Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Wainwright Laboratory of Tumor- and Neuro-immunology

Our Mission

Our laboratory utilizes DNA sequencing, gene expression profiling, proteomic analyses, flow cytometric methodology and many other basic techniques to pursue goals that are ultimately translatable for improving health and overall survival in patients with brain cancer. Although our research is primarily focused on malignant glioma, with a special emphasis on glioblastoma, we are also interested in pursuing incurable pediatric brain tumors, as well as metastatic tumors that invade the brain/spinal cord. It is our sincere hope that, the basic mechanistic investigations that we carry out, uncover important and meaningful discoveries that translate into highly effective immunotherapeutic modalities for the benefit of patients with incurable cancer in the brain. Read more about us

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News & Events

Please join us for the 2017 Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute Symposium.

Dr. Wainwright joins world-renown pediatric brain tumor immunotherapists to discuss cutting-edge research for children with brain cancer.

Please join us Thursday, February 16th, for the Inaugural Cancer Immunology Working Group Meeting led by Drs. Sosman and Wainwright.

Congratulations Dr. Lijie Zhai, PhD, for acceptance of his manuscript, 'Non-tumor cell IDO1 predominantly contributes to enzyme activity and response to CTLA-4/PD-L1 inhibition in mouse glioblastoma'.

Please join us on Wednesday, January 18th as Dr. Wainwright presents clinical trial data for immunotherapy of primary brain tumors in Developmental Therapeutics Program Grand Rounds.

Congratulations to Drs. Kristen Lauing, PhD, and Alicia Lenzen, MD! Their hard work investigating pediatric high-grade glioma has been awarded a large grant by the Curing Kids Cancer Foundation.

Congratulations to the Wainwright Laboratory for being awarded a 2017 Dixon Translational Research Grant for research entitled 'Investigating the Immunotherapeutic Potential of Esophageal Cancer’.

Please join us at the 2016 Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer Meeting where Dr. Wainwright will present updates on the role of IDO1 in human glioblastoma.

Congratulations to Dr. Erik Ladomersky, PhD, for receiving a Postdoctoral Fellowship award from the Chicago Cancer Baseball Charities!

Congratulations Dr. Lijie Zhai for receiving the Katten Muchin Rosenman Travel Scholarship for your work on identifying IDO1 as a prognostic factor in GBM patients!

Congratulations to the Wainwright Laboratory for being awarded a Clinic and Laboratory Integration Program grant from a preeminent Cancer Immunotherapy research organization: The Cancer Research Institute (CRI)! The research is entitled ‘IDO1 in glioblastoma: Translating work from mouse to man’, and has been awarded ‘in recognition of the outstanding quality and promise of your (Wainwright Lab’s) research’.

Congratulations to Erik Ladomersky, PhD, for his work being awarded Acceleration Funds from the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center to expand his translational work using pharmaceutical-grade IDO1 inhibitors against malignant glioma!

Congratulations to Alicia Lenzen, MD, for being awarded a TL1 Multidisciplinary Training Program in Child and Adolescent Health from the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences (NUCATS) Institute. The award is for her research in developing a nanotherapeutic approach targeting immunosuppressive IDO1 for treatment of children with high grade glioma. 

Congratulations to the Wainwright Laboratory for being awarded their first R01 research grant entitled, “IDO1 and Immunotolerance in Glioblastoma”, from the NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

In collaboration with Drs. Chad Mirkin, Bin Zhang and Alex Stegh, the Wainwright Laboratory has been awarded funds through the IDP/ Sherman Fairchild Research Award to develop nanotherapy targeted at human IDO1 for treatment of glioblastoma.

Profile of Matthew Genet and his Student Research Fellowship award by the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society, for his research on the role of the protein IDO1 in human glioblastoma with the Wainwright Lab

Congratulations Lijie Zhai on being awarded 2nd Place in the 2016 Yao Yuan Biotech-Pharma Symposium for his Poster Presentation entitled, ‘Interactions between IDO1 and immune checkpoint blockade in a model of glioblastoma’

Congratulations Matthew Genet on being awarded a 2016 Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship from the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society! Matthew's research is titled 'The Role of IDO1 in Human Glioblastoma'.

Congratulations Matthew Genet on being selected as a 2016 Research Grant Program recipient by the American Medical Association!

