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Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer Names Recipients of Memorial Award and Lectureship


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The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) has announced three recipients of the 2020 Richard V. Smalley, MD, Memorial Award and Lectureship, the society’s highest honor: they include Lieping Chen, MD, PhD, Gordon Freeman, PhD, and Arlene Sharpe, MD, PhD.

The research conducted by Drs. Freeman, Chen, and Sharpe formed the foundation for developing immune checkpoint blockade immunotherapies and will be featured during the SITC 35th Anniversary Annual Meeting in November.

“The contributions Drs. Chen, Freeman, and Sharpe have made to the area of immune checkpoint inhibitors have fundamentally changed the treatment of cancer,” said SITC President Mario Sznol, MD. “The current success of cancer immunotherapy can be traced back to their foundational mechanistic studies and commitment to translating their findings to the clinic.”

Dr. Chen’s lab studied lymphocyte costimulation and coinhibition and their application in treating human diseases for over 25 years. Dr. Chen will deliver hisRichard V. Smalley, MD, Memorial Lectureship titled “Why were we interested in immunity within the tumor microenvironment in the 1990s?” at SITC 2020.

Dr. Chen is the United Technologies Corporation Professor in Cancer Research, Professor of Immunobiology, Dermatology and Medical Oncology at Yale School of Medicine, and co-leader of the Cancer Immunology Program at the Yale Cancer Center in New Haven, Connecticut.

Dr. Freeman’s lab identified the major pathways that control the immune response by inhibiting T-cell activation (PD-1/PD-L1 and B7-2/CTLA-4) or stimulating T-cell activation (B7-2/CD28). The title of Dr. Freeman’s lecture is “The PD-L1/PD-1 Pathway: Discovery and New Insights.”

Dr. Freeman is in the Department of Medical Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Sharpe’s lab recently developed a CRISPR/Cas9 screening platform to identify genes that regulate T cell tolerance and T cell exhaustion in immune cells, and is using this approach to determine how perturbation of coinhibitory receptors and other immunoregulatory genes can improve responses to PD-1 checkpoint blockade. Dr. Sharpe will deliver her Richard V. Smalley, MD, Memorial Lectureship titled, “Discovery of New IO Targets and Mechanisms Leveraging CRISPR” discussing her recent work.

Dr. Sharpe is the George Fabyan Professor of Comparative Pathology, Chair of the Department of Immunology at Harvard Medical School, and Co--Director of the Evergrande Center for Immunologic Diseases at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.


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