John Yu, MD

Vice Chair for Neurosurgical Oncology, Neurosurgery

Director, Surgical Neuro-Oncology

Neurosurgical Director, Gamma Knife
Phone:(310) 423-0845
Fax:(310) 423-0810

Academic Appointments

Professor, Neurosurgery

Research Focus

The NIH-funded lab is focused on novel cellular therapies for brain tumors and other neurological disorders using neural stem cells and immunotherapeutic modalities. The lab has a major emphasis in the development of neural stem cells from bone marrow to treat brain tumors and neurodegenerative disorders. Nanomolecules for the delivery of cytotoxic agents to brain tumors are also being investigated.

Research Contributions

The lab has made contributions in the field of cancer stem cells in the cause of brain tumors. Recent observations have demonstrated that these cancer stem cells are chemoresistant and may be the major reason for the recurrence of these deadly tumors. Several antigen targets have been identified on glioma cells, including a T cell epitope on glioblastoma cancer stem cells. Have identified and patented a method to isolate neural stem cells from whole bone marrow and are using this technique to develop novel therapies for brain tumors and neurodegenerative diseases.

Current investigations include:

Neural stem cells have the ability to track tumor cells and areas of neurodegeneration. This property will be exploited to use neural stem cells as delivery vehicles for tumoricidal or neuroprotective agents. Actively developing a clinical protocol using neural stem cells derived from bone marrow. The lab also has a major clinical and translational effort in dendritic cell immunotherapy for glioma, specifically targeting cancer stem cells. Nanomolecules for the delivery of therapeutic agents such as neuroprotective agents and tumor cytotoxic agents are being developed.

Selected Publications

  1. Wheeler CJ, Black KL, Liu G, Mazer M, Zhang XX, Pepkowitz S, Goldfinger D, Ng H, Irvin D, Yu JS: Vaccination elicits correlated immune and clinical responses in glioblastoma multiforme patients. Cancer Res., 68(14): 5955-64, 2008
  2. Ghods AJ, Irvin D, Liu G, Yuan X, Abdulkadir IR, Tunici P, Konda B, Wachsmann-Hogiu S, Black KL, Yu JS: Spheres isolated from 9L gliosarcoma rat cell line possess chemoresistant and aggressive cancer stem-like cells. Stem Cells, 25(7): 1645-53, 2007
  3. Zeng Z, Yuan X, Liu G, Zeng X, Zeng X, Ng H, Chen H, Jiang T, Akasaki Y, Kessey K, Black KL, Yu JS: Manipulation of proliferation and differentiation of human bone marrow-derived neural stem cells in vitro and in vivo. J. Neurosci. Res., 85(2): 310-20, 2007
  4. Hu J, Yuan X, Belladonna ML, Ong JM, Wachsmann-Hogiu S, Farkas DL, Black KL, Yu JS: Induction of potent antitumor immunity by intratumoral injection of interleukin 23-transduced dendritic cells. Cancer Res., 66(17): 8887-96, 2006
  5. Yuan X, Hu J, Belladonna ML, Black KL, Yu JS: Interleukin-23-expressing bone marrow-derived neural stem-like cells exhibit antitumor activity against intracranial glioma. Cancer Res., 66(5): 2630-8, 2006
  6. Akasaki Y, Liu G, Matundan HH, Ng H, Yuan X, Zeng Z, Black KL, Yu JS: A peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma agonist, troglitazone, facilitates caspase-8 and -9 activities by increasing the enzymatic activity of protein-tyrosine phosphatase-1B on human glioma cells. J. Biol. Chem., 281(10): 6165-74, 2005

Lab Information

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