Allison Will Receive 2016 AACI Distinguished Scientist Award

The Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) will present the AACI Distinguished Scientist Award to James P. Allison, PhD, on October 23, during the 2016 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting, in Chicago. Prior to the award presentation, Dr. Allison will deliver a talk entitled, “Immune Checkpoint Blockade in Cancer Therapy: New Insights, Opportunities and Prospects for a Cure”.

The AACI Distinguished Scientist Award acknowledges extraordinary scientific accomplishments and contributions to cancer research. Previous honorees are Lewis Cantley, Brian Druker, Lee Hartwell, Mary-Claire King, Timothy Ley, Janet Rowley, Stuart Schreiber, Margaret R. Spitz, Bert Vogelstein, Robert Weinberg and Irving Weissman.

Dr. Allison joined the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2012, where he is Professor of Immunology, Chair of the Department of Immunology, and Executive Director of the Immunotherapy Platform.

His fundamental discoveries include the definition of the structure of the T cell antigen receptor, demonstration that the T cell molecule CD28 provides costimulatory signals necessary for full T cells activation, and identification of the inhibitory checkpoint molecule CTLA-4, which inhibits activated T cells. He proposed that immune checkpoint blockade might be a powerful strategy for therapy of many cancer types, and conducted preclinical experiments showing its potential.

He was involved in the development of Ipilimumab, which was approved by the FDA for treatment of metastatic melanoma in 2011. In 2014, the FDA approved two antibodies to PD-1, a related immune checkpoint, for the treatment of melanoma.

In 2015 the FDA approved five additional CTLA-4 and PD-1 antibodies and combinations of both for the treatment of a variety of additional indications, including melanoma, lung, and kidney cancer.

Dr. Allison’s development of immune checkpoint blockade transformed cancer therapy and has been responsible for saving the lives of thousands of cancer patients.

AACI and the Cancer Center Administrators Forum (CCAF) jointly formulated the program for the 2016 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting. More information about the meeting, including the program and electronic registration, is available on the AACI website.