Maciej S. Lesniak, MD

Professor of Surgery
Director, Neurosurgical Oncology and Neuro-Oncology Research Laboratories
The University of Chicago
Neurosurgery, MC 3026
5841 S. Maryland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
Tel: (773) 834-4757
Fax: (773) 834-2608


B.A.: Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
M.D.: Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Internship: Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD General Surgery
Residency: Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD Neurosurgery
Fellowship: Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD Neurosurgical Oncology and Immunology



Lesniak Group Links

Clinical Interests
Complete Bibliography
Brain Tumor Center
Lab Personnel
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Novel Therapeutic Approaches for Malignant Brain Tumors: Gene Therapy, Immunotherapy, Stem Cells and Nanotechnology

Overview: As a neurosurgeon specializing in the field of neuro-oncology, my academic interests focus on the treatment of malignant gliomas. Malignant gliomas, especially glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), represent the most common primary malignant tumors of the adult central nervous system. The natural history of patients with GBM has intensified research in the area of drug discovery and drug delivery to the central nervous system. Conventional therapy for glioblastoma consists primarily of surgical debulking followed by radiation therapy. A multi-modal therapy consisting of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy prolongs survival though only about 26% of patients remain alive at two years.

Given the poor prognosis of patients with malignant glioma, new and innovative approaches are urgently needed to make an impact on this devastating disease. To that end, my research has focused on three areas, with the ultimate aim of conducting translational studies in patients with malignant brain tumors. Each of these three areas (gene therapy, immunotherapy and nanotechnology) is discussed below and aims to develop new therapies that target tumor cells and spare normal and healthy brain cells.(read more)


Selected Publications

Paul CP, Everts M, Dent P, Fisher PB, Ulasov IV, Lesniak MS, Stoff-Khalili MA, Roth JC, Glasgow JN, Preuss MA, Dirven CM, Lamfers ML, Siegal GP, Zhu ZB, and Curiel DT. Characterization of infectivity of knob-modified adenoviral vectors in glioma. Cancer Biol Ther 7(5):786-93, 2008. (PubMed)

Sonabend AM, Velicu S, Ulasov IV, Han Y, Tyler B, Brem H, Matar MM, Fewell JG, Anwer K, and Lesniak MS. A safety and efficacy study of local delivery of IL-12 transgene by PPC polymer in a model of experimental glioma. Anticancer Drugs 19(2): 133-142, 2008. (PubMed)

Sonabend AM, Ulasov IV, Rivera AA, Mathis JM, and Lesniak MS. Mesenchymal stem effectively deliver an oncolytic adenoviruses to malignant gliomas. Stem Cells, 26(3): 831-841, 2008. (PubMed)

El Andaloussi A, Han Y, and Lesniak MS. Progression of intracranial glioma disrupts thymic homeostasis and induces T cell apoptosis in vivo. Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy 57(12):1807-16, 2008. (PubMed)

Tyler MA, Sonabend AM, Ulasov IV, and Lesniak MS. Vector therapies for malignant glioma: Shifting the clinical paradigm. Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery 5(4):445-58, 2008. (PubMed)

Sonabend AM, Rolle C, Lesniak MS. The role of regulatory T cells in malignant glioma. Anticancer Research, 28:1143-1150, 2008. (PubMed)

Nandi S, Ulasov IV, Zeng ZB, and Lesniak MS. Low-dose radiation enhances survivin mediated adenoviral virotherapy against malignant glioma stem cells. Cancer Research 68:5778-84, 2008. (PubMed)

Ulasov IV, Tyler M, Rivera AA, Nettelbeck DM, and Lesniak MS. Evaluation of E1A double mutant oncolytic adenovector in antiglioma gene therapy. J Medical Virology 80:1595-1603, 2008. (PubMed)

Gui H, Ping M, Carew JD, Lesniak MS, and Arfanakis K. A tractography comparison between turboprop and spin-echo planar diffusion tensor imaging. NeuroImage 42(4):1451-62, 2008. (PubMed)

