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John E. Wagner, M.D., Co-Director

John Wagner, M.D.

Department of Pediatrics
Director, Hematology/Oncology/Blood and Marrow Transplantation Division
Mayo Mail Code 366
420 Delaware Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Phone: 612.626.2961
Fax: 612.626.4074

Dr. Wagner is a professor of pediatrics, Director of the Division of Hematology-Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplantation and Co-Director of the Center for Translational Medicine at the University of Minnesota. He currently holds two endowed chairs - Hageboeck/Children's Cancer Research Fund Chair in Pediatric Cancer Research, and the University of Minnesota McKnight Presidential Chair in Hematology and Oncology. Dr. Wagner is internationally recognized as an expert in the field of stem cells and umbilical cord blood transplantation.  He received his M.D. degree at Jefferson Medical College in 1981, completed his internship and residency in Pediatrics at Duke University School of Medicine in 1984 and postdoctoral fellowship in Hematology-Oncology at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1987, where he remained until joining the faculty at the University of Minnesota in 1991. He is board certified in pediatrics and pediatric hematology/oncology.

Honors and Awards

  • 1977 Cum Laude, University of Delaware
  • 1981 Outstanding College Graduate
  • 1981 Dean Marie Baines Award for Excellence in Pediatrics Jefferson Medical College
  • 1981 Magna Cum Laude, Jefferson Medical College
  • 1984 American Cancer Society Post-Doctoral Training Award
  • 1985 American Cancer Society Post-Doctoral Training Award
  • 1990-1993 American Cancer Society Clinical Oncology Career Development Award (ACS 90-233)
  • 1989-1991 Higgins Scholar in Oncology Research, Hodson Trust
  • 1991 Presidential Symposium, International Society of Experimental Hematology-Parma, Italy
  • 1993 Jundt Research Award
  • 1993 Plenary Symposium, American Society of Hematology, St. Louis, Missouri
  • 1994 Presidential Symposium, European Bone Marrow Transplantation-Harrogate, United Kingdom
  • 1994 Year in Hematology Session, The Clinical Research Meeting-Baltimore, Maryland
  • 1995 Plenary Symposium, International Society of Experimental Hematology-Düsseldorf, Germany
  • 1996 Plenary Symposium, International Society of Experimental Hematology-New York, New York
  • 1997 Plenary Symposium, American Society of Histocompatibility and Immunology, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 2000 American Society of Clinical Investigation, Elected Member
  • 2001 Tenth Clinical Scholar Award, University of Minnesota Medical School and Fairview-University Medical Center
  • 2002 Recognition for Excellence, Academic Health Center, University of Minnesota
  • 2002 Pioneer Award for Therapeutic Advancement-Fanconi Anemia Research Fund
  • 2009 Plenary Symposium, American Society of Histocompatibility and Immunology
  • 2009 1st Recipient of the Brady Kohn Foundation Award
  • 2004 Genetics Policy Institute Plenary Symposium on Application of Stem Cells, United Nations
  • 2005 2nd Recipient of the Brady Kohn Foundation Award
  • 2006 Association of American Physicians, Elected Member
  • 2007-2010 Listed in Best Doctors in America
  • 2008 Minnesota Health Care Heroes Award-Category of Medical Innovation
  • 2009 Simon Gratz Research Prize, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Research Interests

Dr. Wagner's research has focused on the development of new treatment approaches for life-threatening diseases for which conventional treatments are unsatisfactory using molecular and cellular therapies. While historically, most of his work is in the setting of leukemia and bone marrow transplantation, new possibilities now exist allowing us to consider moving outside this area, such as the area of skin diseases, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and neurological diseases.

Specific Projects

Hematopoietic recovery and engraftment after umbilical cord blood transplantation

  1. ex vivo expansion of HSC and progenitors
  2. homing
  3. novel conditioning regimens

Prevention of GHVD after blood and marrow transplantation

  1. novel preparative therapies
  2. regulatory T cells

Development of novel conditioning regimen


  1. Fanconi Anemia
  2. Severe Epidermolysis Bullosa
Development of novel cellular therapies
  1. Cardiac stem cells
  2. Regulatory T cells
  3. Dendritic cell – based vaccines for brain tumors
  4. NK cells as anticancer therapy
  5. Tissue Repair

Selected Recent Publications (210 citations)

MacMillan ML, Blazar BR, Defor TE, Wagner JE.  Transplantation of ex-vivo culture-expanded parental haploidentical mesenchymal stem cells to promote engraftment in pediatric recipients of unrelated donor umbilical cord blood: Results of a phase I-II clinical trial.  Bone Marrow Transplant 2009; 43: 447-54.

