Carl June, M.D.
Dr. June is a Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Investigator, Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute. He is also Director, Translational of Research for the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. June’s laboratory research interests are in lymphocyte biology and immunotherapy. In 1990 he created the first artificial antigen presenting cell (aAPC), and a clinically robust human CD4 cell culture expansion system. Dr. June’s Program in Translational Research has resulted in more than 10 phase I trials involving biologic and cellular therapies for cancer and HIV.
Under Dr. June, the translational research team has accelerated the pace in bringing research advances to the clinical setting. The group focuses on developing cancer vaccines. Supporting this effort is the vaccine production facility, led by Bruce Levine, Ph.D., which manufactures vaccines for individual patients.
Through innovative clinical trials, the team is assessing the effectiveness of strategies for enhancing the immune system's ability to recognize and eliminate tumor cells. One new therapy under evaluation, called adoptive immunotherapy, uses a patient's own white blood cells to attack cancer cells. The patient's white blood cells are stimulated in the laboratory and then given back to the patient via transfusion. Another approach being tested is customized vaccination. Abramson immunologists are working with Penn thoracic surgeons and medical oncologists to develop treatment vaccines for patients with non-small cell lung cancer whose tumors cannot be removed surgically or whose cancer has spread. The team is using the patient's own tumor tissue to create a vaccine customized for that individual. This approach is having promising clinical and scientific results.
Most ovarian tumors are responsive to chemotherapy, giving patients long remissions. For those whose cancer recurs, Abramson immunologists are working with Penn gynecologic surgeons and oncologists to develop immune-based therapies. These include the development of a vaccine using donor T cells, injection of the chemotherapy agent interleukin 12 directly into the abdominal cavity rather than through the vein, and the use of white blood cells called dendritic cells to increase the effectiveness of vaccines.
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