University of Texas MD Anderson chairs James P. Allison and Guillermina Lozano are two of the new five members of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) board of directors for the 2014-2017 term.
James P. Allison is the university chair of the department of immunology, associate director of the Center for Cancer Immunology Research and the deputy director of the David H. Koch Center for Applied Research in Genitourinary Cancer.
Known for his pioneering work on cancer immunotherapy, Dr. Allison has been presented with several major awards over the past year. The most recent was awarded by The Gairdner Foundation, a leading Canadian institution that recognizes major medical discoveries worldwide, highlighting his groundbreaking discovery of the receptor that T cells utilize in order to recognize and bind to antigens for immune attack. Once this first ‘blocker’ that blocks the immune system from effectively fighting cancer was identified, Allison was able to develop a treatment strategy that can clear this immune roadblock, the CTLA-4 immune molecule.
Dr. Guillermina Lozano is professor and chair of the department of genetics, co-director of the genetically engineered mouse facility, co-director of the Center for Genetics and Genomics, co-director of the sequencing and microarray facility, and co-director of the cancer genetics and epigenetics program at MD Anderson.
Dr. Lozano’s research at MD Anderson has made a significant impact on the field of cancer genetics through studying a gene known as p53. Lozano discovered that p53 is a type of protein known as a transcription factor that binds to DNA when activated to influence which genes are expressed. This genetic reprogramming occurs in response to DNA damage and other types of cellular stress. In other words, what was considered a cancer-causing before is now known as a cancer-preventing, thanks to Dr. Lozano’s work.
The other new three members of the AACR board of directors include Scott M. Lippman, adjunct professor at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; M. Celeste Simon, scientific director and investigator at the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania and Ronald M. Evans, professor at the Gene Expression Laboratory and March of Dimes chair in molecular and developmental biology at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California.