Carl H. June, MD, received the Watanabe Award in 2015. He is the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy and Director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
June’s pioneering work has been widely recognized as a major turning point in delivering on the long-held promise of cancer gene therapy. He has made paradigm‐shifting contributions to the field of cellular immunology, with potentially field‐changing implications for the clinical treatment of advanced leukemia and by extension, other cancers. In basic science studies, June’s laboratory discovered the CD28 pathway that controls T cell growth, and in later translational studies, his laboratory developed robust T cell culture systems that permit the growth of central memory T cells. He has since applied these culture systems to develop groundbreaking cell‐based approaches for immunotherapy of cancer and HIV infection, with unprecedented results.