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Dr Sophia Karagiannis

Dr Sophia Karagiannis

SophiaKaragiannisReader in Translational Cancer Immunology, Head of Cancer Antibody Discovery and Immunotherapy


Start date at Kings: 1/07/03




Contact details:

9th Floor

Guys Tower Wing





Skin Science/ St John’s Institute of Dermatology 

Research Summary

Our main research interests are focused on designing antibody therapies for solid tumours such as melanoma, ovarian and breast carcinomas. Our antibody discovery pathway is informed through dissecting humoral immune responses to solid tumours as well as investigating the tumour-targeting mechanisms of IgE class antibodies and Th2 responses in cancer. Patient-derived antibodies and B cell responses are examined as potential biomarkers, with a view of developing stratified medicine approaches and patient-focused treatments. We are presently developing a pipeline of antibodies and our first-in-class agent has reached a Phase I clinical trial.

Biographical details

Dr. Sophia Karagiannis is a Reader in translational cancer immunology, and heads a cancer antibody discovery group focused on designing novel treatments for skin, ovarian and breast carcinomas. BA and MS degrees were gained at Rutgers University, USA, under a number of scholarship awards and a teaching assistantship (1987, 1991). She gained a PhD at King’s College London in Biochemistry under SERC and SmithKline Beecham-funded scholarships (1995). She has initiated and developed immunotherapy strategies for cancer and inflammatory diseases and led functional and toxicological studies for biological drug development and clinical trial programmes in academic and biotechnology environments in London and Cambridge as a postdoctoral associate and scientific investigator; she was appointed as NIHR/BRC Senior Research Fellow in 2007.

The Karagiannis group is presently focused on dissecting humoral immunity in cancer, elucidating the tumour-targeting and immune effector cell activating mechanisms of IgE and IgG antibodies against cancer antigens and developing a pipeline of antibodies with improved ability to destroy tissue cancers and as diagnostic tools. Sophia co-founded and presently co-chairs the International Task Force on AllergoOncology (a recognised Task Force under the auspices of the European Academy for Allergy and Clinical Immunology since 2014). She has pioneered IgE therapeutics for solid tumours. Her group is undertaking a key research, development and clinical translation initiative on the first IgE class antibody for cancer therapy conducted in close collaboration with clinical and academic groups at King's College London (J Spicer, H Gould, C Corrigan) and the CR-UK Centre for Drug Development. 

Editorial Board Activity

PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, Editorial board member (2011 – present)

Oncology Reports, Editorial board member (2014 – present)

BMC Cancer, Editorial board member (2015 – present) 

Academic qualifications

1995: Doctor of Philosophy, King's College London, The process of endocytosis of CD23

1991: Master of Science, Rutgers University, NJ, USA, Selective chemical modification of Aequorea green-fluorescent protein

1987: Bachelor of Arts, Douglass College, Rutgers University, NJ, USA

Professional qualifications

2008: Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice (KCL), PGCAP

Grant Support:

Our research has been supported through project and programme grants 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, Breast Cancer Now, the Academy of Medical Sciences and the British Skin Foundation.

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