Allison, chair of Immunology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, is being acknowledged for his groundbreaking discovery that blocking cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) signaling improves anti-tumor immune responses, as well as for his role in developing the CTLA-4 inhibitor ipilimumab (Yervoy), which was the first of a new class of cancer immunotherapeutics called immune checkpoint inhibitors. Ipilimumab, which was approved to treat metastatic melanoma by the Food and Drug Administration in 2011, was the first therapeutic to improve survival rates among patients with this deadly form of cancer.
At MD Anderson, Allison also serves as executive director of the immunology platform for MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program, associate director of the Center for Cancer Immunology Research, deputy director of the David H. Koch Center for Applied Research in Genitourinary Cancer, and the Lilian H. Smith distinguished chair of immunology. He is a member of the AACR board of directors. He is also deputy editor of Cancer Immunology Research and scientific editor of Cancer Discovery.
“I am deeply honored and humbled to receive the Pezcoller Award,” said Allison. “This award by the AACR recognizes the efforts of my research team over the years to develop strategies to unleash the immune system to treat cancer, as well as the many other investigators, clinicians, and patients whose efforts and courage made immunotherapy of cancer a reality that is benefiting cancer patients.”