Axel Schonthal, PhD

Associate Professor of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology

Associate Dean for Biomedical Master's Programs

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The Schönthal lab performs preclinical cancer research and pursues anticancer drug development. The main focus is on brain malignancies, which include primary brain cancers (such as glioblastoma) and secondary brain cancers (such as melanoma or breast cancer that has spread to the brain). The work is done in collaboration with Dr. Thomas Chen, a neurosurgeon and Director of the USC Brain Tumor Group. This joint approach supports interdisciplinary efforts that translate laboratory findings to patient applications.


  • Activation of Epstein-Barr Virus’ Lytic Cycle in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Cells by NEO212, a Conjugate of Perillyl Alcohol and Temozolomide Cancers (Basel). 2024 Feb 26; 16(5). . View in PubMed
  • From the groin to the brain: a transfemoral path to blood-brain barrier opening Oncotarget. 2023 05 04; 14:413-416. . View in PubMed
  • Intranasal Delivery of miR133b in a NEO100-Based Formulation Induces a Healing Response in Spinal Cord-Injured Mice Cells. 2023 03 18; 12(6). . View in PubMed
  • NEO212, a Perillyl Alcohol-Temozolomide Conjugate, Triggers Macrophage Differentiation of Acute Myeloid Leukemia Cells and Blocks Their Tumorigenicity Cancers (Basel). 2022 Dec 09; 14(24). . View in PubMed
  • The Monoterpenoid Perillyl Alcohol: Anticancer Agent and Medium to Overcome Biological Barriers Pharmaceutics. 2021 Dec 16; 13(12). . View in PubMed
  • Potentially Curative Therapeutic Activity of NEO212, a Perillyl Alcohol-Temozolomide Conjugate, in Preclinical Cytarabine-Resistant Models of Acute Myeloid Leukemia Cancers (Basel). 2021 Jul 06; 13(14). . View in PubMed
  • Neuro Oncol. 2021 01 30; 23(1):63-75. . View in PubMed
  • Phase I trial of intranasal NEO100, highly purified perillyl alcohol, in adult patients with recurrent glioblastoma Neurooncol Adv. 2021 Jan-Dec; 3(1):vdab005. . View in PubMed
  • Enhanced brain delivery and therapeutic activity of trastuzumab after blood-brain barrier opening by NEO100 in mouse models of brain-metastatic breast cancer Neuro Oncol. 2021 10 01; 23(10):1656-1667. . View in PubMed