John Howard Sampson

Robert H., M.D. and Gloria Wilkins Professor of Neurosurgery, in the School of Medicine

Current research activities involve the immunotherapeutic targeting of a tumor-specific mutation in the epidermal growth factor receptor. Approaches used to target this tumor-specific epitope include unarmed and radiolabeled antibody therapy and cell mediated approaches using peptide vaccines and dendritic cells. Another area of interest involves drug delivery to brain tumors. Translational and clinical work is carried out in this area to formulate the relationship between various direct intratumoral infusion parameters and drug distribution within brain tumors and normal brain.

The Duke Brain Tumor Immunotherapy Program (BTIP) has an emphasis on translational research in Neuro-Oncology. There are two main areas of study. The first is novel mechanisms of delivery of large molecular weight molecules, such as monoclonal antibodies, throughout brain intersitial space using novel intracerebral infusion techniques developed by this laboratory. Studies exploring this technology are undertaken in both small and large laboratory animals and patients with brain tumors.

The other focus of the BTIP is translational immunotherapy. In this line of work, dendritic cell vaccination strategies and adoptive T-cell strategies have been developed to target novel and well-characterized tumor-specific antigens in patients with brain tumors. The BTIP integrates well with and works closely with the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke. The BTIP is well funded and currently holds seven NIH grants, including a SPORE in Brain Cancer grant. There are a large number of investigators at various levels so that students will get exposure to various levels of research and mentorship.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Robert H., M.D. and Gloria Wilkins Professor of Neurosurgery, in the School of Medicine
  • Professor of Neurosurgery
  • Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Professor of Pathology
  • Professor of Integrative Immunobiology
  • Professor of Radiation Oncology
  • Member of the Duke Cancer Institute

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 1293 Orange Zone, Duke South, 200 Trent Dr, Durham, NC 27710
  • Office Phone: +1 919 681 6581
  • Email Address:


  • M.D. University of Manitoba (Canada), 1990
  • Ph.D. Duke University, 1996
  • M.H.S. Duke University, School of Medicine, 2007
  • M.B.A. Duke University, 2011
  • University of Manitoba (Canada), 1989
  • Duke University, 1991
  • Duke University, 1998

