Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
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.
The primary goal of our research is to analyze the immune response in human brain tumors, as well as syngeneic and humanized mouse brain tumor models, with the intent to develop and evaluate novel immunotherapeutic strategies for malignant brain cancer. We aim to: 1) discover new targets that increase immunosuppression, 2) develop new drugs that inhibit immunosuppression, 3) and test novel treatment strategies for clinical translation into human patients with malignant glioma. Current Projects-Dissect the multiple roles of immunosuppressive indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase 1 (IDO) in glioblastoma (GBM)-Determine how advanced age suppresses the effectiveness of immunotherapy for treatment of GBM-Investigate the psychosocial aspects of stress, anxiety and/or depression on the suppression of immunotherapeutic efficacy for GBM.-Characterize the gut microbiota of GBM patients, before and after treatment with immunotherapy
Exploration of IDO1 as a Therapeutic Target in Pediatric Central Nervous System Tumors
Recent work points to the enzyme IDO1 as a high value target for the treatment of adult glioma. Researchers will analyze samples provided by the Children’s Brain Tumor Network to determine whether IDO1 could serve as a therapeutic target for pediatric brain tumors as well.
Medulloblastoma, HGG, LGG, Ependymoma, DIPG
Rishi Ramesh Lulla
Immunotherapeutically-targeting IDO1 in Pediatric High-grade Glioma
Research into adult glioblastoma has revealed a relationship between heightened levels of enzymes that suppress the immune system and a lowered survival rate. Researchers are using the Pediatric Brain Tumor Atlas to explore this relationship in pediatric high-grade pediatric brain cancer.