John Howard Sampson

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 of Biomedical Engineering
  • Professor of Integrative Immunobiology
  • Professor of Radiation Oncology
  • Professor of Pathology
  • Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Member of the Duke Cancer Institute

Contact Information

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


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

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Member. National Academy of Medicine. 2017

Courses Taught

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

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Brown, MC; Dobrikova, EY; Dobrikov, MI; Walton, RW; Gemberling, SL; Nair, SK; Desjardins, A; Sampson, JH; Friedman, HS; Friedman, AH; Tyler, DS; Bigner, DD; Gromeier, M, Oncolytic polio virotherapy of cancer., Cancer, vol 120 no. 21 (2014), pp. 3277-3286 [10.1002/cncr.28862] [abs].
  • Batich, KA; Sampson, JH, 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, vol 15 no. 14 (2014), pp. 2047-2061 [10.1517/14656566.2014.947266] [abs].
  • Kanaly, CW; Mehta, AI; Ding, D; Hoang, JK; Kranz, PG; Herndon, JE; Coan, A; Crocker, I; Waller, AF; Friedman, AH; Reardon, DA; Sampson, JH, A novel, reproducible, and objective method for volumetric magnetic resonance imaging assessment of enhancing glioblastoma., J Neurosurg, vol 121 no. 3 (2014), pp. 536-542 [10.3171/2014.4.JNS121952] [abs].
  • Babu, R; Thomas, S; Hazzard, MA; Friedman, AH; Sampson, JH; Adamson, C; Zomorodi, AR; Haglund, MM; Patil, CG; Boakye, M; Lad, SP, Worse outcomes for patients undergoing brain tumor and cerebrovascular procedures following the ACGME resident duty-hour restrictions., J Neurosurg, vol 121 no. 2 (2014), pp. 262-276 [10.3171/2014.5.JNS1314] [abs].
  • Nair, SK; De Leon, G; Boczkowski, D; Schmittling, R; Xie, W; Staats, J; Liu, R; Johnson, LA; Weinhold, K; Archer, GE; Sampson, JH; Mitchell, DA, Recognition and killing of autologous, primary glioblastoma tumor cells by human cytomegalovirus pp65-specific cytotoxic T cells., Clinical Cancer Research, vol 20 no. 10 (2014), pp. 2684-2694 [10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-3268] [abs].
  • Sampson, JH; Choi, BD; Sanchez-Perez, L; Suryadevara, CM; Snyder, DJ; Flores, CT; Schmittling, RJ; Nair, SK; Reap, EA; Norberg, PK; Herndon, JE; Kuan, C-T; Morgan, RA; Rosenberg, SA; Johnson, LA, EGFRvIII mCAR-modified T-cell therapy cures mice with established intracerebral glioma and generates host immunity against tumor-antigen loss., Clinical Cancer Research, vol 20 no. 4 (2014), pp. 972-984 [10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-0709] [abs].
  • Choi, BD; Suryadevara, CM; Gedeon, PC; Herndon, JE; Sanchez-Perez, L; Bigner, DD; Sampson, JH, Intracerebral delivery of a third generation EGFRvIII-specific chimeric antigen receptor is efficacious against human glioma., J Clin Neurosci, vol 21 no. 1 (2014), pp. 189-190 [10.1016/j.jocn.2013.03.012] [abs].
  • Miao, H; Choi, BD; Suryadevara, CM; Sanchez-Perez, L; Yang, S; De Leon, G; Sayour, EJ; McLendon, R; Herndon, JE; Healy, P; Archer, GE; Bigner, DD; Johnson, LA; Sampson, JH, 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, vol 9 no. 4 (2014) [10.1371/journal.pone.0094281] [abs].
  • Swartz, AM; Li, Q-J; Sampson, JH, Rindopepimut: a promising immunotherapeutic for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme., Immunotherapy, vol 6 no. 6 (2014), pp. 679-690 [10.2217/imt.14.21] [abs].
