King's College London

Research portal

Dr Sophia Karagiannis

Research interests

Monoclonal antibodies are an important therapeutic modality in the clinical management of cancers. Our research interests are focused on discovery and evaluation of monoclonal antibodies for clinically-challenging solid tumours such as melanoma, ovarian and breast carcinomas. We have developed novel approaches aimed at understanding and activating immune responses to melanoma with particular focus on B cell responses and the antibodies they produce.  Our approach encompasses: a) elucidating antibody mechanisms of action in disease-relevant models; b) dissecting humoral resposnes and mechanisms that may impair anti-tumour immunity and cytotoxic antibodies from eradicating tumours in patients; c) designing antibodies with potent effector functions. We are able to discover and evaluate novel antibodies for tumour specificity, we examine their ability and mechanisms by which they target and kill tumour cells, and we evaluate their potential efficacy as diagnostic and/or therapeutic agents.

Another major focus relates to evaluation of the impact of antibody class on the therapeutic efficacy of tumour antigen-specific antibodies. We are conducting studies directly comparing the efficacy and mechanisms of action of two different classes of antibodies, IgG and IgE. Our research with Prof. Hannah Gould, Dr. Andrew Beavil and others suggests that compared to IgG, aspects of IgE biology are potentially better suited to cancer therapy, including a higher binding affinity for Fc receptors, and the ability to activate different populations of potent effector cells normally present in tumour tissues to kill tumour cells. A number of subsequent studies provide an insight into the diversity of mechanisms different classes of antibodies employ to activate immune effector cells to target and kill tumours.

Our most advanced agent, MOv18 IgE, raised against the α isoform of Folate Receptor, a tumour-associated antigen expressed almost exclusively in tissue cancers such as those of the ovary, breast and skin, is now in pre-clinical development. We are conducting safety, efficacy (with J Spicer, HJ Gould, P Blower, D Josephs, C Corrigan, S Kaye) as well as biodistribution studies and evaluation of this and other antibodies for radionuclide imaging (with P Blower and J Spicer) and for cancer therapy (with J Spicer, H Gould, D Josephs). These studies will be pivotal in expediting the path of this highly promising therapeutic from the laboratory bench to the patient bedside.

 

Grant Support:

Our research is supported by the National Institutes of Health Research Biomedical Research Centre, the CR UK New Agents Committee, the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre, the Medical Research Council, the CR UK/EPSRC/MRC/NIHR KCL/UCL Comprehensive Cancer Imaging Centre, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and the British Skin Foundation.

 

Research Group Members:

Dr Debra H Josephs (Clinical Lecturer, Oncology)

Ms Kristina Ilieva (Research Technician, PhD Student P/T)

Dr Silvia Mele (Postdoctoral Research Associate)

Dr Giulia Chiaruttini (Postdoctoral Research Assistant)

Dr Isabel Correa (BRC Senior Research Technician)

Dr Heather Bax (Postdoctoral Research Associate)

Dr Anthony Cheung (Postdoctoral Research Associate)

Dr Silvia Crescioli (Postdoctoral Research Associate)

Ms Giulia Pellizzari (Health Schools PhD Student)

Dr Matthew Fittall (Academic Clinical Fellow, Oncology)

Dr Louise Saul (Postdoctoral Research Associate, honorary)

Dr Panagiotis Karagiannis (Clinical Research Associate, honorary)

Past Group members:

Dr Amy E Gilbert (PhD Student)

Ms Helen Cambrook (Research Assistant)

Biographical details

Translational cancer immunologist specialising in antibody therapies for melanoma, ovarian and breast carcinomas. Gained BA and MS degrees at Rutgers University, USA, having received scholarship awards and a teaching assistantship (1987, 1991). PhD was awarded at King’s College London in Biochemistry under SERC and SmithKline Beecham-funded scholarships (1995). Subsequently developed immunotherapeutic strategies for cancer and inflammatory diseases in academic and biotechnology environments in London and Cambridge as a postdoctoral associate and scientific investigator and formed research group as a NIHR/BRC Senior Research Fellow in 2007. The Karagiannis team is presently focused on dissecting humoral immunity in cancer and elucidating tumour-targeting and immune effector activating mechanisms of IgE and IgG antibodies.

Co-founded and co-chairs the International Task Force on AllergoOncology and has pioneered IgE therapeutics for solid tumours. Her research and development initiative on the first IgE class antibody for cancer therapy is conducted in close collaboration with clinical and academic groups at King's College London and the CR-UK Drug Development Office.