Sonabend AM, Ulasov IV, Han Y, Rolle C, Nandi S, Cao D, Tyler M, and Lesniak MS. Biodistribution of an oncolytic adenovirus after intracranial injection in permissive animals: a comparative study of Syrian hamsters and Cotton rats. Cancer Gene Therapy, 16(4):362-72, 2009. (PubMed)

Tyler MA, Ulasov IV, Sonabend AM, Nandi S, Marler S, Roth J, and Lesniak MS. Neural stem cells target intracranial glioma to deliver an oncolytic adenovirus in vivo. Gene Therapy, 16(2):262-278, 2009. (PubMed)

Mercer R, Tyler MA, Ulasov IV, and Lesniak MS. Targeted therapies for malignant glioma: progress and potential. BioDrugs, 23(1):23-35, 2009. (PubMed)

Ulasov IV, Sonabend AM, Nandi S, Khramtsov A, Han Y, and Lesniak MS. Combination of adenoviral virotherapy and temozolomide chemotherapy eradicates malignant glioma via autophagic and apoptotic cell death in vivo. Br J Cancer, 100(7):1154-64, 2009.

Sugihara QA, Rolle CE, and Lesniak MS. Regulatory T cell actively infiltrate metastatic brain tumors. Int J Oncology 34: 1533,1540, 2009. (PubMed)

Rozhkova E, Ulasov IV, Lai B, Nandi S, Dimitrijevic N, Zhang L, Rajh T, and Lesniak MS. Bio-Nano-Light Integration: A new therapeutic strategy for malignant brain cancer. NanoLetters 9:3337-42, 2009.

Ulasov IV, Tyler MA, Zhu ZB, Han Y, He TC, and Lesniak MS. Oncolytic adenoviral vectors which employ the survivin promoter induce glioma oncolysis via a process of beclin-dependent autophagy rather than cellular apoptosis. Int J Oncol 34(3): 729-742, 2009. (PubMed)

Dey M, Ulasov IV, and Lesniak MS. Virotherapy against malignant glioma stem cells. Cancer Letters, 289(1): 1-10, 2010. (PubMed)

Nandi S, and Lesniak MS. Adenoviral virotherapy for malignant brain tumors. Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy, 9(6): 737-47, 2009. (PubMed)

Ferguson SD, Musleh W, Gurbuxani S, Shafizadeh SF, and Lesniak MS. Intracranial MALT lymphoma: J Clinic Neuroscience. 17(5):666-9, 2010. (PubMed)

Nandi S, Ulasov IV, Rolle CE, Han Y, and Lesniak MS. A chimeric adenovirus with an Ad3 fiber knob modification augments glioma virotherapy. J Gene Medicine, 11:1005-11, 2009. (PubMed)

Kranzler J, Tyler MA, Sonabend AM, Ulasov IV, and Lesniak MS. Stem cells as delivery vehicles for oncolytic adenoviral virotherapy. Current Gene Therapy, 9:389-95, 2009. (PubMed)

Tyler MA, Ulasov IV, and Lesniak MS. Cancer Cell Death by Design: Apoptosis, Autophagy, and Glioma Virotherapy. Autophagy, 5:856-7, 2009. (Cover Article) (PubMed)

Rolle C, Sengupta S, and Lesniak MS. Challenges in clinical design of immunotherapy trials for malignant glioma. Neurosurg Clin N Am, 21:201-214, 2010. (PubMed)

Balyasnikova IV, Franco-Gou I, Mathis MJ, and Lesniak MS. Genetic modification of mesenchymal stem cells to express single-chain antibody against EGFRvIII on the cell surface. Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine 4(4):247-58, 2010. (PubMed)

Kim DH, Rozhkova EA, Ulasov IV, Bader SD, Rajh T, Lesniak, MS, and Novosad V. Biofunctionalized magnetic-vortex microdiscs for targeted cancer-cell destruction. Nature Materials, 9(2):165-71, 2010. (Cover article) (PubMed)

Hughey A, Lesniak MS, Ansari S, and Roth S. What will anesthesiologist be anesthetizing? Trends in neurosurgical procedure usage. Anesthesia and Analgesia 110(6):1686-97, 2010. (PubMed)