Please attend the upcoming Microbiology-Immunology Departmental seminar on Thursday, February 11 (2:00-3:00pm) to hear updates regarding novel IDO1 functions and immunotherapeutic targeting in glioblastoma.

Please join us at the upcoming 2016 Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute CME Symposium on April 1st, 2016, between 7:15am-3:00pm.

A recent gift from Curing Kids Cancer and the Lurie Children’s Hospital pediatric neuro-oncologists, Drs. Fangusaro and Lulla, will support Kristen Lauing’s work to investigate IDO1 in human pediatric brain tumors.

The work of Derek Wainwright, PhD, 'Targeting Immunosuppression in Brain Tumors' featured in Feinberg School of Medicine News. His lab studies strategies to reverse pathways that inhibit the immune system from fighting glioblastoma.

Dr. Wainwright discusses immunotherapeutically targeting IDO1 in patients with glioblastoma at the 2015 Annual American Neurology Association Meeting.

Congratulations to Rebecca Angoyar for being awarded a Weinberg College Summer Research Grant!

Dr. Wainwright discusses the impact of being awarded the Discovery Grant from the American Brain Tumor Association

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Selected Publications

Wainwright DA, Horbinski C, Hashizume R, James CD. 2017. Therapeutic hypothesis testing with rodent brain tumor models. Neurotherapeutics. In Press.

Zhai L, Ladomersky E, Dostal CR, Lauing KL, Swoap K, Billingham LK, Gritsina G, Wu M, McCusker RH, Binder DC, Wainwright DA. 2017. Non-tumor cell IDO1 predominantly contributes to enzyme activity and response to CTLA-4/PD-L1 inhibition in mouse glioblastoma. Brain, Behavior and Immunity. In Press. PMID: 28179106

Lenzen A, Zhai L, Lauing KL, Gritsina G, Ladomersky E, Genet M, James CD, Bloch O, Wainwright DA. 2016. The kynurenine/tryptophan ratio and glioblastoma patients treated with HSPPC-96 vaccine. Immunotherapy. PMID: 27819068.

Ladomersky E, Zhai L, Gritsina G, Genet M, Lauing KL, Wu M, James CD, Wainwright DA. 2016. Advanced age negatively impacts survival in an experimental brain tumor model. Neuroscience Letters. PMID: 27493076

Ladomersky E, Genet M, Zhai L, Gritsina G, LauingKL, Lulla RR, Fangusaro J, Lenzen A, Kumthekar P, Raizer JJ, Binder DC, James CD, Wainwright DA. 2016. Improving Vaccine Efficacy Against Malignant Glioma. Oncoimmunology. PMID: 27622066

Zhai L, Spranger S, Binder DC, Gritsina G, Lauing KL, Giles FJ, Wainwright DA. 2015. Molecular pathways: targeting IDO1 and other tryptophan dioxygenases for cancer immunotherapy. Clinical Cancer Research21(24):5427-33. PMID: 26519060

Binder DC, Davis AA, Wainwright DA. 2015. Immunotherapy for cancer in the central nervous system: current and future directions. 5(2):e1082027. OncoImmunology.

Zhai L, Dey M, Lauing KL, Gritsina G, Kaur R, Lukas RV, Nicholas MK, Rademaker AW, Dostal CR, McCusker RH, Raizer JJ, Parsa AT, Bloch O, Wainwright DA. 2015. Assessing the Kynurenine to Tryptophan Ratio as a Prognostic Tool for Glioblastoma Patients Enrolling in Immunotherapy. Journal of Clinical Neuroscience. S0967-5868(15)00358-6. PMID: 26279502

Zhai L, Lauing KL, Chang AL, Dey M, Qian J, Cheng Y, Lesniak MS, Wainwright DA. 2014. The role of IDO in brain tumor immunotherapy. J Neuro-oncology. 123(3):395-403. PMID: 25519303

Wainwright DA, Chang AL, Dey M, Balyasnikova IV, Kim C, Tobias AL, Cheng Y, Kim J, Zhang L, Qiao J, Han Y, Lesniak MS. 2014. Durable therapeutic efficacy utilizing combinatorial blockade against IDO, CTLA-4 and PD-L1 in mice with brain tumors. Clinical Cancer Research. 20(20):5290-301. PMID: 24691018

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    Derek Wainwright, PhD

    Derek Wainwright, PhD
    Assistant Professor in Neurological Surgery

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