Chairman, Department of Immunology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies
The Szent-Györgyi Prize Selection Committee recognizes Dr. Allison momentous achievement in the fight against cancer and his extraordinary leadership in the modern era of oncology.
Dr. Allison, along with Dr. Jeff Bluestone, was the first to show that a protein receptor on T cells, the enforcers of the immune system, acts as a checkpoint to shut down immune response. Allison developed an antibody that unleashes the immune system to attack cancer by blocking the immune checkpoint molecule CTLA-4 and conducted extensive preclinical work showing that blockade of CTLA-4 could lead to rejection of many types of tumors. This research led to the development of the first drug to significantly extend survival for patients with late-stage melanoma.
From 2004 to 2012, Dr, Allison served as Chairman of the Immunology program and other distinguished positions at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Prior to 2004, Dr. Allison was faculty at the University of California, Berkley; Stanford University; and the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center. He earned his Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Allison has won numerous honors for biomedical research including the inaugural AACR-CRI Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology, The Economist’s 2013 Innovations Award for Bioscience, and a 2014 Breakthrough prize in Life Sciences. He co-leads a Stand Up to Cancer Dream Team research project in immunotherapy.