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Renowned Cancer Immunotherapy Researcher Jim Allison Joins ACT for NIH Advisory Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C.; JUNE 28, 2018 – ACT for NIH announced today that James P. Allison, Ph.D., has joined its Advisory Committee. Dr. Allison is Chair of the Department of Immunology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Executive Director of the Center’s Immunotherapy Platform.

“What an honor it is to have Dr. Allison join our advisory committee,” said ACT for NIH founder Jed Manocherian.  “His work in cancer immunotherapy has transformed medical research and oncology, and gives hope to the millions of patients anxiously awaiting cures. Until Allison’s work, cancer patients’ only options were chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation.  Since immunotherapies began reaching patients in 2011, oncologists have begun to discuss when it may be possible to describe a cancer as ‘cured’,” Manocherian added.

Dr. Allison has had a distinguished career studying the regulation of T cell responses and developing strategies for cancer immunotherapy. Work in his lab led to the development of ipilimumab, an antibody to human CTLA-4, which became the first immune checkpoint blockade therapy approved by the FDA in 2011.  Ipilimumab is the first of the new wave of cancer immunotherapies and is prescribed to patients with metastatic melanoma, cutaneous melanoma, renal cell carcinoma, and lung cancer.

Among many honors, Dr. Allison is a member of the National Academies of Science and Medicine, and he received the Lasker-Debakey Clinical Medical Research award in 2015. His current work seeks to improve immune checkpoint blockade therapies currently used by clinicians and identify new targets to unleash the immune system to attack cancer cells.

“I have a family member who, six years ago, was given 18 months to live,” said ACT for NIH President Pat White. “He was prescribed ipilimumab for metastatic melanoma and is still with us today.  I worked with Jim when I was at the American Association of Immunologists, and he is a natural advocate for restoring our national commitment to biomedical research and NIH funding. I’m honored to be working with him again,” White added.

Dr. Allison joins the current ACT for NIH Advisory Committee made up of award-winning researchers, academic leaders, philanthropists, and passionate advocates for medical research:

David Baltimore, Ph.D.; President Emeritus, California Institute of Technology
Retta Beery; Founder, Hope Knows No Boundaries
The Honorable Eric Cantor; Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Moelis & Company
Ronald DePinho, M.D., The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Jennifer Doudna, Ph.D., Professor, University of California, Berkeley
Bernadette Gray-Little, Ph.D., 17th Chancellor, University of Kansas
The Honorable Tom Harkin; The Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement
Michael Milken, Medical Research Innovator and Public Health Advocate
Siddhartha Mukherjee, M.D. Ph.D.; Assistant Professor of Medicine, Columbia University
Perry Nisen, M.D., Ph.D.; Board of Directors, Teva Pharmaceuticals
Sean Parker; Founder, The Parker Foundation
Ronald Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Mayo Alzheimer's Disease Research Center
Lori Wilson, M.D. FACS; Associate Professor of Surgery, Howard University College of Medicine

ACT for NIH: Advancing Cures Today is a non-partisan effort committed to advancing biomedical research in the United States. Our goal is simple: we seek the immediate restoration of funding for NIH followed by steady, predictable budget support in the future to enhance lifesaving research for patients around the world.  Learn more at actfornih.org.

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