In December, the journal Science designated cancer immunotherapy as its 2013 Breakthrough of the Year, noting Allison's leadership in the field, The Economist named Allison winner of its 2013 Innovations Award for Biosciences and he received a $3 million 2013 Breakthrough Prize for Biosciences from the foundation of the same name launched last year by internet and social media entrepreneurs. He will also receive the 2014 Szent-Gyrgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research from the National Foundation for Cancer Research.
Enhanced capabilities in immunotherapy
MD Anderson's immunotherapy platform has enhanced and increased the institution's capabilities in expertise, technology and techniques since Allison's arrival in November of 2012.
Patrick Hwu, M.D., chair of Melanoma Medical Oncology is co-director of the platform. MD Anderson has invested $40 million in the platform, including philanthropic funds and a $10 million Established Investigator grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas to recruit Allison from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Allison also is deputy director of the David H Koch Center for Applied Research of Genitourinary Cancers and holds the Vivian L. Smith Distinguished Chair in Immunology at MD Anderson.
Additional immune checkpoints and drugs to target some of them have been discovered and are in clinical trials. At MD Anderson, clinical trials of ipilimumab and other agents target melanoma, lymphoma, lung, breast, gastric, kidney and prostate cancers.
MD Anderson researchers also are working on a variety of ways to enhance T cell attacks on cancer cells. For example, one method involves harvesting a patient's own cancer-targeting T cells, expanding their number in the lab, and then reinfusing them in the patient.
Another involves customizing a patient's T cells via gene transfer to more efficie
|Contact: Scott Merville|
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center