Participation in workshop, seminar, course

BRIDGING THE GAP Joint Symposium CCHD-IAI

Sophia Karagiannis (Invited speaker)
9 Feb 201511 Feb 2015

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Entrepreneurs in Clinical Academia (ECA) course

Sophia Karagiannis (Participant)
22 Sep 201426 Sep 2014

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Research Leadership in the Biological Sciences for Vitae South East Hub, University of Southampton

Sophia Karagiannis (Invited speaker)
May 2012

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Types of External academic engagement - Hosting an academic visitor

Editorial activity

ONCOLOGY REPORTS (Journal)

Sophia Karagiannis (Editorial board member)
Jan 2014 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial activity

PL o S One (Journal)

Sophia Karagiannis (Editorial board member)
Jul 2011 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial activity

Participation in conference

Antibody engineering and therapeutics conference The annual meeting of the antibody society

Sophia Karagiannis (Invited speaker)
7 Dec 201411 Dec 2014

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Vitae Research Staff Conference 2014: Recognition and Value

Sophia Karagiannis (Keynote/plenary speaker)
13 Nov 2014

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

The 2014 Innate Immunity Summit

Sophia Karagiannis (Chair)
10 Nov 201412 Nov 2014

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

19th World Congress on Advances in Oncology and 17th International Symposium on Molecular Medicine 9-11 October, 2014, Metropolitan Hotel, Athens, Greece

Sophia Karagiannis (Chair)
9 Oct 201411 Oct 2014

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

5th International Conference RAHMS: Recent Advances in Health and Medical Sciences; 2nd International Conference on Oncology and Anticancer Research; 23rd International Conference on Chelation,

Sophia Karagiannis (Member of programme committee)
2 Jul 20144 Jul 2014

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Therapeutic proteins and antibodies: from design to function

Sophia Karagiannis (Chair)
18 Jun 2014

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Anti-Cancer Therapeutics: From research to trials to treatment

Sophia Karagiannis (Invited speaker)
12 May 201414 May 2014

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Gordon Research Conferences Antibody Biology & Engineering

Sophia Karagiannis (Invited speaker)
23 Mar 201428 Mar 2014

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Tumour Models

Sophia Karagiannis (Chair)
2 Dec 20134 Dec 2013

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

UK-Taiwan collaboration on personalized medicine: What can west learn from east?

Sophia Karagiannis (Invited speaker)
10 Nov 201311 Nov 2013

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

18th World Congress on Advances in Oncology and 16th International Symposium on Molecular Medicine

Sophia Karagiannis (Chair)
8 Oct 201310 Oct 2013

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Supporting Career Development in Science, Vitae and Foundation for Polish Science (FNP)

Sophia Karagiannis (Invited speaker)
19 Sep 2013

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

8th World Congress of Melanoma

Sophia Karagiannis (Speaker)
17 Jul 201320 Jul 2013

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Empowered Antibodies

Sophia Karagiannis (Invited speaker)
14 May 2013

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

International Investigative Dermatology Meeting

Sophia Karagiannis (Speaker)
8 May 201311 May 2013

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

17th World Congress on Advances in Oncology and 15th International Symposium on Molecular Medicine

Sophia Karagiannis (Invited speaker)
11 Oct 201213 Oct 2012

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Cyto 2012, ISAC XXVII International Congress

Sophia Karagiannis (Chair)
Jun 2012

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

British Society for Investigative Dermatology Annual Meeting,

Sophia Karagiannis (Invited speaker)
16 Apr 201218 Apr 2012

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

10th Annual Congress Recombinant Antibodies Conference

Sophia Karagiannis (Invited speaker)
24 May 201126 May 2011

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Royal Society of Medicine event: Innate and Adaptive Immunity – New Insights and Therapeutic Approaches to Dermatological Diseases

Sophia Karagiannis (Speaker)
3 Mar 2010

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

2nd International AllergoOncology Symposium

Sophia Karagiannis (Chair)
Apr 2008

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Types of External academic engagement - Contribution to the work of national or international committees and working groups

Secretary of AllergoOncology Task Force at the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI)

Sophia Karagiannis (Treasurer)
20142016

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Contribution to the work of national or international committees and working groups

Co-founder and Committee Member of AllergoOncology International Task Force to advance knowledge on interplay between allergic/IgE responses and cancer

Sophia Karagiannis (Treasurer)
20072015

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Contribution to the work of national or international committees and working groups

Types of External academic engagement - Research and Teaching at External Organisation

QUEEN MARY'S SCHOOL OF MEDICINE & DENTISTRY. Intercalated BSc in Infection and Immunity. Lecture on Cancer Immunology: The Battle between the Immune System and Tumours.

