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John M. Cunningham, MD

George M. Eisenberg Professor of Pediatrics

Chair, Department of Pediatrics

Physician-in-Chief, The University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital

Director, Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation

John M. Cunningham, MD, is an internationally known expert in the treatment and research of childhood cancers and blood diseases. He has particular expertise in treating leukemia, lymphoma, immunodeficiencies, sickle cell disease and thalassemia. He is a recognized leader in the field of pediatric stem cell transplantation, and has developed novel uses for this life-saving treatment.

An active researcher, Dr. Cunningham is studying the biology and therapy of hemoglobinopathies, hematopoiesis and the leukemia stem cell, transcriptional mechanisms operative during the development of vertebrate organisms, and the development of clinical trials for the treatment of leukemia and genetic diseases. Over his distinguished career, Dr. Cunningham's research has received support from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the American Society of Hematology, and other prominent scientific organizations. He is a member of the scientific council of the American Cancer Society, and a member of the editorial board of The Oncologist.

Dr. Cunningham is an accomplished author and has published more than 70 scientific articles, as well as several book chapters and invited reviews. He has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, and is a reviewer for Blood, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Cancer Research, and Genomics. A popular speaker, Dr. Cunningham has lectured at universities and scientific meetings around the world. Dr. Cunningham has also been selected as a top doctor by Chicago magazine and is an American Top Doctor.

Before joining the University of Chicago as chief of the Section of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Dr. Cunningham was a leader in the Division of Experimental Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

Practice Locations

The University of Chicago Medicine
Comer Children's Hospital
5721 S. Maryland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

Center for Advanced Medicine
5758 S. Maryland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

University of Chicago Pediatric Specialists at
La Rabida Children's Hospital
6501 S. Promontory Drive
Chicago, IL 60649

Year Started Practice


Board Certification

Member, Royal College of Physicians, United Kingdom

Medical School

University College Dublin, Ireland


St. Laurence's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland


Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
Royal Free Hospital, London, England
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute,
National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD


American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
American Society of Gene Therapy
American Society of Hematology
American Society of Microbiology
International Society of Hematotherapy and Graft Engineering
International Stem Cell Research Society

Language Spoken



Office Phone

(773) 834-8198

Office Fax

(773) 702-9881

Office Postal Address

John M. Cunningham, MD
The University of Chicago Medicine
5841 S. Maryland Avenue, MC 4060
Chicago, IL 60637

Physician Photo

Clinical Interests

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Learn More About Dr. Cunningham

Dr. Cunningham was instrumental in helping to bring a breakthrough form of gene therapy to Chicago. UChicago Medicine was the first hospital in the region to be certified to offer CAR T-cell therapy.

Listen to a WGN Radio interview with Dr. Cunningham about CAR T-cell gene therapy for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Listen to Dr. Cunningham discuss "Access to Affordable Care" on the WVON Community Health Focus Hour.

After an urgent call from the pediatrician, Mya's parents brought their four-year-old daughter to Comer Children's Hospital, where Dr. Cunningham determined that Mya needed a stem cell transplant to cure her of leukemia. Almost four years to the day after being diagnosed with cancer, Mya and Dr. Cunningham recorded a radio commercial about her successful treatment. » Learn more.

Daniela Lakosilova still remembers what Dr. Cunningham promised her the first time they met. "If you need a stem cell transplant, we'll find you a donor." True to his word, Dr. Cunningham identified a solution and performed an innovative haplo-cord transplantation. » Read about Daniela's battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

Doctors in Abu Dhabi believed a bone marrow transplant was the best treatment option for Ali, a 12-year-old boy with the most severe form of sickle cell anemia. Ali’s physicians referred him to Dr. Cunningham and his team, and helped plan his family’s trip to Chicago. Read Ali’s story.

View a video about cancer care at Comer Children's Hospital that features Dr. Cunningham and one of his patients.

Dr. Cunningham is also featured in this video about Comer Children's Hospital.

Dr. Cunningham is featured in a video about sickle cell disease. In addition to discussing diagnosis and treatment of the disease, Dr. Cunningham shares details about new therapies for sickle cell anemia, including alternative approaches to stem cell transplant and new drug treatments.

Dr. Cunningham's research into the purification of stem cells has led to successful parent-to-child stem cell transplants, an approach not widely available. Read a story about a boy who is thriving after receiving stem cells from his father.

ABC 7 Chicago aired an interview with Dr. Cunningham about the Obama administration's decision to lift prior restrictions on embryonic stem cell research and what this means for the future of stem cell research.

The University of Chicago Medicine's Science Life blog featured Dr. Cunningham in a post about stem cell research.

A small change to the tax code will send more money to research on childhood cancer -- thanks in part to Dr. Cunningham's testimony before the House Revenue and Finance Committee. Read more.

Selected Publications

View a partial list of Dr. Cunningham's publications through the National Library of Medicine's PubMed online database.