Penn professor Carl June receives Sanford Lorraine Cross award for cancer cell therapy

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Professor Carl June received the $1 million Sanford Lorraine Cross Award.

Perelman School of Medicine professor Carl June received the $1 million Sanford Lorraine Cross Award for his work in cancer cell therapy. 

June, who serves as the director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, revolutionized the use of the use of chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy to treat patients with cancer. CAR T-cell therapy is a treatment in which a patient’s T-cells, a type of white blood cell important to a human’s immune response, are modified to attack cancer cells.

Sanford Health announced the award on April 13 at a ceremony in South Dakota, Penn Medicine News reported. The prestigious one million dollar award recognizes profound innovation and achievements in the medical sciences.

Candidates for the award were selected through a meticulous selection process that concentrated on research and discovery that had innovatively impacted patients, according to Penn Today. 

June is the third Penn Medicine faculty member to receive the award, following professor of Ophthalmology Jean Bennett and President of Spark Therapeutics Katherine A. High, who received the award in 2018 for their work to develop a gene therapy that helped reverse an inherited form of blindness in patients. 

J. Larry Jameson, executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and dean of the Medical School, told Penn Medicine News that the award is “well-deserved.” 

“This is a well-deserved and exciting award for one of Penn’s most distinguished faculty members, whose pioneering research has reshaped the fight against cancer and brought fresh hope for both adults and children with the disease,” Jameson told Penn Medicine News. “His contributions truly have been transformative for patients across the globe and taken the field of oncology in new and powerful directions.”