Sophia Karagiannis (Speaker)
2009

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Research and Teaching at External Organisation

Imperial College, School of Medicine, Intercalated BSc in Respiratory Medicine, Lectures on IgE Effector Cells in Allergic Reactions

Sophia Karagiannis (Speaker)
20072010

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Research and Teaching at External Organisation

Types of External academic engagement - Membership of peer review panel or committee

Kom op tegen Kanker - The Flemish Cancer Society - Research grant application reviewer

Sophia Karagiannis (Reviewer)
2015

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Membership of peer review panel or committee

Worldwide Cancer Research (AICR) - Research grant application reviewer

Sophia Karagiannis (Reviewer)
2015

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Membership of peer review panel or committee

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) - Research grant application reviewer

Sophia Karagiannis (Reviewer)
2015

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Membership of peer review panel or committee

BBSRC - Grant application reviewer

Sophia Karagiannis (Member)
2014

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Membership of peer review panel or committee

Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research - Research grant application reviewer

Sophia Karagiannis (Reviewer)
2014

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Membership of peer review panel or committee

Children with Cancer UK - Grant application reviewer

Sophia Karagiannis (Reviewer)
2013

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Membership of peer review panel or committee

HRB - Irish Health Research Board - Research grant application reviewer

Sophia Karagiannis (Reviewer)
2013

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Membership of peer review panel or committee

Medical Research Council (MRC) - Research grant application reviewer

Sophia Karagiannis (Reviewer)
20132014

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Membership of peer review panel or committee

King's Health Partners Research & Development Challenge Fund - Research grant application reviewer

Sophia Karagiannis (Reviewer)
20122013

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Membership of peer review panel or committee

Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) - Research grant application reviewer

Sophia Karagiannis (Reviewer)
20112013

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Membership of peer review panel or committee

Italian Association for Cancer Research (A.I.R.C.) - Research grant application reviewer

Sophia Karagiannis (Reviewer)
20112015

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Membership of peer review panel or committee

Breast Cancer Campaign - Research grant application reviewer

Sophia Karagiannis (Reviewer)
2011

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Membership of peer review panel or committee

The British Skin Foundation (BSF) - Research grant application reviewer

Sophia Karagiannis (Reviewer)
20102014

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Membership of peer review panel or committee

Publication peer-review

Experimental Dermatology (Journal)

Sophia Karagiannis (Peer reviewer)
2015

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

Cancer immunology research (Journal)

Sophia Karagiannis (Peer reviewer)
2015

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

Journal of Immunology (Journal)

Sophia Karagiannis (Peer reviewer)
2015

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

Immunobiology (Journal)

Sophia Karagiannis (Peer reviewer)
2014

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

Histopathology (Journal)

Sophia Karagiannis (Peer reviewer)
20142015

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

Frontiers in Bioscience (Journal)

Sophia Karagiannis (Peer reviewer)
2014

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

MOLECULAR CANCER THERAPEUTICS (Journal)

Sophia Karagiannis (Peer reviewer)
2014

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

Mabs (Journal)

Sophia Karagiannis (Peer reviewer)
2014

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology (Journal)

Sophia Karagiannis (Peer reviewer)
2014

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

NATURE (Journal)

Sophia Karagiannis (Peer reviewer)
2014

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

Scientific Reports (Journal)

Sophia Karagiannis (Peer reviewer)
2014

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

Journal Of Translational Medicine (Journal)

Sophia Karagiannis (Peer reviewer)
2013

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

European Journal of Cancer (Journal)

Sophia Karagiannis (Peer reviewer)
2013

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

British Journal of Dermatology (Journal)

Sophia Karagiannis (Peer reviewer)
20122014

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

Journal of Clinical Immunology (Journal)

Sophia Karagiannis (Peer reviewer)
2012

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy (Journal)

Sophia Karagiannis (Peer reviewer)
20102013

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

PL o S One (Journal)

Sophia Karagiannis (Peer reviewer)
20092013

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

International Journal of Nanomedicine (Journal)

Sophia Karagiannis (Peer reviewer)
2008

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

Types of Public engagement and outreach - Work on advisory panels for social community and cultural engagement

The South East London Cancer Consumer Panel for Research SELCRP - Panel Member (Research)

Sophia Karagiannis (Member)
20132015

Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Work on advisory panels for social community and cultural engagement

Types of External academic engagement - Invited talk

Harnessing IgE to fight cancer?

Sophia Karagiannis (Speaker)
10 Feb 2015

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Invited talk

Antibody responses and cancer inflammation: new mechanisms of immune escape. Invited seminar, John Humphrey Lecture Series, Imperial College London

Sophia Karagiannis (Speaker)
23 Jan 2014

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Invited talk

Careers for women in science: translational research path and perspective of a woman scientist. Springboard Women’s Development Programme, King’s Graduate School.

Sophia Karagiannis (Speaker)
15 Nov 2013

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Invited talk

Translational path of tumour antigen-specific antibodies of the IgE class for the treatment of solid tumours. Brunel University.

Sophia Karagiannis (Speaker)
29 Jan 2013

Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Invited talk

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