, Lapointe R, Levitsky HI, Lotze MT, Maccalli C, Maio M, Marschner JP, Mastrangelo MJ, Masucci G, Melero I, Melief C, Murphy WJ, Nelson B, Nicolini A, Nishimura MI, Odunsi K, Ohashi PS, O'Donnell-Tormey J, Old LJ, Ottensmeier C, Papamichail M, Parmiani G, Pawelec G, Proietti E, Qin S, Rees R, Ribas A, Ridolfi R, Ritter G, Rivoltini L, Romero PJ, Salem ML, Scheper RJ, Seliger B, Sharma P, Shiku H, Singh-Jasuja H, Song W, Straten PT, Tahara H, Tian Z, van Der Burg SH, von Hoegen P, Wang E, Welters MJ, Winter H, Withington T, Wolchok JD, Xiao W, Zitvogel L, Zwierzina H, Marincola FM, Gajewski TF, Wigginton JM, Disis ML. Defining the critical hurdles in cancer immunotherapy. J Transl Med. 2011 Dec 14;9(1):214.

Rahma OE, Ashtar E, Wieckowski E, Czystowska M, Szajnik ME, Bernstein, Herrin VE, Steinberg SM, Shams MA, Merino M, Steinberg SM, Gooding W, Visus C, Deleo AB, Wolf JK, Bell JG, Berzofsky JA, Whiteside TL, Khleif SN. A Gynecologic Oncology Group Phase II Trial Comparing p53 Peptide Subcutaneous Injection and Intravenous Pulsed Dendritic Cells in High-Risk Ovarian Cancer Patients, Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy, Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2011 Sep 17. [Epub ahead of print]. 2012 Mar;61(3):373-84