Cure is a big word.

Carl H.  June, MD
University of Pennsylvania

Carl H. June, MD, of University of Pennsylvania/Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center, is Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy’s most high-profile success story. Fueled by our early-stage funding, Dr. June and his team launched a new era in cancer cell and gene therapy research with the world’s first successful and sustained use of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) gene transfer therapy to create “serial killer” T cells (CAR T cells) to battle cancerous tumors.

Their research success led directly to the first life-saving CAR T-cell therapies for treatment of certain children and young adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and for treatment of certain forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In 2012, Dr. June treated the first child in the world with CAR T-cell therapy — Emily Whitehead, when she was just seven years old. Incredibly, the CAR T-cell therapy worked, and Emily has been in remission since. Read Emily’s story here.

Documented in more than 350 original research articles published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, Dr. June’s achievements have been showered with distinguished honors that range from memberships in the U.S. National Academies of Sciences and Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to being named one of Time magazine’s most influential people of 2018 and being featured on the front page of the New York Times science section

Scores of prestigious international honors include the celebrated CRI William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology, SITC Richard V. Smalley Memorial Award, AACR-CRI Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology, Philadelphia Award, Taubman Institute Prize for Excellence in Translational Medical Science, Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize, Novartis Prize in Immunology, AABB Karl Landsteiner Memorial Award, University of Debrecen Award for Molecular Medicine and LLS Lifetime Achievement Award.   

As the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and as director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies at the Perelman School of Medicine and as director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. June’s work continues in full force – as does his optimism.  

“Cure is a big word,” says Dr. June, “and that’s been the goal from the beginning for cell and gene therapy. It wasn’t to hit lay-ups in basketball terms, it was to hit three-pointers.”  

Dr. June’s vision and leadership contributions are a testament to the high quality and high value of Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy’s Scientific Advisory Council and its mission-driven commitment. 

“Cure is a big word and that’s been the goal from the beginning for cell and gene therapy. It wasn’t to hit lay-ups in basketball terms, it was to hit three-pointers.”

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