Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Adam Sonabend Lab

About Us

Dr. Sonabend’s research focuses on precision medicine and its application for brain tumors. He is focused on the use of molecular analysis to personalize treatments for patients with malignant brain tumors and the delivery of these treatments directly into the brain to improve their efficacy while avoiding unnecessary side effects.  

Glioblastomas, the most common and malignant of all primary brain tumors, infiltrate the brain and are lethal. All glioblastomas undergo the same non- curative treatment, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Given that molecular characteristics are highly variable across glioblastomas, these tumors have been classified into different groups based on which genes are active. These molecular patterns and their underlying mechanisms might provide a unique tumoral vulnerability, a possibility not yet explored.

Dr. Sonabend’s lab is investigating brain tumor susceptibility to specific drugs. Topoisomerase II (TOP2) is an enzyme that is highly elevated on a subset of starting at early stages of tumor development. Interestingly, TOP2 has the ability to change the structure of the chromosomes, and by this means, regulate which genes are active. Multiple FDA-approved drugs such as etoposide can target TOP2. Yet, given by traditional routes, etoposide does not reach tumor cells of patient’s brains at sufficient levels. In preclinical studies, Dr. Sonabend and colleagues showed that direct delivery of etoposide into the tumors is highly effective at inhibiting tumor growth. Dr. Sonabend’s research lab focuses on understanding the role that TOP2 plays in the regulation of gene activation in brain tumors, and the design of a test to identify brain tumor patients that will benefit from TOP2-targeting drugs.

The Lab welcomes your questions and comments. For general feedback and inquries, please contact us for more information via our office information below.

General lab information:

Robert Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center,
Feinberg School of Medicine
Northwestern University
Rm 3-250, Lurie Building
303 E. Superior St.
Chicago, IL 60091
Phone: (312) 823-5065

Meet our Team