Kimberly R. Kalli, Ph.D., is the program coordinator for the Ovarian Cancer Research Group in the Women's Cancer Program of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center.
- Immunotherapy for ovarian cancer. Dr. Kalli's research interests include using immunotherapy to prevent or delay ovarian cancer recurrence. Initial preclinical studies set the stage for an ongoing clinical trial of a peptide-based vaccine targeting the folate receptor, a tumor antigen found on the majority of ovarian tumors.
- Ovarian cancer tissue repository. Dr. Kalli also oversees the ovarian cancer tissue repository. This is a critical resource of tumor tissues and blood products that women with benign and malignant ovarian tumors have generously donated for research purposes. After hearing about the repository and signing the consent form indicating their level of participation, patients complete a questionnaire on potential risk factors and have a small blood sample drawn. With approval from the Institutional Review Board, researchers can obtain coded specimens (specimens without any personal identifiers) for their research projects.
Significance to patient care
By inducing immunity to the folate receptor after a woman has completed surgery and chemotherapy for her disease, it is hoped that anti-tumor immune responses against any remaining microscopic disease would prevent or delay regrowth of the tumors.
The ovarian cancer tissue registry, a critical resource, supports research that has implications for earlier detection of ovarian cancer, better understanding of why some women get this disease, and development of novel treatment strategies.