PA) - Carl June, MD, Professor of Pathology and
Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School
of Medicine and Director of Translational Research at Penn's
Abramson Cancer Center, was awarded the Bristol-Myers
Squibb Company Freedom to Discover Unrestricted Biomedical Research
Grant. These five-year grants support pioneering, risk-taking, basic
“It's an extreme honor,” notes June. “It's a wonderful
privilege and the timing is perfect. We will use this to take advantage
of the momentum from the research advances we have already achieved.
This award gives us the ability to test our promising new therapies
and is especially valuable, given the present climate of flat federal
funding for cancer research.”
The grants-each $500,000-can be used by the researchers as they
see fit, without restrictions. This year 13 researchers-in the fields
of cancer, nutrition, neuroscience, cardiovascular diseases, infectious
diseases, metabolic diseases, and synthetic organic chemistry-were
awarded a total of $6.5 million.
June will use the grant to continue his pioneering work on developing
immune-system-based cancer vaccines. These vaccines, which are used
to help treat patients already diagnosed with cancer, enlist a patient's
own immune cells to recognize and kill tumor cells. “So far,
we're testing this approach to develop customized cancer vaccines
in leukemia and in patients with solid tumors like lung and ovarian
cancers,” notes June.
The long-term goal of this research is to develop effective therapies
for cancers that are not curable with currently available chemotherapy.
Another objective is to test whether patient-specific tumor vaccines
can prevent tumors from developing in patients who have an increased
risk of developing cancer.
PENN Medicine is a $2.7 billion enterprise
dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical
research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists
of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in
1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of
Pennsylvania Health System.
Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation
for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in
U.S. News & World Report’s most recent ranking of top
research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty
and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide
for its superior education and training of the next generation of
physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System comprises: its
flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania,
consistently rated one of the nation’s “Honor Roll”
hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital,
the nation's first hospital; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; a
faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty
satellite facilities; and home health care and hospice.