Tolar J, Ishida-Yamamoto A, Osborn M, McElmurry RT, Riddle M, Xia L, Uitto J, Christiano AM, Wagner JE, Blazar BR.  Amelioration of epidermolysis bullosa by transfer of wild-type bone marrow cells.  Blood 2009; 113:1167-74.

MacMillan ML, Weisdorf DJ, Brunstein CG, Cao Q, Defor TE, Verneris MR, Blazar BR, Wagner JE.  Acute graft-verusu-host disease after unrelated donor umbilical cord blood transplantation: Analysis of risk factors.  Blood 2009; 113: 2410-5.

Rodrigues CA, Sanz G, Brunstein C, San J, Wagner JE, Renaud M, de Lima M, Cairo M, Furst S, Rio B, Dalley D, Carreras E, Harousseau J.l., Mohty M, Taveira D, Sureda A, Dreger P, Gluckman E, Rocha V.  Analysis of risk factors for outcomes after unrelated cord blood transplantation in adults with lymphoid malignancies: A study by the eurocord-netcord and lymphoma working party of the european group for blood and marrow transplantation study. J Clin Oncol 2009; 27:256-63.

Burke MJ, Trotz B, Luo X, Baker KS, Weisdorf DJ, Wagner JE, Verneris MR.  Allo-hematopoietic cell transplantation for ph chromosome-positive all: Impact of  imatinib on relapse and survival. Bone Marrow Transplant. 2009; 43:107-13.

Brunstein CG, Cantero S, Cao Q, Majhail N, McClure B, Burns LJ, Tomblyn M, Miller JS, Blazar BR, McGlave PB, Weisdorf DJ, Wagner JE.  Promising progression-free survival for patients low and lntermediate grade lymphoid malignancies after nonmyeloablative umblical cord blood transplantation.  Biol Bone Marrow Transplant 2009; 15:214-22.

Bachanova V, McCullar V, Lenvik T, Wagnen R, Peterson KA, Ankarlo DE, Panoskaltsis-Mortari A, Wagner JE, Miller JS.  Activated notch supports development of cytokine producing nk cells which are hyporesponsive and fail to acquire nk cell effector functions.  Biol Bone Marrow Transplant 2009; 15:183-194.

Brunstein CG, Barker JN, Weisdorf DJ, Defor TE, KcKenna D, Chong SY, Miller JS, McGlave PB, Wagner JE.  Intra-BM injection to enhance engraftment after myeloablative umbilical cord blood transplantation with two partially HLA-matched units.  Biol Bone Marrow Transplant.  2009; 43: 935-940.

Tomblyn MB, Arora M, Baker KS, Blazar BR, Brunstein GC, Burns LJ, Defor TE, Dusenbery KE, Kaufman DS, Kersey JH, MacMillan ML, McGlave PB, Miller JS, Orchard PJ, Slungaard A, Tomblyn MR, Vercellotti GM, Verneris MR, Wagner JE, Weisdorf DJ.  Myeloablative hematopoietic cell transplantation for acute lymphoblastic leukemia: Analysis of graft sources and long-term outcome.  J Clin Oncol 2009; 27:3634-41.

Reed W, Noga SJ, Gee AP, Rooney CM, Wagner JE, McCullough J, McKenna DH, Whiteside TL, Donnenberg AD, Baker AK, Lindblad RW, Wagner EL, Mondoro TH.  Production assistance for cellular therapies (PACT): Four-year experience from the united states national heart, lung, and blood institute (NHLBI) contract research program in cell tissue therapies.  Transfusion 2009;  49:786-96.

