Cristina Maccalli, PhD

Principal Investigator – Assistant Level
Laboratory of Immune and Biological Therapies – Advanced Cell Therapy Core

Email: cmaccalli (@) sidra.org
Phone: +974 4003 7576

  • Biography

    Dr. Cristina Maccalli is a Principal Investigator at the Advanced Cell Therapy Core of the Research Department, Sidra Medicine. Her expertise is in the field of immunology, tumor immunology and immunotherapy. She obtained in 1990 a Master degree in Biological Sciences and then, in 1996, a Ph.D. in Applied Genetics at the University of Milan, Italy. She has carried out her post-doctoral research programs at the National Cancer Institute in Milan, Italy and, then, as visiting fellow at the Surgery Branch, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA. From 2003 until mid 2007 she worked as investigator at the Istituto Superiore di Sanita’ Rome, Italy. In 2007 she joined as Senior Investigator the Unit of Immuno-biotherapy of Melanoma and Solid Tumors at the San Raffaele Foundation Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy where she contributed to novel studies aimed at the immunological characterization of cancer stem cells, the development of Phase I/II immunotherapy clinical studies and immunomonitoring of cancer patients. In October 2013 she contributed to the development of the Laboratory of the Italian Network of Biotherapy of Tumors (NIBIT)/University Hospital of Siena, Italy dedicated to ImmunOncology (IO) studies and the immunomonitoring of patients undergoing immunotherapy treatments. In October 2015 she joined the Research Department at Sidra Medicine.
  • Our Research and Approach

    Our team is dedicated to the development of personalized medicine approaches, based on immunology, immunotherapy, gene and immune cell-based therapies for cancer patients. Main focus is on the manufacturing, molecular and functional characterization of T lymphocytes engineered with Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) for targeting of hematological and solid tumors. The principle objective of this study is to validate the “off-the-shelf” clinical grade manufacturing of CAR-T cells to render this type of therapies accessible to large number of cancer patients including local pediatric patients in Qatar. Additional ongoing studies are aimed at: 1. the isolation and immunological characterization of cancer stem cells from solid tumors to understand the mechanisms of tumor dormancy and of orchestrating cancer patients’ clinical outcome and responsiveness to therapies. 2. The development of novel cell-based treatments for targeting cancer stem cells, representing the components of tumor resistant to therapeutic treatments. 3.The identification of biomarkers predictive of the risk to develop colorectal cancer for patients with inflammatory bowel disease and of their clinical outcome.
  • Lab Members

    Shilpa Ravindran, BSc
    Research Specialist
    Email: sravindran (@) sidra.org

    Saad Rasool, BSc
    Research Specialist
    Email: srasool (@) sidra.org

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS(equal contribution, *corresponding):

  • Maccalli C*, Rasul K, Elawad M, Ferrone S. The role of cancer stem cells in the modulation of anti-tumor immune responses. Semin Cancer Biol (2018), 153:189-200.
  • Pilla L, Ferrone S, Maccalli C*. Methods for improving the immunogenicity and efficacy of cancer vaccines. Expert Opin Biol Ther (2018), 18:765-784.
  • Pilla L, Maccalli C*. Immune Profiling of Cancer Patients Treated with Immunotherapy: Advances and Challenges. Biomedicines (2018) 6: pii: E76.
  • MennonnaD#, MaccalliC#, RomanoMC, CapocefaloF, BordoniR, De BellisG, SidneyJ, SetteA, GoriA, LonghiR, GhirardelliL, BaldariL, OrsenigoE, BragaM, AlbarelloL, ZinoE, FleischhauerK, MazzolaG, FerreroN, AmorosoA, CasoratiG, ParmianiG, DellabonaP. T cell-neoantigens of colorectal cancer identified by high throughput profiling of somatic mutations in expressed genes. Gut (2017) 66:454-463.
  • Maccalli C*, Giannarelli D, Chiarucci C, Cutaia C, Giacobini G, Hendricx W, Amato G, Annesi D, Bedognetti D, Altomonte M, Danieli R, Calabro’ L, Di Giacomo AM, Marincola FM, Parmiani G, Maio M. Soluble NKG2D ligands are biomarkers associated with the clinical outcome to immune checkpoint blockade therapy of metastatic melanoma patients. OncoImmunol (2017) 6:e1323618.
  • Maccalli C*, Parmiani G, Ferrone S. Immunomodulating and immunoresistance properties of cancer initiating cells: implications for the clinical success of immunotherapy. Immunol Invest (2017) 46:221-238.
  • Gulley JL, Berzofsky JA, Butler MO, Cesano A, Fox BA, Gnjatic S, Janetzki S, Kalavar S, Karanikas V, Khleif SN, Kirsch I, Lee PP, Maccalli C, Maecker H, Schlom J, Seliger B, Siebert S, Stroncek DF, Thurin M, Yuan J, Butterfield LH. Immunotherapy Biomarkers 2016: Overcoming the Barriers. J Immunother Cancer (2017), 5:29.
  • Roelands J, Kuppen P.JK, Vermeulen L, Maccalli C, Decock J, Wang E, Marincola FM, Bedognetti D, Hendrickx W. Immunogenomic classification of colorectal cancer and therapeutic implications. Int J Molecular Science 2017, 18:pii: E2229.
  • Hendrickx W, Simeone I, Anjum S, Mokrab Y, Bertucci F, Finetti P, Curigliano G, Seliger B, Cerulo L, Tomei S, Delogu LG, Maccalli C, Wang E, Miller LD, Marincola FM, Ceccarelli M, Bedognetti D. Identification of genetic determinants of breast cancer immune phenotypes by integrative genome-scale analysis. OncoImmunol (2016) 6:e1253654.
  • Yuan J, Hegde PS, Clynes R, Foukas PG, Harari A, Kleen TO, Kvistborg P, Maccalli C, Maecker HT, Page DB, Robins H, Song W, Stack EC, Wang E, Whiteside TL, Zhao Y, Zwierzina H, Butterfield LH, Fox BA. Novel technologies and emerging biomarkers for personalized cancer immunotherapy. J Immunother Cancer (2016) 4: 3-28.