AACR Announces Recipient of 2023 Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research

By Cecilia Brown - Last Updated: April 13, 2023

Carl H. June, MD, a Fellow of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Academy, will receive the 2023 AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research during the AACR Annual Meeting in April.  

Dr. June, who has made “seminal contributions” to chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy for blood cancers, is the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy, Director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies, and Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, AACR officials said in a news release about the award. 

The AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research was established to honor an individual who has made significant fundamental contributions to cancer research, either through a single scientific discovery or a body of work.  

“He is recognized for his groundbreaking work in developing the first gene-edited cell therapy for cancer and for demonstrating that adoptive T-cell therapy can induce remission and, in some cases, cure patients with advanced cancer,” AACR officials said in the release. “Following his early report of synthetic T-cell activation nearly 30 years ago, June successfully developed a method of producing [CAR] T cells to treat refractory and relapsed leukemia. This technology, which involves the genetic reengineering of a patient’s T cells to combat their disease, is the first gene transfer therapy technique that has demonstrated sustained success in cancer patients and has shown tremendous promise for the treatment of hematologic malignancies.” 

Dr. June has been a member of the AACR since 2000, served as a member of the AACR Board of Directors from 2018 to 2021, and was elected as a Fellow of the AACR Academy in 2017. In 2015, June received the AACR-Cancer Research Institute Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology.  

“Dr. June is a trailblazer in the field of cancer immunotherapy whose scientific expertise and vision for the field have been crucial to pivotal scientific discoveries that have improved and saved many lives from cancer,” AACR Chief Executive Officer Margaret Foti, PhD, MD, said in the release. “His work has transformed the treatment of hematologic malignancies and holds great promise for many other types of cancer.” 

Dr. June is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2014) and an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (2012) and the National Academy of Sciences (2020). 

Source: AACR press release, February 2023  

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