George Coukos

George Coukos (born December 23, 1961) is a physician-scientist in tumor immunology, professor and director of the Ludwig Cancer Research Lausanne Branch and director of the Department of oncology UNIL-CHUV of the University of Lausanne and the Lausanne University Hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland.[1] He is known for his work on the mechanisms by which tumors suppress anti-cancer immune responses, and the role of the tumor vasculature in that suppression.[2] In addition to his work in ovarian cancer, the combinatorial immune therapies proposed by Professor Coukos have been successfully tested and approved for lung, liver and kidney cancers.[3]

George Coukos
George Coukos in 2021.jpg
BornDecember 23, 1961
Alma materUniversity of Modena, Italy

University of Patras, Greece

University of Pennsylvania, USA
Scientific career
FieldsCancer immunotherapy

Early life and educationEdit

Born and raised in Greece, George Coukos obtained his MD in 1986 at the University of Modena, Italy, and his PhD in 1991 at the University of Patras, Greece. He completed training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Modena in 1991. He then undertook a post-doctorate fellowship in cell biology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia (1991-1994) where he also completed residency training in obstetrics and gynecology (1994-1997) as well as fellowship training in Gynecologic Oncology (1997-2000).


In 2000, he became Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He became Associate Professor in 2006 and Full Professor in 2010. At the University of Pennsylvania, George Coukos founded (2007) and directed the Ovarian Cancer Research Center,[4] and served as associate director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology. In 2012, Coukos was recruited by the University of Lausanne to head up the Department of oncology UNIL-CHUV, of the Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland.[5] He was appointed director of the Lausanne branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in the same year.[6]

Major accomplishmentsEdit

  • Discovery of a spontaneous anti-tumor response in ovarian cancer, previously thought to be present only in few tumor types, such as kidney cancer or melanoma[7]
  • First to propose the notion that tumor endothelial barrier actively controls the localization of T cells in tumors,[8][9] sparking major international efforts towards the development of combinations of anti-angiogenesis drugs with immune check points in numerous solid tumors[10][11]
  • Discovery of mechanisms of immune recognition, including neoantigens, and development of rational T-cell therapy based on pursuit of neoantigens[12][13][14]
  • Discovery of the pro-angiogenic role of T regulatory cells and tumor monocytes[15][16]
  • Development of immunotherapies such as an autologous dendritic cell vaccine and adoptive T-cell therapy with vaccine-primed autologous T-cells[17][18]

Awards and honorsEdit

  • American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Foundation's Scholar[19] (2000)
  • Bristol-Myers Immunology-Oncology Young Investigator Grant, Gynecologic Cancer Foundation [20] (2001)
  • Translational Science Award, Sidney Kimmel Foundation [21] (2002)
  • Margaret Greenfield Award for Excellence in Ovarian Cancer Research, Gynecologic Cancer Foundation [20] (2005)
  • Judah Folkman Award, Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy[22] (2006)
  • Sir William Osler Award for Excellence in Patient Oriented Research, University of Pennsylvania[23] (2006)
  • Mimi Yurkow Courage Award, National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, Southern New Jersey Chapter(2007)
  • Teal Magnolias Award, National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (2008)
  • Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance [24] (2008 and 2012)
  • Angela Carlino Award, Sandy Rollman Foundation [25] (2009)
  • Rosalind Franklin Excellence in Ovarian Cancer Research Award [26] (2010)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director's Transformative Award[27] (2010)
  • Claudia Cohen Research Foundation Prize for Outstanding Gynecologic [20] (2012)
  • Advanced grant, European Research Council[28] (2013)
  • Stewart J. Rahr Foundation Prostate Cancer Foundation Challenge Award[29] (2018)
  • Helga Salvesen Award for Best Translational Research, European Society of Gynecological Oncology[30] (2019)
  • European Society of Medical Oncology Award for Translational Research[31] (2021)
  • Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher [32] (2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022)


