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Philip Greenberg, MD, to Present the 2019 American Society of Hematology E. Donnall Thomas Lecture

(WASHINGTON, July 12, 2019) – The American Society of Hematology (ASH) will honor Philip Greenberg, MD, of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington in Seattle with the 2019 E. Donnall Thomas Lecture and Prize for his outstanding contributions to the field of immunotherapy.

This lectureship and prize is named after the late Nobel Prize laureate and past president of ASH, E. Donnall Thomas, MD. The E. Donnall Thomas Lecture and Prize recognizes pioneering research achievements in hematology that represent a paradigm shift or significant discovery in the field.

Dr. Greenberg will present his lecture, The Long Road to Develop Adoptive Therapy with T Cells That Can Effectively Target Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and Other Malignancies, on Monday, December 9, at the 61st ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition in Orlando. This lecture will focus on how T cells have been engineered to effectively target AML and mediate clinical benefit; how obtaining high dimensional data using single cell genomics is providing insights into the reasons for success and failure; and how these studies will direct the design of the next generation of more effective therapies.

“It is a great honor to receive this prize, and in particular an award named after E. Donnall Thomas, who was a mentor, colleague, and friend,” said Dr. Greenberg. “Dr. Thomas recruited me to the research group at Fred Hutch in 1976, after I had completed training in basic immunology. At the time, I told him that I thought we would eventually be able to do away with bone marrow transplantation and replace it with T cells that specifically target cancer. Now, we are getting increasingly close to making that rather brash statement a reality.”

Dr. Greenberg is recognized internationally for his pioneering contributions to the development of T cell adoptive immune therapy, the process by which T cells are equipped with receptors that target and eradicate disease cells. He is known for having established the concept – as well as the associated methods and technologies – of isolating antigen-specific T cells in the laboratory and reproducing them to the numbers needed to be able to observe in vivo their activity for targeting a malignancy. This work, which began in the 1970s, has allowed researchers to explore the biology of the cells in detail to better understand how they function, as well as what obstacles may interfere with their activity. These studies began in animal models and then progressed to treating patients with severe viral infections as proof of principle. Currently, Dr. Greenberg’s team is using this approach to target acute myeloid leukemia, as well as solid tumors, in clinical trials.

Dr. Greenberg is a member and head of the Program in Immunology at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. He is also a professor of medicine and immunology at the University of Washington. He has trained many internationally recognized leaders in the field of cellular immune therapy and continues to mentor the next generation, with numerous prominent mentees. He was the recipient of the 2011 Cancer Research Institute’s William B. Coley Award for distinguished research in tumor immunology, and elected in 2019 as a fellow of the American Association of Cancer Research and distinguished fellow of the American Association of Immunologists. Additionally, he has published 284 peer-reviewed publications and chapters, most of which are in high-impact journals such as Blood, New England Journal of Medicine, Science, Nature Medicine, and Nature Communications.

“CAR T cell therapy strategies would not be as advanced today without the vision, creativity, and scientific rigor of Dr. Greenberg and his research team, and he continues to innovate and lead the evolution of these therapies,” said 2019 ASH President Roy Silverstein, MD, of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) (www.hematology.org) is the world’s largest professional society of hematologists dedicated to furthering the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting the blood. For 60 years, the Society has led the development of hematology as a discipline by promoting research, patient care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology. ASH publishes Blood, the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, which is available weekly in print and online, as well as the newly launched, online, peer-reviewed open-access journal, Blood Advances (www.bloodadvances.org).

Sara Khalaf, American Society of Hematology
[email protected]; 202-552-4925