Khleif Photo

Samir N. Khleif, MD

Dr. Khleif currently serves as the Director of the State of Georgia Cancer Center, Georgia Regents University Cancer Center and the Cancer Service Line. He is a Georgia Research Alliance Distinguished Cancer Scientist and Clinician and holds a professorship in Medicine, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Graduate Studies at Georgia Regents University. Dr. Khleif’s research program focuses on the molecular mechanisms of the interaction between cancer and the immune system. He received his medical degree at the University of Jordan, Amman Jordan. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the Medical College of Ohio and his fellowship in Medical Oncology at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland. His laboratory works on understanding the mechanisms of cancer-induced immune suppression, and utilizing this knowledge for the development of novel immune therapeutics and vaccines against cancer. His team designed and conducted some of the first cancer vaccine clinical trials directed against specific genetic changes in cancer cells.   Currently, his research group works on strategies to target immune suppressive mechanisms of T regulatory cells and co-inhibitory molecules such as PD1 and CTLA4; developing novel strategies to manipulate such pathways to selectively block cancer immune suppression; and developing novel approaches in clinical trials for immune therapy in immune combination approaches to enhance anti-tumor effects.

Dr. Khleif previously served as Chief of the Cancer Vaccine Section at NCI and Professor of Medicine at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He also served as a Special Assistant to the FDA Commissioner from 2006-2009, during which time he led the Critical Path for Oncology. During his tenure at the NCI, Dr. Khleif was asked by the US government to develop and lead the King Hussein Cancer Centre and served as its director from 2002-2006. He also served as Director of the King Hussein Cancer and Biotechnology Institute from 2006-2009. He led many national efforts and committees on the development of biomarkers and integration of biomarkers in clinical trials, including the AACR-NCI-FDA Cancer Biomarker Collaborative and the ASCO Alternative Clinical Trial Design. Dr. Khleif is the author of many book chapters and scientific articles on tumor immunology and biomarkers process development, and he is the editor for two textbooks on cancer therapeutics, tumor immunology, and cancer vaccines. Dr. Khleif was inducted into the American Society for Clinical Investigation, received the National Cancer Institute’s Director Golden Star Award, the National Institutes of Health Award for Merit, the Commendation Medal of the US Public Health Service, and he was recently appointed to the Institute of Medicine National Cancer Policy Forum.