  1. ^ "George Coukos: a temple from translational research". Cancer World Archive. 2015-01-01. Retrieved 2021-12-17.
  2. ^ "Ludwig Cancer Research". Retrieved 2021-12-17.
  3. ^ "The ESMO 2021 Award for Translational Research recognizes the work of the Department of Oncology UNIL CHUV and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Lausanne by rewarding its director, Prof. George Coukos". CHUV (in Swiss French). Retrieved 2021-12-17.
  4. ^ "Center for Research on Early Detection and Cure of Ovarian Cancer Launches at PENN Medicine". Retrieved 8 June 2022.
  5. ^ "George Coukos".
  6. ^ "Ludwig Cancer Research". Retrieved 8 June 2022.
  7. ^ Zhang, Lin; Conejo-Garcia, Jose R.; Katsaros, Dionyssios; Gimotty, Phyllis A.; Massobrio, Marco; Regnani, Giorgia; Makrigiannakis, Antonis; Gray, Heidi; Schlienger, Katia; Liebman, Michael N.; Coukos, George (2003). "Intratumoral T cells, recurrence, and survival in epithelial ovarian cancer". The New England Journal of Medicine. 348 (3): 203–213. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa020177. ISSN 1533-4406. PMID 12529460.
  8. ^ Buckanovich, Ronald J.; Facciabene, Andrea; Kim, Sarah; Benencia, Fabian; Sasaroli, Dimitra; Balint, Klara; Katsaros, Dionysios; O'Brien-Jenkins, Anne; Gimotty, Phyllis A.; Coukos, George (2008). "Endothelin B receptor mediates the endothelial barrier to T cell homing to tumors and disables immune therapy". Nature Medicine. 14 (1): 28–36. doi:10.1038/nm1699. ISSN 1546-170X. PMID 18157142. S2CID 14822376.
  9. ^ Motz, Gregory T.; Santoro, Stephen P.; Wang, Li-Ping; Garrabrant, Tom; Lastra, Ricardo R.; Hagemann, Ian S.; Lal, Priti; Feldman, Michael D.; Benencia, Fabian; Coukos, George (2014). "Tumor endothelium FasL establishes a selective immune barrier promoting tolerance in tumors". Nature Medicine. 20 (6): 607–615. doi:10.1038/nm.3541. ISSN 1546-170X. PMC 4060245. PMID 24793239.
  10. ^ Motz, Gregory T.; Coukos, George (2011-09-23). "The parallel lives of angiogenesis and immunosuppression: cancer and other tales". Nature Reviews. Immunology. 11 (10): 702–711. doi:10.1038/nri3064. ISSN 1474-1741. PMID 21941296. S2CID 28894601.
  11. ^ Motz, Greg T.; Coukos, George (2013-07-25). "Deciphering and reversing tumor immune suppression". Immunity. 39 (1): 61–73. doi:10.1016/j.immuni.2013.07.005. ISSN 1097-4180. PMC 3782392. PMID 23890064.
  12. ^ Bobisse, Sara; Genolet, Raphael; Roberti, Annalisa; Tanyi, Janos L.; Racle, Julien; Stevenson, Brian J.; Iseli, Christian; Michel, Alexandra; Le Bitoux, Marie-Aude; Guillaume, Philippe; Coukos, George (2018). "Sensitive and frequent identification of high avidity neo-epitope specific CD8+T cells in immunotherapy-naive ovarian cancer". Nature Communications. 9 (1): 1092. Bibcode:2018NatCo...9.1092B. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-03301-0. ISSN 2041-1723. PMC 5854609. PMID 29545564.
  13. ^ Chong, Chloe; Coukos, George; Bassani-Sternberg, Michal (2021-10-11). "Identification of tumor antigens with immunopeptidomics". Nature Biotechnology. 40 (2): 175–188. doi:10.1038/s41587-021-01038-8. ISSN 1546-1696. PMID 34635837. S2CID 238637137.