  • Heimberger, AB; Learn, CA; Archer, GE; McLendon, RE; Chewning, TA; Tuck, FL; Pracyk, JB; Friedman, AH; Friedman, HS; Bigner, DD; Sampson, JH, Brain tumors in mice are susceptible to blockade of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) with the oral, specific, EGFR-tyrosine kinase inhibitor ZD1839 (iressa)., Clinical Cancer Research : an Official Journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, vol 8 no. 11 (2002), pp. 3496-3502 [abs].
  • Asaoka, K; Barrs, DM; Sampson, JH; McElveen, JT; Tucci, DL; Fukushima, T, Intracanalicular meningioma mimicking vestibular schwannoma., Ajnr. American Journal of Neuroradiology, vol 23 no. 9 (2002), pp. 1493-1496 [abs].
  • Lal, A; Glazer, CA; Martinson, HM; Friedman, HS; Archer, GE; Sampson, JH; Riggins, GJ, Mutant epidermal growth factor receptor up-regulates molecular effectors of tumor invasion., Cancer Research, vol 62 no. 12 (2002), pp. 3335-3339 [abs].
  • Quinn, JA; Pluda, J; Dolan, ME; Delaney, S; Kaplan, R; Rich, JN; Friedman, AH; Reardon, DA; Sampson, JH; Colvin, OM; Haglund, MM; Pegg, AE; Moschel, RC; McLendon, RE; Provenzale, JM; Gururangan, S; Tourt-Uhlig, S; Herndon, JE; Bigner, DD; Friedman, HS, Phase II trial of carmustine plus O(6)-benzylguanine for patients with nitrosourea-resistant recurrent or progressive malignant glioma., Journal of Clinical Oncology : Official Journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, vol 20 no. 9 (2002), pp. 2277-2283 [10.1200/JCO.2002.09.084] [abs].
  • Reardon, DA; Akabani, G; Coleman, RE; Friedman, AH; Friedman, HS; Herndon, JE; Cokgor, I; McLendon, RE; Pegram, CN; Provenzale, JM; Quinn, JA; Rich, JN; Regalado, LV; Sampson, JH; Shafman, TD; Wikstrand, CJ; Wong, TZ; Zhao, X-G; Zalutsky, MR; Bigner, DD, 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., Journal of Clinical Oncology : Official Journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, vol 20 no. 5 (2002), pp. 1389-1397 [10.1200/JCO.2002.20.5.1389] [abs].
  • Wikstrand, CJ; Cole, VR; Crotty, LE; Sampson, JH; Bigner, DD, Generation of anti-idiotypic reagents in the EGFRvIII tumor-associated antigen system., Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy, vol 50 no. 12 (2002), pp. 639-652 [10.1007/s00262-001-0243-5] [abs].
  • Heimberger, AB; Archer, GE; Crotty, LE; McLendon, RE; Friedman, AH; Friedman, HS; Bigner, DD; Sampson, JH, Dendritic cells pulsed with a tumor-specific peptide induce long-lasting immunity and are effective against murine intracerebral melanoma., Neurosurgery, vol 50 no. 1 (2002), pp. 158-164 [10.1097/00006123-200201000-00024] [abs].
  • Sampson, JH; Archer, GE; Villavicencio, AT; McLendon, RE; Friedman, AH; Bishop, WR; Bigner, DD; Friedman, HS, Treatment of neoplastic meningitis with intrathecal temozolomide., Clinical Cancer Research : an Official Journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, vol 5 no. 5 (1999), pp. 1183-1188 [abs].
  • Sampson, JH; Carter, JH; Friedman, AH; Seigler, HF, Demographics, prognosis, and therapy in 702 patients with brain metastases from malignant melanoma., Journal of Neurosurgery, vol 88 no. 1 (1998), pp. 11-20 [10.3171/jns.1998.88.1.0011] [abs].
  • Sampson, JH; Archer, GE; Ashley, DM; Fuchs, HE; Hale, LP; Dranoff, G; Bigner, DD, Subcutaneous vaccination with irradiated, cytokine-producing tumor cells stimulates CD8+ cell-mediated immunity against tumors located in the "immunologically privileged" central nervous system., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 93 no. 19 (1996), pp. 10399-10404 [10.1073/pnas.93.19.10399] [abs].