April 13, 2016
MD Anderson experts named to National Cancer Moonshot advisory panel
BY Scott Merville
Two cancer experts at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have been named to a blue ribbon panel to advise the National Cancer Institute in its work with Vice President Joe Biden’s National Cancer Moonshot.
Jim Allison, Ph.D., professor and chair of Immunology and executive director of MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program immunotherapy platform, and W.K. Alfred Yung, M.D., professor of Neuro-Oncology and member of the Glioblastoma Moon Shot team, were named to the panel announced recently by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.
The 28-member group will provide scientific guidance through recommendations to the presidentially appointed National Cancer Advisory Board. President Obama announced the National Cancer Moonshot during his State of the Union speech on Jan. 12, appointing Biden to lead the task force, and later revealing a $1 billion initiative aimed at achieving a decade’s worth of advances against cancer in five years.
“It’s an honor to serve on the Blue Ribbon Panel for this important effort and to contribute to its focus on the growing field of cancer immunotherapy,” Allison said. “Our experience establishing the immunotherapy platform and connecting it with our Moon Shots Program also will provide useful perspective for this effort.”
Allison invented immune checkpoint blockade – freeing the immune system to attack cancer by disrupting a brake that halts immune response. He came to MD Anderson in 2012, establishing the immunotherapy platform to advance translational and clinical research progress in the field and leading the institution’s basic research efforts in immunology.
Yung is an expert in clinical research and treatment of glioblastoma multiforme, the most lethal form of brain tumor. Yung has been a leader in glioblastoma investigations by The Cancer Genome Atlas, a joint effort by the NCI and the National Human Genome Research Institute to characterize the genetic variations behind cancer. He was senior author on a recent TCGA paper in the New England Journal of Medicine identifying molecular differences between various forms of gliomas that could guide diagnosis and treatment.
“I look forward to contributing to this focused initiative to improve how we treat glioblastoma and other difficult cancers,” Yung said. “We have a responsibility to the patients we serve to make a collective and significant impact in our fight to end cancer.”
Read more about the advisory panel on MD Anderson's website.