Cancer Immunotherapy: Have We Reached a Checkpoint or the End?

Friday, June 16
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM

Sponsored By: 

Suzanne Topalian

Professor, Surgery and Oncology
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Suzanne L. Topalian, M.D.

Professor, Surgery and Oncology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Director, Melanoma Program, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
Associate Director, The Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy

Dr. Topalian received her medical degree from the Tufts University School of Medicine and completed a general surgery residency at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. She was a research fellow and then a Senior Investigator in the National Cancer Institute, NIH. She joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2006 to become the inaugural director of the Melanoma Program in the Kimmel Cancer Center. Dr. Topalian is a physician-scientist whose studies of human anti-tumor immunity have provided a foundation for the clinical development of cancer vaccines, adoptive T cell transfer, and immune-modulating monoclonal antibodies. Her current research focuses on manipulating “immune checkpoints” such as PD-1 in cancer therapy, discovering biomarkers predicting clinical outcomes, and developing effective treatment combinations. Dr. Topalian has been recognized for these contributions. She was named one of Nature’s 10 in 2014, received the Karnofsky Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology in 2015, was elected to the American Association of Physicians in 2016, and received the 2016 Taubman Prize for landmark discoveries in immunotherapy. Her work has opened new avenues of scientific investigation in cancer immunology and immunotherapy, and has established this treatment approach as a pillar of oncology.


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James P. Allison

Chairman, Department of Immunology Director, Immunotherapy Platform Deputy Director, David H. Koch Center for Applied Studies Genitourinary Cancer Vivian L. Smith, Distinguished Chair in Immunology Co-Director, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

As an immunologist, Dr. James Allison’s 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 that the molecule CTLA-4 is an inhibitory checkpoint 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. His development of the concept of immune checkpoint blockade has transformed cancer therapy and saved thousands of lives.

Dr. Allison is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. He has received numerous awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Immunologists, the Lloyd J. Old Award and Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award from the American Association for Cancer Research, the Novartis Award for Clinical Immunology, the Medal of Honor in Basic Research from the American Cancer Society, the Harvey prize in Human Health from the Israeli Insitute of Technology, the Economist Magazine Innovation Prize for Biomedicine, the Breakthrough Prize in Biosciences, the Szent-Gyorgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research, and Lasker-Debakey Clinical Medical Research Award, and the Wolf Prize in Medicine.


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Drew Pardoll

Abeloff Professor of Oncology, Director, Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy
Johns Hopkins University

Drew M. Pardoll, MD, PhD
Abeloff Professor of Oncology
Director of the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy
Director, Cancer Immunology
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Dr. Pardoll is an Abeloff Professor of Oncology, Medicine, Pathology and Molecular Biology and Genetics at the Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine. He is the Director of the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and Co-Director of the Cancer Immunology Program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Pardoll attended Johns Hopkins University, where he earned his M.D., Ph.D., in 1982 and completed his Medical Residency and Oncology Fellowship in 1985. He then worked for three years at the National Institutes of Health as a Medical Staff Fellow. Dr. Pardoll joined the departments of oncology and medicine in 1988. Dr. Pardoll has published over 300 papers as well as over 20 book chapters on the subject of T cell immunology and cancer vaccines. Over the past two decades, Dr. Pardoll has studied molecular aspects of dendritic cell biology and immune regulation, particularly related to mechanisms by which cancer cells evade elimination by the immune system. He is an inventor of a number of immunotherapies, including GVAX cancer vaccines and Listeria monocytogenes based cancer vaccines. His more than 300 articles cover cancer vaccines, gene therapies, cancer prevention technologies, recombinant immune modulatory agents for specific pathways that regulate immunity to cancer and infectious diseases.


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Cancer Immunotherapy: Have We Reached a Checkpoint or the End?

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