Carl H. June, University of Pennsylvania, USA
Professor June is one of the best known researchers in the cancer research field and is among the most influential people in biopharma today. He has made extraordinary achievements on developing anti-cancer immunotherapies and played a leading role in the successful clinical translation of chimeric antigen receptor T cells for the therapy of end-stage, refractory leukemia. He focused on developing treatments with T cells that have been genetically engineered to target cancer. These chimeric antigen receptor T cells (known as CAR T cells), are modified immune cells which have proven effective in eliminating cancer in some patients, and offer great hope for this emerging strategy in cancer immunotherapy. His groundbreaking work has demonstrated that T cells, modified in the lab to carry the antibody-like chimeric antigen receptor, can be infused back into a patient’s bloodstream, where they effectively combat cancer cells. Clinical studies of this approach have shown great efficacy. It is considered a landmark breakthrough in treating blood cancers that have stopped responding to conventional therapies. Several clinical trials involving personalized adoptive immunotherapy with autologous and allogeneic T cells are in progress.