Translational Biotechnology Company Developing

Novel Immunotherapies for Brain Tumor Patients

Translational Biotechnology Company Developing Novel Immunotherapies for Brain Tumor Patients

Translational Biotechnology Company Developing Novel Immunotherapies for Brain Tumor Patients


As COVID-19 impacts the world, StemVax Therapeutics continues to be committed to making a difference in brain cancer patients’ lives by maintaining focus on developing a highly effective immunotherapeutic approach against Glioblastoma patients. We are also committed to working hard to support all healthcare professionals, patients, and communities here in the U.S. and globally. We are learning so much more about COVID-19 and are doing everything we can to promote safety and health for our company and globally.

Cutting-Edge Research & Creativity to Face the Unknown

Keeping Dreams Alive Through Immunotherapy

Treating Disease with Stem Cell Immunology

Cutting-Edge Research & Creativity to Face the Unknown

Keeping Dreams Alive Through Immunotherapy

Treating Disease with Stem Cell Immunology

Cutting-Edge Research & Creativity to Face the Unknown

Keeping Dreams Alive Through Immunotherapy

Treating Disease with Stem Cell Immunology



StemVax Therapeutics is a Translational Biotechnology Company that develops novel therapies for brain tumor patients.  We focus our efforts on developing immunotherapeutic approaches to treating patients with Glioblastoma, a devastating brain cancer. We also focus our research efforts on novel drug development to target Cancer Stem cells and other multi-resistant cancer cells.  

StemVax became a wholly-owned subsidiary of NovAccess Global, Inc. in October of 2020 in order to rapidly accelerate R&D through clinical trials and successfully bring safe and efficacious novel immunotherapeutics to market.  

We seek to make a difference in Glioblastoma and other brain tumor patients’ lives through novel immunotherapeutics.

For more information on NovAccess Global, please visit the company website:



Dr. Wheeler has over 30 years of immunology and neurology research experience. His leadership experience is highlighted by his position and previous roles at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center Department of Neurosurgery. Dr. Wheeler was a Professor in the Department for over 15 years and also served as Director for Precision Medicine Initiative for Brain Tumors and Glioma Immunotherapy Core. His research has been highlighted by publication in numerous high impact paradigm shifting manuscripts and several patents.  Dr. Wheeler has executed scientific aspects of commercialization, validation, funding, and marketing for the development of novel therapeutics for brain tumor and neurodegenerative diseases. He has also served as a new Scientific Advisory Board member for Innovest Global’s Biotechnology & Health Services Division. 

Co-founder, Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Irvin leads all basic science and clinical research projects.  He received his PhD from UCLA School of Medicine, MPH, from UCLA School of Public Health, and trained at The Wallenberg Neuroscience Center at Lund University in Lund, Sweden. He was also a Professor, Faculty member at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Department of Neurosurgery.

Dr. Irvin received his PhD in Pharmacology and Developmental Neuroscience with an emphasis on neural stem cell fate and differentiation.  His research focused on neural development and Notch Signaling in mammalian neural stem cells.  He also worked as an NIH/NINDS Post-Doctoral Fellow in Dr. Anders Bjorklund laboratory in Lund, Sweden. There, his focus was on research projects that investigated the potential role of cell replacement therapy for patients with Parkinson’s disease.  They developed several protocols for the efficient generation of dopaminergic neurons from forebrain and ventral midbrain stem and progenitor cells.  Dr. Irvin also worked as a Research Scientist, Assistant Professor, and Faculty member at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Department of Neurosurgery.  He led research investigations in the role of adaptive immunity in Parkinson’s disease.  He also developed two patents in the area of immunotherapy for brain tumor patients, specifically Glioblastoma.  His research team focused on molecular mechanisms that impart therapeutic resistance in cancer cells, including cancer stem cells. They utilized these data to develop novel immunotherapies for brain tumor patients.

Legal Counsel

Dr. Weinstein counsels in all aspects of intellectual property, transaction and corporate law.  He received his Juris Doctorate degree at Boston College Law School. Dr. Weinstein is a registered patent attorney and is licensed to practice law in California and is admitted to the U.S. District Court for the Central and Southern Districts of California. 

Previously, Dr. Weinstein worked for many years as Senior Patent Counsel at Baxter Healthcare Corporation where he was responsible for managing legal and intellectual property matters for Baxter’s major hemophilia products like Advate® and major research and development programs in hemophilia. This work entailed working with multidisciplinary teams in the United States, Europe and Asia. Prior to Baxter, Dr. Weinstein worked in the San Diego Offices of the law firms of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison and Fish & Richardson where his practice focused on the management and prosecution of patent portfolios for biotech and high tech companies and patent and general civil litigation. During law school, he worked full-time as a patent agent in the Boston Office of Goodwin Procter. Dr. Weinstein also worked as an Examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office followed by a stint as a Senior Scientist at a biotech company where he was responsible for the Animal Health Group developing vaccines and other therapeutics for the treatment of infectious disease in large animals.  

Dr. Weinstein received his Ph.D. in Biology with an emphasis in Immunology from the University of Pennsylvania. Following receipt of his Ph.D., Dr. Weinstein worked as a Research Fellow, first at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland and then at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease in Frederick, Maryland where he investigated the molecular development of antibody diversity and developed vaccines. 

Chief Technical Officer

Dr. Andrew Norris has a varied background in both business and the technology sector.  He is Co-founder of The Midvale Group LLC in 2002, consulting in both the technology and biotechnology sector.  Dr. Norris has also Co-founded BCN Biosciences in Pasadena CA (2005), which is a privately held biotechnology company whose principal focus is in the area of oncology drug development. Dr. Norris has been directly responsible for, or co-raised over $20M in funding for the technology and Biotechnology sector.  He currently serves as an officer/director at BCN Biosciences and also holds a research faculty position at the University of California Los Angeles Department of Radiation Oncology.   

Dr. Norris received his PhD from UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Molecular & Medical Pharmacology.  His research focused on synthesizing molecular inhibitors against cancer cells. He also trained in the Surgical Oncology Department at UCLA focusing his research on novel drug discovery for breast cancer patients.

StemVax Therapeutics received the 2019 Pasadena Pharmaceutical Company Award

StemVax Therapeutics received the 2019 Pasadena Pharmaceutical Company Award


Peer-Reviewed Publications

1. Watts, S., Wheeler, C., Morse, R., and Goodenow, R.S. “Amino acid comparison of the class I antigens of mouse major histocompatibility complex”, Immunogenetics 30, 390-392 (1989)


2. Watts, S., Cranmer Davis, A., Gaut, B., Wheeler, C., Hill, L., and Goodenow, R.S. “Organization and structure of the Qa genes of the major histocompatibility complex of the C3H mouse: implications for Qa function and class I evolution”, EMBO J. 8, 1749-1759 (1989)


3. Wheeler, C.J., Maloney, D., Fogel, S., and Goodenow, R.S. “Microconversion between murine MHC class I genes integrated into yeast”, Nature 347, 192-194 (1990)


4. Wheeler, C.J., von Hoegen, P., and Parnes, J.R. “An immunological role for the CD8β-chain”, Nature 357, 247-249 (1992) 


5. Wheeler, C.J., Chen, J.-Y., Potter, T., and Parnes, J.R. “Mechanisms of CD8β-mediated Tcell response enhancement: Interaction with MHC class I/β2-microglobulin and functional cell response enhancement: Interaction with MHC class I/β2-microglobulin and functional coupling to TCR/CD3”, J. Immunol. 160, 4199-4207 (1998)


6. Yu, J., Wheeler, C.J., Lee, P.K., Prins, R., Lau, R.,   Zhang, W., Zeltzer, P., and Black, K.L. “ Vaccination of malignant glioma patients with peptide-pulsed dendritic cells elicits systemic cytotoxicity and intracranial T-cell infiltration”, Cancer Res 61, 842-847 (2001)


7. Kinoshita Y, Jarell AD, Flaman JM, Foltz G, Schuster J,   Sopher BL, Irvin DK, Kanning K, Kornblum HI, Nelson PS, Hieter P, Morrison RS. Pescadillo, a novel cell cycle regulatory protein abnormally expressed in malignant cells. 2001 Journal of Biological Chemistry 276(9): 6656-65.


8. Irvin DK, Zurcher SD, Nguyen T, Weinmaster G, Kornblum HI. Expression patterns of Notch1, Notch2, and Notch3 suggest multiple functional roles for the Notch-DSL signaling system during brain development. 2001 Journal of Comparative Neurology 436(2): 167-81. 


9. Liu, Y., Ehtesham, M., Samoto, K., Wheeler, C.J., Thompson, R.C., Villareal, L.P., Black, cytotoxic immunity in glioma. Cancer Gene Therapy 9: 9-15 (2002)


10. Dhaka A, Costa RM, Hu H, Irvin DK, Patel A, Kornblum HI, Silva AJ, O’Dell TJ, Colicelli J. The RAS effector RIN1 modulates the formation of aversive memories. 2002 Journal of Neuroscience 23(3):748-57.


