Hideho Okada, MD, PhD

Department of Neurological Surgery
+1 415 476-1637
Research Description: 

Dr. Okada is a creative physician-scientist who has developed therapeutic modalities in the laboratory, translated them into clinical protocols, and used his expertise as both scientist and clinician to assess the clinical data from ongoing trials. Dr. Okada's work has consistently focused on immunotherapeutic strategies aimed at a daunting challenge in oncology – malignant brain tumors. Dr. Okada conducted one of the first immune gene therapy trials in patients with malignant glioma. Dr. Okada's success in navigating the detailed regulatory processes that such trials require demonstrates his attention to detail and breadth of knowledge from basic science to clinical care. Dr. Okada's lab work was the first to identify and fully characterize cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) epitopes for gliomas. Dr. Okada's seminal discovery of CTL epitopes in glioma-associated antigens and the work on the mechanisms underlying the adjuvant effects of poly-ICLC enabled him to launch novel glioma vaccine trials in combination with poly-ICLC as an adjuvant. These efforts have also been supported by his mechanistic studies delineating the role of an integrin receptor very late activation antigen (VLA)-4 and chemokine CXCL10 in efficient trafficking of T-cells to brain tumor sites. Dr. Okada has held 4 Investigational New Drug approvals for his own vaccine trials. Since 2004 to 2014, Dr. Okada served as a Co-Leader of the Brain Tumor Program within the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and has worked to expand the program by developing strong interdisciplinary and translational research activities among program members. In 2010, Dr. Okada was selected to be a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, which is an honor society of physician-scientists, those who translate findings in the laboratory to the advancement of clinical practice.

Primary Thematic Area: 
Secondary Thematic Area: 
Cancer Biology & Cell Signaling
Research Summary: 
Brain Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy



Future development of chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapies for patients suffering from malignant glioma.

Current opinion in oncology

Watchmaker PB, Colton M, Pineo-Cavanaugh PL, Okada H

Mass cytometry detects H3.3K27M-specific vaccine responses in diffuse midline glioma.

The Journal of clinical investigation

Mueller S, Taitt JM, Villanueva-Meyer JE, Bonner ER, Nejo T, Lulla RR, Goldman S, Banerjee A, Chi SN, Whipple NS, Crawford JR, Gauvain K, Nazemi KJ, Watchmaker PB, Almeida ND, Okada K, Salazar AM, Gilbert RD, Nazarian J, Molinaro AM, Butterfield LH, Prados MD, Okada H

The future of cancer immunotherapy for brain tumors: a collaborative workshop.

Journal of translational medicine

Brown CE, Bucktrout S, Butterfield LH, Futer O, Galanis E, Hormigo A, Lim M, Okada H, Prins R, Marr SS, Tanner K

Inhibition of D-2HG leads to upregulation of a proinflammatory gene signature in a novel HLA-A2/HLA-DR1 transgenic mouse model of IDH1R132H-expressing glioma.

Journal for immunotherapy of cancer

Chuntova P, Yamamichi A, Chen T, Narayanaswamy R, Ronseaux S, Hudson C, Tron AE, Hyer ML, Montoya M, Mende AL, Nejo T, Downey KM, Diebold D, Lu M, Nicolay B, Okada H

Novel EGFRvIII-CAR transgenic mice for rigorous preclinical studies in syngeneic mice.


Chuntova P, Hou Y, Naka R, Yamamichi A, Chen T, Goretsky Y, Hatae R, Nejo T, Kohanbash G, Mende AL, Montoya M, Downey KM, Diebold D, Skinner J, Liang HE, Schwer B, Okada H