Yacoub A, Hamed H, Allegood J, Mitchell C, Spiegel S, Lesniak MS, Ogretmen B, Dash R, Sarkar D, Broaddus W, Grant S, Curiel DT, Fisher PB, and Dent P. PERK- dependent regulation of ceramide synthase 6 and thioredoxin play a key role in mda-7/IL-24 induced killing of primary human glioblastoma multiforme cells. Cancer Research, 70(3):1120-9, 2010. (PubMed)

Dey M, Ulasov IV, Tyler MA, Sonabend AM, and Lesniak MS. Cancer stem cells: The final frontier for glioma virotherapy. Stem Cell Rev. March 18, 2010 [Epub Ahead of Print] (PubMed)

Ferguson SD, Ahmed A, Thaci B, Mercer R, and Lesniak MS. Crossing the boundaries: the stems cells and gene therapy. Discovery Medicine, 9(46):192-6, 2010. (PubMed)

Hamed HA, Yacoub A, Park MA, Eulitt PJ, Dash R, Sarkar D, Dmitriev IP, Lesniak MS, Shah K, Grant S, Curiel DT, Fisher PB, Dent P. Inhibition of multiple protective signaling pathways and Ad5/3 delivery enhances mda-7/IL-24 therapy of malignant glioma. Molecular Therapy 18(6):1130-42, 2010. (PubMed)

Ahmed A, Alexiades NG, and Lesniak MS. The use of neural stem cells in cancer gene therapy: predicting the path to the clinic. Curr Opin Mol ther, 12(5):546-52, 2010. (PubMed)

Dent P, Yacoub A, Hamed HA, Park MA, Dash R, Bhutia SK, Sarkar D, Wang XY, Gupta P, Emdad L, Lebedeva IV, Sauane M, Su ZZ, Rahmani M, Broaddus WC, Young HF, Lesniak MS, Grant S, Curiel DT, and Fisher PB. The development of MDA-7/IL-24 as a cancer therapeutic. Pharmacol Ther, 128(2):375-84, 2010. (PubMed)

Dent P, Yacoub A, Hamed HA, Park MA, Dash R, Bhutia SK, Sarkar D, Wang XY, Gupta P, Emdad L, Lebedeva IV, Sauane M, Su ZZ, Rahmani M, Broaddus WC, Young HF, Lesniak MS, Grant S, Curiel DT, and Fisher PB. The development of MDA-7/IL-24 as a cancer therapeutic. Pharmacol Ther, 128(2):375-84, 2010.

Ahmed A, Rolle CE, Tyler MA, Han Y, Sengupta S, Wainwright DA, Balyasnikova IV, Ulasov IV, and Lesniak MS. Bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells loaded with an oncolytic adenovirus suppress the anti-viral immune response in the permissive cotton rat model. Molecular Therapy, 18(10):1846-56, 2010. (PubMed)

Balyasnikova IV, Ferguson SD, Han Y, and Lesniak MS. Mesenchymal stem cells genetically modified with a single-chain antibody against EGFRvIII successfully inhibit the growth of EGFRvIII expressing malignant gliomas. PLoS ONE, 5(3):e9750, 2010. (PubMed)

Ulasov IV, Nandi S, Dey M, Sonabend AM, and Lesniak MS. Inhibition of Sonic hedgehog and Notch pathways enhances sensitivity of CD133+ glioma stem cells to temozolomide therapy. Molecular Medicine. 2010 Oct 15 [Epub Ahead of Print] (PubMed)

Sengupta S, Nandi S, Wainwright DA, Han Y, Hindi ES, and Lesniak MS. Fibronectin promotes glioblastoma progression via Src-kinase and STAT-3 mediated survivin expression and regulatory T cell infiltration. Neoplasia 12(10):837-47, 2010.

Wainwright DA, Sengupta S, Han Y, and Lesniak MS. The presence of IL-17A and T helper 17 cells in experimental mouse brain tumors and human glioma. PLoS One. 2010 October 25 [Epub Ahead of Print] (PubMed)


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