Brunstein CG, Wagner JE, Weisdorf DJ, Cooley S, Noreen H, Barker JN, Defor T, Verneris MR, Blazar BR, Miller JS.  Negative effect of KIR alloreactivity in recipients of umbilical cord blood transplant depends on transplantation conditioning intensity.  Blood 2009; 113:5628-34.

Burke MJ, Trotz B, Luo X, Weisdorf DJ, Baker KS, Wagner JE, Verneris MR.  Imatinib use either pre- or post-allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) does not increase cardiac toxicity in chronic myelogeneous leukemia patients.  Bone Marrow Transplant 2009; 44:169-74.

Flores AL, McKenna DH, Montalban MA, De La Cruz J, Wagner JE, Bornstein R.  Consistency of the initial cell acquisition procedure is critical to the standardization of CD34+ cell enumeration by flow cytometry: Results of a pairwise analysis of umbilical cord blood units and cryopreserved aliquots.  Transfusion 2009; 49:636-647.

Lazarus HM, Kan F, Tarima S, Champlin RE, Confer DL, Frey N, Gee AP, Wagner JE, Horowitz MM, Eapen M. Rapid transport and infusion of hematopoietic cells is associated with improved outcome after myeloablative therapy and unrelated donor transplant.  Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2009; 15:589-96.

Polgreen LE, Thomas W, MacMillan ML, Wagner JE, Moran A, Petryk A.  First phase insulin release and glucose tolerance in children with fanconi anemia after hematopoietic cell transplantation.  Pediat Blood Cancer 2009; 53:191-6.

McCullough J, McKenna D, Kadidlo D, Maurer D, Noreen HJ, French K, Brunstein C, Wagner JE.  Mislabeled units of umbilical cord blood detected by a quality assurance program at the transplant center.  Blood 2009; 114:1684-8.

Xue X, Huang X, Nodland SE, Mates L, Ma L, Izsvak Z, Ivics Z, Lebien TW, McOIvor RS, Wagner JE, Zhou X.  Stable gene transfer and sxpression in cord Blood-derived CD34+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells by a hyperactive sleeping beauty transposon system.  Blood 2009; 114:1319-30.

Verneris MR, Brunstein CG, Barker J, MacMillan ML, Defor T, McKenna DH, Burke MJ, Blazar BR, Miller JS, McGlave PB, Weisdorf DJ, Wagner JE.  Relapse risk after umbilical cord blood transplantation; enhanced graft versus leukemia effect in recipients of two units.  Blood 2009; 114:4293-4299.

Majhail NS, Mothukuri JM, MacMillan ML, Verneris MR, Orchard PJ, Wagner JE.  Costs of pediatric allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation.  Pediatr Blood Cancer 2009; 54:138-143.

Smith AR, Baker KS, Defor TE, Verneris MR, Wagner JE, MacMillan ML.  Hematopoietic cell transplantation for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in second complete remission: similar outcomes in recipients of unrelated marrow and umbilical cord blood versus marrow from HLA matched sibling donors.  Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2009; 15:1086-93.

Smith A, Wagner JE.  Alternative stem cell sources for transplantation: Place of umbilical cord blood.  British J Hematol. 2009; 147:246-261.

Wagner JE, Brunstein C, Tse W, Laughlin M.  Umbilical cord blood transplantation.  Cancer Treat Res. 2009; 144:1-23.

Wagner JE.  Should double cord blood transplants be the preferred choice when a sibling donor is unavailable?  Best Pract Res Clin Heamatol. 2009; 22:551-5.

Blaes AH, Cao Q, Wagner JE, Young JA, Weisdorf DJ, Brunstein CG.  Monitoring and preemptive rituximab therapy for Epstein-Barr virus reactivation after antithymocyte globulin containing nonmyeloablative conditioning for umbilical cord blood transplantation.  Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2010; 16:287-91.

Beck JC, Wagner JE, DeFor, TE, Brunstein CG, Schleiss MR, Young J, Weisdorf DH, Cooley S, Miller JS, Verneris MR.  Impact of cytomegalovirus (CMV) reactivation after umbilical cord blood transplantation.  Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2010; 16: 215-22.