11. Irvin DK, Dhaka A, Hicks C, Weinmaster G, Kornblum HI. Extrinsic and intrinsic factors governing cell fate in cortical progenitor cultures. 2003 Developmental Neuroscience 25(2-4):162-72.


12. Yu, J.S., Lee, P.K., Ehtesham, M., Samoto, K., Black, K.L., and Wheeler, C.J. “Intratumoral T cell subset ratios and fas ligand expression on brain tumor endotheliu”, J Neuro-oncol 64, 55-61 (2003)


13. Prins, R.M., Graf, M.R., Merchant, R.E., Black, K.L., and Wheeler , C.J. “Deficits in thymic function and output of recent thymic emigrant T cells during intracranial glioma function and output of recent thymic emigrant T cells during intracranial glioma progression”, J Neuro-oncol 64, 45-54 (2003)


14. Liu, G., Khong, H.T., Wheeler, C.J., Yu, J.S., Black, K.L., and Ying, H. “Molecular and functional analysis of tyrosinase-related protein (TRP)-2 as a cytotoxic T lymphocyte target in patients with malignant glioma”, J Immunother 26, 301-312 (2003)


15. Wheeler, C.J., Black, K.L., Liu, G., Gutierrez, M., Ying, H., Yu, J.S., Zhang, W., and Lee, P.K. “Thymic CD8+ T cell production strongly influences tumor antigen recognition and agedependent glioma mortality”, J Immunol 171, 4927-4933 (2003)


16. Easterday MC, Dougherty JD, Jackson RL, Ou J, Nakano I, Paucar AA, Roobini B, Dianati M, Irvin DK, Weissman IL, Terskikh AV, Geschwind DH, Kornblum HI. Neural progenitor genes. Germinal zone expression   and analysis of genetic overlap in stem cell populations. 2003 Developmental Biology 264(2): 309-22. 


17. Irvin DK, Nakano I, Paucar AA, Kornblum HI. Patterns of Jagged1, Jagged2, Delta-like 1 and Delta-like 3 expression during late embryonic and postnatal brain development suggests multiple functional roles in progenitors and differentiated cells. 2004 Journal of Neuroscience Research 75(3): 330-4


18. Prins, R.M.*, Incardona, F.*, Lau, R., Lee, P.K., Black, K.L., Claus, S., Zhang, W., and Wheeler, C.J. “Characterization of defective   CD4-8- T cells in murine tumors generated Wheeler, C.J. “Characterization of defective CD4-8- T cells in murine tumors generated independent of antigen  specificity” J Immunol 172, 1602-1611 (2004) *equal contributors


19. Liu, G., Ying, H., Zeng, G., Dudley, M.E., Wheeler, C.J., Black, K.L., and Yu, J.S. “HER-2, gp100 and MAGE-1 are expressed in human glioblastoma and recognized by cytotoxic Tcells”, Cancer Res 64:4980-4986 (2004)


20. Yu, J.S., Liu, G., Ying, H., Yong, W.H., Black, K.L., and Wheeler, C.J. “Vaccination with tumor lysate-pulsed dendritic cells elicits specific cytotoxic T cells in patients with malignant glioma”, Cancer Res   64:4973-4979 (2004)


21. Wheeler, C.J., Das, A., Liu, G., Yu, J.S., and Black, K. “ Clinical responsiveness of glioblastoma multiforme to chemotherapy after vaccination”, Clin Cancer Res 10:5316-5326 glioblastoma multiforme to chemotherapy after vaccination”, Clin Cancer Res 10:5316-5326-2004


22. Wheeler, C.J., Yu, J., and Black, K.L. (2004) Cellular immunity in the treatment of brain tumors. Clinical Neurosurgery 51:132-139. 


23. Liu, G., Akasaki, Y., Khong, H.T., Wheeler, C.J., Das, A., Black, K.L., and Yu, J.S. “Cytotoxic T cell targeting of TRP-2 sensitizes human malignant glioma to chemotherapy”, Oncogene 24:5226-5234 (2005)


24. Wheeler, C.J., and Black, K.L. (2005) Vaccines and beneficial immunity in glioma patients. Front Biosc 10:2861-2881 


25. Wheeler, C.J., and Black, K. (2005) Dendritic Cell Vaccines and Obstacles to Beneficial Immunity in Glioma Patients. Current Opinion Mol Ther 7:35-47. 


26. Irvin DK, Yuan X, Tunici P, Yu JS. Neural Stem Cells – A Promising Potential Therapy for Brain Tumors. 2006 Current Stem Cell Research & Therapy.


