Debinski Laboratory

Waldemar Debinski

Ph.D. in Experimental Medicine, McGill University, 1989
M.D. Warsaw Medical School, Warsaw, 1981
B.S. 2nd Royal Gymnasium Stefan Batory, Warsaw 1975

e-mail: debinski@wakehealth.edu
phone: (336) 713-7634

“My duty as a graduate student mentor is to present in clear terms a subject of investigations to be undertaken. I then feel obliged to teach the art that is needed to develop the science project, and to make realize what can and what cannot be learned using variety of experimental approaches. I value independent thoughts and critically oriented minds, so the work is continuously scientifically scrutinized. We work as a team and underline the value of collaborative interactions. I expect serious commitment and dedication to research as a prerequisite to successful training.”

Research Interests

The main goal of my laboratory is to advance research in the areas of unmet needs in medicine; a majority of primary brain tumors represents such needs. Our focus is on the identification of molecular markers/targets that are specific to brain tumors and are pharmaceutically tractable. We have identified several markers/targets that are present in a majority of patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a brain tumor of dismal prognosis, but virtually absent in normal organs. One of theses markers/targets is IL13R-alpha-2, a restricted receptor for an immune regulatory cytokine, interleukin 13 (IL13). Interestingly, it is a cancer/testes-like tumor antigen. IL13R-alpha-2 is currently used, pre-clinically and clinically, in a variety of immunotherapy and gene therapy approaches. For example, the first generation of our IL13-based cytotoxins, recombinant proteins containing bacterial toxins that kill specifically cancer cells expressing IL13 receptors, is in Phase III clinical trials worldwide. IL13R-alpha-2 is a target for producing vaccines against GBM and a genetically modified IL13 is used in adoptive immunotherapy trials. We have also documented over-expression and an increased activity of a subset of specific transcription factors, which may play a crucial role in GBM progression. Coincidentally, these transcription factors appear to be good targets for the development of vaccines against cancer. New immunotherapeutic strategies are being developed based on all these findings in order to improve significantly the outcome of patients with brain tumors.

Quick Reference

Telephone 336-716-6142

Microbiology & Immunology
Wake Forest School of Medicine
Medical Center Boulevard
Winston-Salem, NC 27157
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Last Updated: 07-10-2014
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