Collins NH, Gee AP, Durett AG, Kan F, Zhang MJ, Champlin RE, Confer D, Eapen M, Howard A, King R, Laughlin MJ, Plante RJ, Setterholm M, Spellman S, Keever-Taylor C, Wagner JE, Weisdorf DJ. The effect of the composition of unrelated donor bone marrow and peripheral blood progenitor cell grafts on transplantation outcomes. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2010; 16: 253-62.

Wagner JE, Laughlin M, Petz L.  Seventh annual international umbilical cord blood transplantation symposium, Los Angeles, California, June 5-6, 2009.  Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2010; 16: 12-27.

Verneris MR, Wagner JE.  UCB and atmospheric noise.  Blood 2010; 115: 754-5.

Eapen M, Wagner JE.  Transplant outcomes in acute leukemia.  Semin Hematol 2010; 47: 46-50.

Wagner JE, Gluckman E.  Umbilical cord blood transplantation: the first 20 years.  Semin Hematol 2010; 47: 3-12.

Wagner JE.  Umbilical cord blood: state of the art 2010.  Semin Hematol 2010; 47: 1-2.

Cioc AM, Wagner JE, MacMillan ML, DeFor T, Hirsch B.  Diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndrome among a cohert of 119 patients with Fanconi anemia morphologic and cytogenetic characteristics.  Am J Clin Pathol 2010; 133: 92-100.

Tammana S, Huang S, Wong M, Milone MC, Ma L, Levine BL, June CH, Wagner JE, Blazar BR, Zhou X.  4-1BB and CD28 signaling plays a synergistic role in redirecting umbilical cord blood T cells against B-cell malignancies.  Hum Gene Ther 2010; 21: 75-86.

Majhail NS, Mothukuri JM, MacMillan ML, Verneris MR, Orchard PJ, Wagner JE, Weisdorf DJ.  Costs of pediatric Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation.  Pediatr Blood Cancer 2010; 54: 138-43.

Orchard PJ, Milla C, Braunlin E, Defor T, Bjoraker K, Blazar BR, Peters C, Wagner JE, Tolar J.  Pre-transplant risk factors affecting outcome in Hurler syndrome.  Bone Marrow Transplant 2010.  Epub ahead of print.

Keever-Taylor CA, Wagner JE, Kernan NA, Small TN, Carter SL, Thompson JS, Cloud GA, Lamb LS.  Comparison of immune recoverery in recipients of unmanipulated vs T-cell depleted grafts from unrelated donors in a multi-center, randomized phase II-III trial (T-cell depletion trial).  Bone Marrow Transplant 2010; 45: 587-9.

Verneris MR, Eapen M, Duerst R, Carpenter PA, Burke MJ, Afanasyev BV, Cowan MJ, He W, Krance R, Li CK, Tan PL, Wagner JE, Davies SM.  Reduced intensity conditioning regimens for allogeneic transplantation in children with acute hymphoblastic leukemia.  Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2010.  Epub ahead of print.

Long-Boyle JR, Green KG, Brunstein CG, Cao Q, Rogosheske J, Weisdorf DJ, Miller JS, Wagner JE, McGlave PB, Jocobson PA.  High fludarabine exposure and relationship with treatment-related mortality after nonmyeloablative hematopoietic cell transplantation.  Bone Marrow Transplant 2010.  Epub ahead of print.

Ramirez PA, Wagner JE, Brunstein CG.  Going straight to the point : intra-BM injection of hematopoietic progenitors.  Bone Marrow Transplant 2010. Epub ahead of print.

MacMillan ML, Wagner JE.  Haematopoietic cell transplantation for Fanconi anemia -- when and how?  Br J Haematol 2010. Epub ahead of print.

Eapen M, , Rocha V, Guillermo S, Andromachi S, Zhang MJ, Arcese W, Sirvent A, Champlin RE, Chao N, Gee AP, Isola L, Laughling MJ, Marks DI, Nabhan S, Ruggeri A, Soiffer R, Horowitz MM, Gluckman E, Wagner JE.  Effect of graft source on unrelated donor heamatopoietic stem-cell transplantation in adults with acute leukemia: a retrospective analysis.  Lancet Onc 2010; 11: 653-60.



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