27. Tunici P, Irvin DK, Liu G, Yuan X, Zhaohui Z, Ng H, Yu J, Brain Tumor Stem Cells: New Targets for Clinical Treatments. Neurosurgical Focus 20(4) E27, 2006.


28. Andersson E, Irvin DK, Ahlsiö J Parmar M. Ngn2 and Nurr1 act in synergy to induce midbrain dopaminergic neurons from expanded neural stem and progenitor cells. Experimental Cell Research. Apr 1; 313(6):1172-80


29. Liu G, Yuan X, Zeng Z, Tunici P, Ng H, Abdulkadir IR, Lu L, Irvin DK, Black KL, Yu JS. Analysis of gene expression and chemoresistance of CD133+ cancer stem cells in glioblastoma. 2006 Molecular Cancer. Dec 2; 5:67.


30. Hu J, Yuan X, Ko MK, Yin D, Sacapano MR, Wang X, Konda BM, Espinoza A, Prosolovich K, Ong JM, Irvin DK, Black KL. Calcium-activated potassium channels mediated blood-brain tumor barrier opening in a rat metastatic brain tumor model. 2007 Molecular Cancer. Mar 14;6:22.


31. *Ghods-Jourabchi A, *Irvin DK, Gentao Liu G, Abdulkadir I, Yuan X, Tunici P, Wachsmann-Hogi S, Konda B, Black K, Yu J, Spheres Isolated from 9L Gliosarcoma Rat Cell Line Possess Chemoresistant and Aggressive Cancer Stem-Like Cells. 2007 Stem Cells Jul;25(7):1645-53 


32. Wheeler, C. J., K. L. Black, G. Liu, M. Wagenberg, X.-x. Zhang, S. Pepkowitz, D. Goldfinger, H. Ng, D. Irvin, and J. S. Yu. “Vaccination elicits correlated immune and clinical responses in patients with glioblastoma multiforme”, Cancer Res 68:5955-5964 (2008)


33. Yin D, Wang X, Konda B, Ong J, Hu J, Sacapano M, Ko M, Espinoza A, Irvin DK, Shu Y, Black K. Increase in Brain Tumor Permeability in Glioma-bearing Rats with Nitric Oxide Donors. 2008 Clinical Cancer Research, Jun 15;14(12):4002-9.


34. Irvin DK, Thompson L, Kirik D, Björklund A In Vivo Gene Delivery to Endogenous Striatal Progenitors Generated by a 6-hydroxydopamine Lesion of the Nigrostriatal Dopamine Pathway. 2008 Neurobiology of Disease. Jun; 30(3):343-52 (Selected as Cover Article).


35. Black K, Yin D, Ong J, Hu J, Konda B, Wang X, Ko M, Bayan J, Sacapano M, Espinoza A, Irvin DK, Shu Y. Phosphodiesterase 5 Inhibitors Enhance Tumor Permeability and Efficacy of Chemotherapy in a Rat Brain Tumor Model, 2008 Brain Research, Sept. 1230:290302.


36. Black K, Yin D, Konda B, Wang X, Hu J, Ko M, Bayan J, Sacapano M, Espinoza A, Ong J, Irvin D, Shu Y, Different Effects of KCa and KATP Agonists on Brain Tumor Permeability between Syngeneic and Allogeneic Rat Models. 2008, Brain Research Aug 28;1227:198-206 (Selected as Cover Article).


37. Wheeler C, Black K, Liu G, Wagenberg M, Zhang X, Pepkowitz S, Goldfinger D, Ng H, Irvin D, K Yu J. Vaccination with tumor lysate-pulsed dendritic cells elicits correlated immune and clinical response magnitudes in patients with glioblastoma multiforme. 2008 Cancer Research, Jul 15;68 (14):5955-64.


38. Wheeler, C. J., and K. L. Black. (2009) DCVax-Brain and DC vaccines in the treatment of GBM. Expert Opin Investig Drugs 18:509.


39. Irvin, D., Duvall, G., Zhang, X-x., Zhai, Y., Sarayba, D., Seksenyan, A., Panwar, A., Black, K.L., and Wheeler, C. J. “T cells enhance stem-like properties and conditional malignancy in gliomas”, PlosONE 5 e10974 (2010)


40. Irvin DK, Jouanneau E, Duvall G, Zhang X, Zhai y, Sarayba   D, Seksenyan A, Panwar A, Black KL, Wheeler CJ. T cell activity promotes stem-like properties, but not malignancy, in gliomas. 2010, PlosOne, Jun 7;5(6):e10974.