Courses Taught

  • PATHOL 293: Research Independent Study
  • EGR 491: Projects in Engineering
  • EGR 393: Research Projects in Engineering
  • BME 494: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 394: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Brown, Michael C., Elena Y. Dobrikova, Mikhail I. Dobrikov, Ross W. Walton, Sarah L. Gemberling, Smita K. Nair, Annick Desjardins, et al. “Oncolytic polio virotherapy of cancer.” Cancer 120, no. 21 (November 1, 2014): 3277–86.
  • Batich, Kristen A., and John H. Sampson. “Standard of care and future pharmacological treatment options for malignant glioma: an urgent need for screening and identification of novel tumor-specific antigens.” Expert Opin Pharmacother 15, no. 14 (October 2014): 2047–61.
  • Kanaly, Charles W., Ankit I. Mehta, Dale Ding, Jenny K. Hoang, Peter G. Kranz, James E. Herndon, April Coan, et al. “A novel, reproducible, and objective method for volumetric magnetic resonance imaging assessment of enhancing glioblastoma.” J Neurosurg 121, no. 3 (September 2014): 536–42.
  • Babu, Ranjith, Steven Thomas, Matthew A. Hazzard, Allan H. Friedman, John H. Sampson, Cory Adamson, Ali R. Zomorodi, et al. “Worse outcomes for patients undergoing brain tumor and cerebrovascular procedures following the ACGME resident duty-hour restrictions.” J Neurosurg 121, no. 2 (August 2014): 262–76.
  • Nair, Smita K., Gabriel De Leon, David Boczkowski, Robert Schmittling, Weihua Xie, Janet Staats, Rebecca Liu, et al. “Recognition and killing of autologous, primary glioblastoma tumor cells by human cytomegalovirus pp65-specific cytotoxic T cells.” Clin Cancer Res 20, no. 10 (May 15, 2014): 2684–94.
  • Sampson, John H., Bryan D. Choi, Luis Sanchez-Perez, Carter M. Suryadevara, David J. Snyder, Catherine T. Flores, Robert J. Schmittling, et al. “EGFRvIII mCAR-modified T-cell therapy cures mice with established intracerebral glioma and generates host immunity against tumor-antigen loss.” Clin Cancer Res 20, no. 4 (February 15, 2014): 972–84.
  • Choi, Bryan D., Carter M. Suryadevara, Patrick C. Gedeon, James E. Herndon, Luis Sanchez-Perez, Darell D. Bigner, and John H. Sampson. “Intracerebral delivery of a third generation EGFRvIII-specific chimeric antigen receptor is efficacious against human glioma.” J Clin Neurosci 21, no. 1 (January 2014): 189–90.
  • Miao, Hongsheng, Bryan D. Choi, Carter M. Suryadevara, Luis Sanchez-Perez, Shicheng Yang, Gabriel De Leon, Elias J. Sayour, et al. “EGFRvIII-specific chimeric antigen receptor T cells migrate to and kill tumor deposits infiltrating the brain parenchyma in an invasive xenograft model of glioblastoma.” PLoS One 9, no. 4 (2014): e94281.
  • Swartz, Adam M., Qi-Jing Li, and John H. Sampson. “Rindopepimut: a promising immunotherapeutic for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme.” Immunotherapy 6, no. 6 (2014): 679–90.
  • Heimberger, Amy B., Chris A. Learn, Gary E. Archer, Roger E. McLendon, Tracy A. Chewning, Frank L. Tuck, John B. Pracyk, et al. “Brain tumors in mice are susceptible to blockade of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) with the oral, specific, EGFR-tyrosine kinase inhibitor ZD1839 (iressa).” Clin Cancer Res 8, no. 11 (November 2002): 3496–3502.
  • Asaoka, Katsuyuki, David M. Barrs, John H. Sampson, John T. McElveen, Debara L. Tucci, and Takanori Fukushima. “Intracanalicular meningioma mimicking vestibular schwannoma.” AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 23, no. 9 (October 2002): 1493–96.
  • Lal, Anita, Chad A. Glazer, Holly M. Martinson, Henry S. Friedman, Gary E. Archer, John H. Sampson, and Gregory J. Riggins. “Mutant epidermal growth factor receptor up-regulates molecular effectors of tumor invasion.” Cancer Res 62, no. 12 (June 15, 2002): 3335–39.
  • Quinn, Jennifer A., James Pluda, M Eileen Dolan, Shannon Delaney, Richard Kaplan, Jeremy N. Rich, Allan H. Friedman, et al. “Phase II trial of carmustine plus O(6)-benzylguanine for patients with nitrosourea-resistant recurrent or progressive malignant glioma.” J Clin Oncol 20, no. 9 (May 1, 2002): 2277–83.
  • Reardon, David A., Gamal Akabani, R Edward Coleman, Allan H. Friedman, Henry S. Friedman, James E. Herndon, Ilkcan Cokgor, et al. “Phase II trial of murine (131)I-labeled antitenascin monoclonal antibody 81C6 administered into surgically created resection cavities of patients with newly diagnosed malignant gliomas.” J Clin Oncol 20, no. 5 (March 1, 2002): 1389–97.
  • Wikstrand, Carol J., Vanessa R. Cole, Laura E. Crotty, John H. Sampson, and Darell D. Bigner. “Generation of anti-idiotypic reagents in the EGFRvIII tumor-associated antigen system.” Cancer Immunol Immunother 50, no. 12 (February 2002): 639–52.
  • Heimberger, Amy B., Gary E. Archer, Laura E. Crotty, Roger E. McLendon, Allan H. Friedman, Henry S. Friedman, Darell D. Bigner, and John H. Sampson. “Dendritic cells pulsed with a tumor-specific peptide induce long-lasting immunity and are effective against murine intracerebral melanoma.” Neurosurgery 50, no. 1 (January 2002): 158–64.
  • Sampson, J. H., G. E. Archer, A. T. Villavicencio, R. E. McLendon, A. H. Friedman, W. R. Bishop, D. D. Bigner, and H. S. Friedman. “Treatment of neoplastic meningitis with intrathecal temozolomide.” Clin Cancer Res 5, no. 5 (May 1999): 1183–88.
  • Sampson, J. H., J. H. Carter, A. H. Friedman, and H. F. Seigler. “Demographics, prognosis, and therapy in 702 patients with brain metastases from malignant melanoma.” J Neurosurg 88, no. 1 (January 1998): 11–20.
  • Sampson, J. H., G. E. Archer, D. M. Ashley, H. E. Fuchs, L. P. Hale, G. Dranoff, and D. D. Bigner. “Subcutaneous vaccination with irradiated, cytokine-producing tumor cells stimulates CD8+ cell-mediated immunity against tumors located in the "immunologically privileged" central nervous system.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 93, no. 19 (September 17, 1996): 10399–404.