  14. ^ Arnaud, Marion; Chiffelle, Johanna; Genolet, Raphael; Navarro Rodrigo, Blanca; Perez, Marta A. S.; Huber, Florian; Magnin, Morgane; Nguyen-Ngoc, Tu; Guillaume, Philippe; Baumgaertner, Petra; Coukos, George (2021). "Sensitive identification of neoantigens and cognate TCRs in human solid tumors". Nature Biotechnology. 40 (5): 656–660. doi:10.1038/s41587-021-01072-6. ISSN 1546-1696. PMC 9110298. PMID 34782741.
  15. ^ Markiewski, Maciej M.; DeAngelis, Robert A.; Benencia, Fabian; Ricklin-Lichtsteiner, Salome K.; Koutoulaki, Anna; Gerard, Craig; Coukos, George; Lambris, John D. (2008). "Modulation of the antitumor immune response by complement". Nature Immunology. 9 (11): 1225–1235. doi:10.1038/ni.1655. ISSN 1529-2916. PMC 2678913. PMID 18820683.
  16. ^ Facciabene, Andrea; Peng, Xiaohui; Hagemann, Ian S.; Balint, Klara; Barchetti, Andrea; Wang, Li-Ping; Gimotty, Phyllis A.; Gilks, C. Blake; Lal, Priti; Zhang, Lin; Coukos, George (2011-07-13). "Tumour hypoxia promotes tolerance and angiogenesis via CCL28 and T(reg) cells". Nature. 475 (7355): 226–230. doi:10.1038/nature10169. ISSN 1476-4687. PMID 21753853. S2CID 785079.
  17. ^ Tanyi, Janos L.; Bobisse, Sara; Ophir, Eran; Tuyaerts, Sandra; Roberti, Annalisa; Genolet, Raphael; Baumgartner, Petra; Stevenson, Brian J.; Iseli, Christian; Dangaj, Denarda; Coukos, George (2018-04-11). "Personalized cancer vaccine effectively mobilizes antitumor T cell immunity in ovarian cancer". Science Translational Medicine. 10 (436): eaao5931. doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.aao5931. ISSN 1946-6242. PMID 29643231. S2CID 4937557.
  18. ^ Giordano-Attianese, Greta; Gainza, Pablo; Gray-Gaillard, Elise; Cribioli, Elisabetta; Shui, Sailan; Kim, Seonghoon; Kwak, Mi-Jeong; Vollers, Sabrina; Corria Osorio, Angel De Jesus; Reichenbach, Patrick; Coukos, George (2020). "A computationally designed chimeric antigen receptor provides a small-molecule safety switch for T-cell therapy". Nature Biotechnology. 38 (4): 426–432. doi:10.1038/s41587-019-0403-9. ISSN 1546-1696. PMID 32015549. S2CID 211017736.
  19. ^ "Former Scholars – American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Foundation". Retrieved 8 June 2022.
  20. ^ a b c "Research Grants and Awards History Report" (PDF). Retrieved 8 June 2022.
  21. ^ "View coukos biographical sketch - Abramson Family Cancer".
  22. ^ "Coukos". Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy. Retrieved 2021-12-17.
  23. ^ "CV - George Coukos". Retrieved 2021-12-18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  24. ^ "University of Pennsylvania".
  25. ^ "September 26, 2009 Fashion Fights Ovarian Cancer_ Sandy Rollman".
  26. ^ "OCRA National Conference Awards & Prizes".
  27. ^ "NIH Director's Transformative Research Award Program - 2010 Award Recipients". 2018-09-18. Retrieved 2021-12-17.
  28. ^ "European Research Council". Retrieved 2021-12-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  29. ^ "Challenge Awards - Class of 2018". Prostate Cancer Foundation. Retrieved 2021-12-17.
  30. ^ "Helga Salvesen Award". Twitter. Retrieved 2021-12-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  31. ^ ESMO. "ESMO Award for Translational Research". Retrieved 2021-12-17.
  32. ^ "Highly Cited Researchers".

External linksEdit