Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Wainwright Laboratory of Brain Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy

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

Dr. Wainwright organizes the T32 Carcinogenesis training grant-sponsored Tumor Immunology Nanosymposium

Congratulations to Dr. Lijie Zhai, PhD, for being selected to give an Oral Presentation for the 2018 Cancer Biology Retreat at The University of Chicago Gleacher Center

Dr. Erik Ladomersky receives second year of T32 support on Signal Transduction in Cancer training grant!

DGP Graduate student April Bell received T32 support from the Carcinogenesis training grant!

Dr. Lijie Zhai receives travel award from Cancer Immunotherapy Fellowship Program!

2nd year Feinberg Medical Student, Sebastian Otto-Meyer receives AOSC Travel award!

Dr. Erik Ladomersky invited to give 2 oral talks at 2018 Society for Neuro-Oncology meeting!

8 abstracts were submitted and ACCEPTED for presentation at 2018 Society for Neuro-Oncology meeting!

Dr. Erik Ladomersky invited to give 2 oral talks at 2018 Society for Neuro-Oncology meeting!

Dr. Wainwright Co-Chairs 2018 American Brain Tumor Association meeting.

Congratulations 1st year medical student, Sebastian Otto-Meyer, for receiving a Summer Research Fellowship from Feinberg School of Medicine!

Dr. Lijie Zhai, PhD, is trail-blazing in the tumor immunobiology of IDO1! See his Poster presented at the 2018 AACR meeting here.

Congratulations to Rohan Savoor in our lab for being accepted into the Honors Program in Medical Education (HPME) Undergraduate Summer Research Program at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine!

View the presentation Dr. Wainwright delivered at the 2018 Lou and Jean Malnati Brain Tumor Symposium at Northwestern University.

Re-watch Dr. Wainwright’s Discussant presentation at the 2018 AACR Annual Meeting on pediatric high-grade glioma patients treated with indoximod.

Congratulations to Dr. Erik Ladomersky, PhD, for being selected to give an oral talk at the 23rd Neuro-Tumor Club Meeting during AACR!!!

Register here to learn more about the role of old age, old immune systems and glioblastoma patient diagnoses.

Re-watch Dr. Wainwright’s oral presentation on immunosuppression in brain cancer from the 2017 SNO Meeting here.

Congratulations to Dr. Erik Ladomersky, PhD, for his new manuscript in Clinical Cancer Research that supports the soon-to-open Phase I/IIa clinical trial in glioblastoma patients at Northwestern Medicine!

Please join us for the 2018 Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute Symposium.

Dr. Wainwright participated in an expert session on immunotherapy for glioblastoma

Congratulations, Lijie, on your manuscript accepted by Cellular and Molecular Immunology entitled, ‘IDO1 in cancer: a Gemini of immune checkpoints’

Congratulations to Dr. Alicia Lenzen, MD, for receiving the Second Year Fellow Translational Research Award at the 13th Annual Children's Hospital Research Day!!

Dr. Wainwright joins international leaders in immunotherapy for cancer in an Expert Round Table Discussion.

Congratulations to Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Erik Ladomersky, PhD, who was invited to speak in the 2017 Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center Research Symposium!!

Please join Dr. Wainwright at the 5th Annual Immuno-Oncology Summit August 31st at 11:45am as he presents updates on IDO1 therapy for brain cancer.

Congratulations to Dr. Erik Ladomersky, PhD, for being awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship on the T32 Signal Transduction and Cancer training grant!!

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.

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Selected Publications

Zhai L, Ladomersky E, Lauing KL, Wu M, Scholtens DM, Savoor R, Zhang B, Wu JD, Horbinski C, Lukas RV, Binder DC, Wainwright DA. 2018. Commentary: preclinical efficacy of immune checkpoint monotherapy does not recapitulate corresponding biomarkers-based clinical predictions in glioblastoma by Garg et al. (2017). Oncoimmunology. In Press.

Binder DC, Ladomersky E, Lenzen A, Zhai L, Lauing KL, Otto-Meyer SD, Lukas RV, Wainwright DA. 2018. Lessons learned from rindopepimut treatment in patients with EGFRvIII-expressing glioblastoma. Translational Cancer Research. 7(Suppl 4):S510-S513. PMID: 30283731.

Ladomersky E, Zhai L, Lenzen A, Lauing KL, Qian J, Scholtens DM, Gritsina G, Sun X, Liu Y, Yu F, Gong W, Liu Y, Jiang B, Tang Z, Patel R, Platanias LC, James CD, Stupp R, Lukas RV, Binder DC, Wainwright DA. 2018. IDO1 inhibition synergizes with radiation and PD-1 blockade to durably increase survival against advanced glioblastoma. Clinical Cancer Research. In Press. PMID: 29500275

Zhai L, Ladomersky E, Lenzen A, Nguyen B, Patel R, Lauing KL, We M, Wainwright DA. 2018. IDO1 in cancer: a Gemini of immune checkpoints. Cellular and Molecular Immunology. 15:1-11.

Zhai L, Ladomersky E, Lauing KL, Wu M, Genet M, Gritsina G, GyorffyB, Brastianos PK, Binder DC, Sosman JA, Giles FJ, James CD, Horbinski C, Stupp R, Wainwright DA. Infiltrating T cells increase IDO1 expression in glioblastoma and contribute to decreased patient survival. Clinical Cancer Research. 23(21):6650-6660. PMID: 28751450

Binder DC, Wainwright DA. 2017.The Boosting Potential of Bacteria in Cancer Immunotherapy.Trends in MolecularMedicine. Jul;23(7):580-582.
PMID: 28583420

Young J, Chmura SJ, Wainwright DA, Yamini B, Peters KB, Lukas R. Management of glioblastoma in elderly patients. Journal of Neurological Sciences. In Press. Accepted on 7-30-17

Wainwright DA, Horbinski C, Hashizume R, James CD. 2017. Therapeutic hypothesis testing with rodent brain tumor models. Neurotherapeutics. Apr;14(2):385-392. PMID: 28321824

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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