41. Junes-Gill KS, Gallaher TK, Gluzman-Poltorak Z, Miller JD, Wheeler CJ, Fan X, Basile LA. hHSS1: a novel secreted factor and suppressor of glioma growth located at chromosome 19q13.33. J Neurooncol. 102:197-211 (2011).


42. Wheeler CJ, Black KL. (2011) Vaccines for glioblastoma and high-grade glioma Expert Rev Vaccines 10:875-86. 


43. Patil C, Yi A, Elramsisy A, Hu J, Mukherjee D, Irvin D, Yu J, Bannykh S, Black K, Nuño M. Prognosis of Patients with Multifocal Glioblastoma: A Case-Controlled Study. March 2012. Journal of  Neurosurgery


44. Phuphanich S*, Wheeler CJ*, Rudnick JD, Mazer M, Wang H, Nuño MA, Richardson JE, Fan X, Ji J, Chu RM, Bender JG, Hawkins ES, Patil CG, Black KL, Yu JS. “Phase I trial of a multi-epitope-pulsed dendritic cell vaccine for patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma”, Cancer Immunol Immunother 62:125-35 (2013) PMID: 2284702 *equal contributors


45. Niesen CE, Xu J, Fan X, Li X, Wheeler CJ, Mamelak AN, Wang C. “Transcriptomic profiling of human peritumoral neocortex tissues revealed genes possibly involved in tumorinduced epilepsy”, PLoS ONE 8(2):e56077 (2013) PMID: 23418513


46. Cordner, R., Black, K.L., and Wheeler, C.J. (2013) The exploitation of adaptive evolution to treat glioblastoma multiforme CNS Oncology 2:171-179.


47. Wheeler CJ, Seksenyan A, Koronyo Y, Rentsendorj A, Sarayba D, Wu H, Gragg A, Siegel E, Thomas D, Espinosa A, Thompson K, Black K, Koronyo-Hamaoui M, Pechnick R, and Irvin DK “T-lymphocyte deficiency  exacerbates behavioural deficits in the 6-OHDA unilateral lesion rat model for Parkinson’s Disease”, J Neurol Neurophysiol 5(3). pii: 209. (2014)


48. Jouanneau E, Black KL, Veiga L, Cordner R, Goverdhana, S, Zhai Y, Zhang X, Panwar A, Mardiros A, Wang HQ, Gragg A, Zandian M, Irvin D, and Wheeler CJ “Intrinsically desialyated CD103+ CD8 T cells mediate beneficial anti-glioma immune responses”, Cancer Immunol Immunother 63:911-24 (2014)


49. Junes-Gill KS, Lawrence CE, Wheeler CJ, Cordner R, Gill TG, Mar V, Shiri L, Basile LA. “Human Hematopoietic Signal peptide-containing Secreted 1 (hHSS1) modulates genes and pathways in glioma: implications for the regulation of tumorigenicity and angiogenesis”, BMC Cancer 14:920 (2014).


50. Wheeler C, Wu H, Sarayba D, Gragg A, Siegel E, Thomas D, Andres E, Thompson K, Black KL, Pechnick P, IrvinD, T-lymphocytes influence behavioral deficits in the 6-OHDA unilateral lesion model for Parkinson’s disease. July 2014, Journal of Neurology & Neurophysiology. 


51. Jouanneau, E., Black, K.L., Veiga, L., Goverdhana, S.,   Gragg, A., Zandian, M., Zhai, Y., Zhang, X-x., Mardiros, A., Wang, H.-Q.,  Panwar, A., Irvin, D., and Wheeler, C. J. Intrinsically de-sialylated CD103(+) CD8 T cells mediate beneficial anti-glioma immune responses. June 2014, Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy.

Book Chapter

Wheeler, C.J., Maloney, D., Arbeitman, M., Baldwin, D., Chan, H., Rufer, J., Fogel, S., and Goodenow, R.S. (1990) Microgene conversion in the evolution of murine MHC class I genes. in Transgenic mice and mutants in MHC research. Springer-Verlag, New York.

Wheeler, C.J., and Black, K.L. (2006) Vaccines and beneficial immunity in glioma patients. In Gene therapy for neurological disorders. Castro, M.G. & Lowenstein, P.R., editors Taylor & Francis, New York

The Textbook of Nanoneurosurgery, 2013 Edited by: Babak Kateb & John D. Heiss, Immune Based Targeting in Cancer Dwain K. Irvin, Chirag Patil, Keith Black. ISBN-10: 1439849412.


Wheeler, C.J. Dendritic cell vaccines to combat glioblastoma (2010) Expert Rev Neurother 10:483-6. PMID: 203671991.



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