Evanthia Galanis, M.D., has a long-standing interest in developing novel therapeutic approaches for cancer treatment. The focus of her laboratory is to develop and optimize novel virotherapy approaches with special emphasis on paramyxoviruses. A number of different strategies are tested, including use of therapeutic transgenes; trackable markers; combinations with small molecules, cytotoxic agents and radiation therapy; re-targeting of viral strains against tumor-specific antigens; development of novel viral delivery approaches; and exploration of immunomodulatory methods to modify humoral and innate immunity as a means of optimizing virotherapy efficacy.
A significant impetus for Dr. Galanis' research has been the translation of laboratory advances into clinical trials of novel virotherapeutics and small molecules in cancer patients. She has served as the principal investigator in multiple phase I and II virotherapy trials in different solid tumors (ovarian cancer, glioblastoma, renal cell carcinoma, colorectal cancer, melanoma, hepatocellular carcinoma), and she has spearheaded the clinical translation of measles derivatives and their first human testing in patients with ovarian cancer or brain tumors, as well as first human use of live cell carriers for oncolytic virus delivery.
She has also conducted multiple cooperative group phase II and randomized studies of small molecules and anti-angiogenesis agents in the treatment of glioblastoma through the North Central Cancer Treatment Group and the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology.
In addition, Dr. Galanis has a special research interest in clinical trial endpoints and innovative trial designs in neuro-oncology. Her work has been supported by the National Cancer Institute, and she has been involved in several Mayo Clinic Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs), including the Brain Cancer, Ovarian Cancer and Breast Cancer SPOREs.
- Engineering of oncolytic viruses. Dr. Galanis' laboratory is testing the activity of oncolytic measles virus derivatives in preclinical tumor models, with special emphasis on gliomas, breast cancer, prostate cancer and sarcomas. A special focus of her laboratory is to re-target measles virus strains against tumor-specific antigens and engineer them to express therapeutic transgenes.
- Optimizing efficacy of oncolytic virotherapy. Dr. Galanis' laboratory is also focusing on testing novel viral delivery approaches, such as cell mediated delivery, in preclinical models and testing immunomodulatory strategies as a means of optimizing virotherapy efficacy.
- Clinical translation of promising virotherapy strategies. A significant area of focus has been the successful completion of ongoing clinical trials and the initiation of new phase I and phase II gene therapy and virotherapy studies in solid tumors in order to translate promising transgene or vector systems and oncolytic viruses to clinical practice.
- Development of novel therapeutic approaches in the treatment of gliomas. Dr. Galanis and her team have developed and tested in clinical trials a number of novel therapeutic approaches in the treatment of gliomas, with special emphasis on cell cycle inhibitors and angiogenesis inhibition.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Galanis' long-term research goal is to successfully treat solid tumors, employing gene transfer and virotherapy approaches, and to develop novel therapeutic approaches in the treatment of gliomas, with special focus on inhibition of angiogenesis and individualized treatment approaches.
- Co-chair, glioblastoma working group, National Cancer Institute, 2015-present
Chair, Neuro-Oncology Committee, Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, 2011-present
The Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology is a cooperative group formed with the merger of the North Central Cancer Treatment Group, Cancer and Leukemia Group B, and American College of Surgeons Oncology Group (ACOSOG). It consists of approximately 850 individual sites and 235 main networks.
- U.S. lead, Rare Brain Cancer Group, International Rare Cancer Initiative, 2011-present
- Secretary/Treasurer, Society for NeuroOncology, 2013-2015
- Elected member, American Society for Clinical Investigation, 2011
- Co-chair, Neuro-Oncology Committee, North Central Cancer Treatment Group, 2009-2011