Amy B. Heimberger, MD

Professor, Department of Neurosurgery, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Biography

Dr. Amy Heimberger is a Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and has been a member of the department since 2002. She has an extensive research program focused on immune therapeutic strategies for glioma patients and studies tumor-mediated mechanisms of immune suppression. Her laboratory, the Brain Tumor Immunology Lab, was pivotal in the development of a peptide (PEP-3-KLH/CDX-110) vaccine strategy that targets the epidermal growth factor receptor. The strategy doubled the median survival of glioblastoma multiforme patients and is proceeding to final registration clinical trials (licensed to Celldex Therapeutics).

In addition, Dr. Heimberger has clarified that the signal transducer and activator of the transcription 3 (STAT3) pathway is a key molecular hub of gliomagenesis and tumor-mediated immune suppression. She also conducted the pre-clinical development of a novel small molecule inhibitor of STAT3, WP1066, which will be introduced into clinical trials in the next 18 months for melanoma patients with CNS metastasis and primary glioma patients. Furthermore, she showed that tumor-associated microglia/macrophages potentiate gliomagenesis via STAT3 and established that the glioma-associated cancer stem cells via the STAT3 pathway exert immune suppressive properties on both the adaptive and innate arms of the immune system.

Dr. Heimberger is the only faculty member at MD Anderson that has been awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. She holds multiple NIH and foundation grants and is a project leader in both the Brain and Melanoma SPOREs. Dr. Heimberger has a clinical interest in awake mapping and resection of gliomas within eloquent cortex. She has been named by the US News and World Report as a Top Doc.

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