Russell K. Pachynski, MD

Russell K. Pachynski, MD

Tumor immunology, Leukocyte trafficking, Immunotherapy

Assistant Professor
Department of Medicine
Oncology Division
Molecular Oncology & Developmental Therapeutics

Tumor immunology, Leukocyte trafficking, Immunotherapy

Clinical Interests:

  • Prostate cancer

  • Genitourinary cancers

Research Interests:

  • Tumor immunology

  • Leukocyte trafficking

  • Immunotherapy

My lab focuses broadly on the leukocyte migration (or trafficking) in the setting of tumor immunology. More specifically, we aim to better understand the changes that occur during malignant transformation with regard to expression of chemokine and chemoattractant proteins. How these changes then affect the leukocyte trafficking and their presence in the tumor microenvironment, and how they ultimately impact tumor growth and fate is a central question we aim to study. We have been working on a novel leukocyte chemoattractant protein, chemerin. Our analysis of human microarray data has revealed the progressive downregulation of this protein during the malignant transformation in many tumors, including melanoma, breast, and prostate. Human data from our and other groups support the hypothesis that increased levels of chemerin in the tumor microenvironment result in a greater number of leukocytes in the tumors and significantly improved clinical outcomes. We have utilized mouse tumor models to show that forced re-expression of the protein locally within the tumor microenvironment can indeed augment trafficking leukocytes, and result in slowed tumor growth. Our ongoing work will continue to further define the mechanisms by which chemerin mediates its anti-tumor effect, and ultimately we hope to translate this into a first in class immunotherapeutic that could augment leukocyte trafficking to sites of tumor in humans.

Clinically, I focus on prostate and genitourinary cancers with an emphasis on immunotherapy and translational trials. My goal is to bring novel immunotherapies to patients and test combinations of these, in hopes of producing long term remissions or cures with fewer side effects and toxicities than traditional cytotoxic chemotherapies. I will be working closely with other members of CHiiPs (Center for Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Programs) on translational immunotherapy projects that bring the bench science to bedside, and back again.