Kenneth DeSantes, MD

Position title: Crawford Professor of Pediatric Oncology


Phone: 608-263-8563

4103 Wi Institute Medical Research
1111 Highland Ave
Madison, WI 53705

Organ System/Disease Focus
Pediatric cancer, neuroblastoma
Aligned Research Focus
Immunotherapy, NK cell therapy, Stem cell transplantation
Kenneth DeSantes headshot


More information:
Research Description:

My research is focused on the development of immunotherapeutic strategies to treat pediatric malignancies, and the development of novel therapies for neuroblastoma. I served as PI for a haploidentical transplant protocol utilizing post-transplant NK cell infusions to treat children with relapsed leukemia or solid tumors. I recently worked in collaboration with the Waisman Biomanufacturing Facility to establish the methodology required for the ex-vivo expansion and activation of allogeneic NK cells. I have developed a phase 1 clinical trial to evaluate the safety of administering ex-vivo expanded allogeneic NK cells together with the anti-GD2 hu14.18-IL2 immunocytokine following lymphodepletive chemotherapy for children with relapsed/refractory neuroblastoma. I have also helped to develop a phase I/II clinical trial evaluating a novel alpha/beta T cell depletion strategy for haploidentical transplant that utilizes Zoledronate post-transplant to activate gamma/delta T cells. I have extensive experience administering therapeutic 131I-MIBG and established UW Madison-AFCH as one of ~ 15 131I-MIBG treatment centers in the US. I am serving as co-PI for an international study exploring the use of 131I-MIBG, in combination with PD-1 blockade (using nivolumab) and an anti-GD2 mAb, to treat children with relapsed or refractory neuroblastoma. I am also the study chair for the first collaborative SU2C/St. Baldrick’s Pediatric Oncology Dream Team clinical trial utilizing MGA271, an anti-B7-H3 mAb, to treat children with relapsed or refractory B7-H3-expressing solid tumors.

Selected References:
  • Curative Potential of Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant in Type 1 Diabetes
    McCabe KE, Pollock AJ, Rehm JL, DeSantes KB. Pediatr Diabetes. 2016 Aug 30. doi: 10.1111/pedi.12430. [Epub ahead of print]
  • MY Elsaid, CM Capitini, CA Diamond, M Porte, and KB DeSantes. Successful matched unrelated donor stem cell transplant in Hemoglobin Bart’s disease. Accepted for publication in Bone Marrow Transplantation, 2016 Jun 13. doi: 10.1038/bmt.2016.153. [Epub ahead of print]
  • DeSantes, Kenneth1, MD, Mario Otto, MD/PhD1; David Delgado, MD2; Jacquelyn Hank, PhD3; Kimberly McDowell, MD/PhD3; Catherine Leith, MD4; Peiman Hematti, MD5, & Paul Sondel, MD/PhD1. “Reduced Intensity Haploidentical Transplantation with NK Cell Infusions for Pediatric AcutevLeukemia and High Risk Solid Tumors”. Presented at 4th International Conference on Immunotherapy in Pediatric Oncology in Seattle, 2015.
  • Capitini CM, Otto M, De Santes, KB., Sondel PM. Immunotherapy in pediatric malignancies: current status and future perspectives. Future Oncol. 10(9): 1659-1678, 2014.
  •  De Santes, K., Lai, S., and Cowan, M. Haploidentical bone marrow transplantation for patients with reticular dysgensis. Bone Marrow Transplantation 17:1171-1173, 1996