PHOENIX [October 17, 2023] – Phoenix Children’s, one of the nation’s fastest-growing pediatric health systems, continues to strengthen its focus on pediatric research with the hire of Tanya Kalin, MD, PhD, a renowned scientist focused on pioneering effective treatments for pediatric cancers with fewer negative side effects for children. Dr. Kalin also serves as vice chair of translational research for the Phoenix Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, and as a professor of Child Health at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix.
“We are bringing in another phenomenal investigator whose expertise will help us not only further understand how cancer evolves and is treated, but also how to avoid some of the long-term side effects of treatment,” said Stewart Goldman, MD, senior vice president of research for Phoenix Children’s and Sybil B. Harrington endowed chair and professor of Child Health at UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. “Dr. Kalin is going to help us advance our translational research in the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and give our trainees the opportunity to have a research experience that may launch them on a long-term academic career.”
Dr. Kalin, who assumed her new post in recent weeks, comes to Phoenix Children’s from Cincinnati Children’s, where she founded and directed her namesake Kalin Research Lab. The lab is focused on developing new therapies for metastatic lung cancers and chronic lung diseases. Two members of her lab also are moving to Phoenix Children’s to continue their research with Dr. Kalin.
The latest in a wave of high-profile research and clinical hires at Phoenix Children’s, Dr. Kalin’s appointment is part of a strategic effort to bring increased bench-to-bedside treatments to patients.
“You can feel the energy at Phoenix Children’s because the health system is growing significantly and everyone here is so dedicated to helping and healing children,” said Dr. Kalin. “All of the research I conduct is specifically designed to make a direct clinical impact on children. I’m passionate about continuing to grow research at Phoenix Children’s to help clinical fellows, medical students and Phoenix Children’s physicians provide the latest and best treatments for their current and future patients.”
Dr. Kalin’s research has largely focused on creating a non-toxic small molecule inhibitor compound that can be used to kill cancer cells. In addition, her team has developed tumor-cell-specific nanoparticles that deliver the inhibitor compound directly to cancer cells, blocking specific targeted proteins. Models have shown this approach can prevent tumor progression, metastasis and regrowth.
She has also pioneered a method of delivering protons at very high speeds to tumor tissue to kill tumor cells in a way that’s more efficient and less toxic to the healthy surrounding tissue. Protecting healthy tissue is especially important when treating cancer in children who are still growing and developing.
Dr. Kalin’s contributions to the medical and scientific communities are significant. To date, her research has been awarded more than $11.5 million in federal and grant funding. She has served as principal investigator or co-investigator on several R01 studies funded by the National Institutes of Health.
She has published more than 70 original peer-reviewed articles and is the recipient of many high-profile awards including the American Cancer Society’s Research Scholar and Supplemental Awards, the Cambridge Foundation Award for lung cancer research and the Conquer Cancer Now Award from the Concern Foundation.
With more than 20 years of experience researching tumors and immunology, Dr. Kalin earned her medical degree from Pirogov’s National Medical University in Moscow before completing post-doctoral programs in molecular biology and immunology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Research underway at Phoenix Children’s consists of more than 700 active studies, 640 research investigators and 90 research staff members including research scientists, associates, biostatisticians, pharmacists, nurses, coordinators and assistants. Scientists engage in research across multiple clinical disciplines including cancer, neurology, cardiology, pulmonology and more.