2007 Program Project Development Grant Recipient – Kunle Odunsi

Kunle Odunsi, M.D., Ph.D.
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Enhancing Immunity to Ovarian Cancer Tumors

Project Summary

Ovarian cancer utilizes a number of strategies to evade attack from the immune system. The goal of Dr. Odunsi’s project is to harness the immune system to improve treatment of ovarian cancer patients. In his study, he will focus on understanding how tumors produce an enzyme called IDO, which during pregnancy allows a fetus to escape a mother’s immune system, and in ovarian cancer acts similarly. He will also study why immune cells become less able to perform their killing function of tumor cells. His findings are likely to generate valuable information that is imperative for successfully utilizing the immune system to promote remission in ovarian cancer patients.

Bio

Dr. Kunle Odunsi joined the staff of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) in 2001 as an Attending Surgeon in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Surgical Oncology. He is also the Director of the United States’ Cancer Vaccine Collaborative Program of the Cancer Research Institute/Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.

Dr. Odunsi’s research interests include the molecular characterization of tumor antigens in ovarian cancer and their application to the development of vaccine therapies for the disease. He is the Co-Leader of the Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Program at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Dr. Odunsi earned his medical degree from the University of Ife, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, in 1984. He completed postgraduate training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Rosie Maternity and Addenbrookes Hospitals, University of Cambridge, UK, leading to membership of the Royal College of Obstretricians and Gynecologists in 1991. Dr. Odunsi completed a research fellowship in Molecular Oncology and earned his Ph.D. at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, University of Oxford, UK. Subsequently, he completed residency training in Obstetrics & Gynecology at the Yale University School of Medicine and clinical fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at RPCI. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in the UK and a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Press

“Improving the Odds of Surviving Cancer.” KABC-TV Los Angeles, April 2, 2009.