Navigation Links
T cell biology pioneer Allison wins first AACR honor for cancer immunology

WASHINGTON, D.C. The scientist whose discoveries led to the first drug approved for metastatic melanoma by "treating the immune system, not the cancer," also is the first to receive the AACR-CRI Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology.

James Allison, Ph.D., professor and chair of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Department of Immunology, was honored today at the AACR Annual Meeting 2013 in Washington, D.C.

The American Association for Cancer Research and the Cancer Research Institute launched the award to recognize the increasing importance of immunology in cancer treatment and to honor Old, who died last year at 78 after a path-breaking career in immunology research and leadership.

"I'm delighted and honored to be given this award named for Lloyd Old, who is widely considered to be the father of cancer immunotherapy. I was fortunate in knowing Dr. Old as a mentor, but also as a close friend," Allison said.

"This new award by AACR and CRI recognizes individuals, but it's also gratifying recognition of the growing prominence of immune therapy and of our progress towards fulfilling Dr. Old's goal of unleashing the immune system against cancer," Allison said.

Antibody blocks inhibitor of T cell response

Allison's basic science discoveries about the immune system led to his identification and development of ipilimumab, known commercially as Yervoy, a monoclonal antibody that blocks a molecule on the surface of T cells that acts as a brake on the immune system.

About 23 percent of patients with late stage metastatic melanoma who took ipilimumab in clinical trials have lived for five years or longer, unheard of in stage 4 melanoma patients. The drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May 2011.

"Our goal is to accelerate the transition of new drugs and rational combinations based on mechanistic insight into the clinic," Allison said. "These approaches have proven effective in the treatment of melanoma and prostate cancer, and there is no reason that immunotherapy, since it targets the immune system and not the cancer cell, shouldn't be effective against a broad range of cancer types."

The drug has been used in more than 4,000 patients with a variety of cancers, including clinical trials for prostate, renal, lung and ovarian cancers.

The immune system routinely recognizes and destroys abnormal cells, but cancer cells manage to evade detection and attack. Old and colleagues believed that the immune system is ideally suited to wipe out cancer if those problems can be overcome, an unpopular view for decades.

Allison's discoveries in T cell biology built the foundation for him to identify and advance ipilimumab. T cells are lymphocytes, a white blood cell with receptors to recognize and bind to antigens, allowing the T cells to launch a customized attack on viruses, bacteria, abnormal cells and proteins.

Allison discovered:

  • The T cell antigen receptor used by T cells to bind to and recognize antigens.
  • T cells require a second signal to launch an immune response after they've bound to an antigen. B7 molecules on presenting cells must engage a surface molecule called CD28 on the T cell.
  • An immune-inhibiting molecule called CTLA-4 inhibits activated T cells to protect normal tissue from attack. CTLA-4 apparently also protects cancer cells from attack.

Ipilimumab is an antibody that blocks CTLA-4's docking station on T cells.

Allison was chair of the immunology program and director of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Immunotherapy at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He started at MD Anderson on Nov. 1. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, as well as a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The AACR-CRI Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology was established to recognize an active scientist whose outstanding and innovative research in cancer immunology has had a far-reaching impact on the cancer field. CRI is the world's only nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to harnessing the immune system's power to conquer cancer.

Old was scientific director of CRI for 40 years and also a researcher at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in New York.

The AACR also announced the electronic launch of its newest journal, Cancer Immunology Research, which will publish original articles on major advances in cancer immunology. A print preview issue was distributed at the annual meeting.


Contact: Scott Merville
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Related medicine news :

1. National initiative launched to change the way biology departments approach undergraduate education
2. UC Santa Barbaras Kavli Institute receives 2 grants to explore interface of physics and biology
3. Notre Dame researchers paper examines the biology of tumor-derived microvesicles
4. Biology Leaves Gay Men Highly Vulnerable to HIV: Study
5. Boston University researchers expand synthetic biologys toolkit
6. Microbiology and Genome Experts Quell Deadly Bacteria Outbreak
7. College biology faculty named Leadership Fellows
8. American Physiological Society’s October conference examines the integrative biology of exercise
9. CSHL Press releases new book on the biology of drug addiction
10. 22 young group leaders recognized as European Molecular Biology Organization Young Investigators
11. Scientists at the Institute of Molecular Biology identify key event for sex determination
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Many families have long-term ... long-term care insurance companies have a waiver for care if the client has a ... when the family pays for care, is often waived, so the benefits from their ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 13, 2017 , ... Talented host, actor Rob Lowe, is ... a new episode of "Success Files," which is an award-winning educational program broadcasted ... each subject in-depth with passion and integrity. , Sciatica occurs when the sciatic ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... CitiDent and San Francisco dentists, ... cutting-edge Oventus O2Vent technology. As many as 18 million Americans are estimated to ... breathing. Oral appliances can offer significant relief to about 75 percent of people ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Asante, a nationally ... care, have expanded their existing home health joint venture through an agreement, effective ... operating a joint venture home health company with Asante, delivering clinically integrated care, ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... ... On Saturday, October 21, the Health & Wellness Center at Florida Hospital ... for the American Heart Association Heart Walk. Teams of up to 10 people can ... their treadmills moving for 5 hours. Treadmills will start at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... EXTON, Pa. , Oct. 12, 2017 ... global leader in innovative solutions for injectable drug administration, ... results before the market opens on Thursday, October 26, ... discuss the results and business expectations at 9:00 a.m. ... 877-930-8295 (U.S.) or 253-336-8738 (International). The conference ID is ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... FRISCO, Texas , Oct. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... healthcare services, has amplified its effort during National ... patients about hereditary cancer risks. ... Journal of Clinical Oncology calculated that more than ... to have inherited mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 and ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... EXTON, Pa. , Oct. 10, 2017   ... leader in innovative solutions for injectable drug administration, today ... of West,s ID Adapter for improving the intradermal administration ... the Fourth Skin Vaccination Summit in May 2017 by ... Team Lead, Polio Department, World Health Organization (WHO), and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: