Dr. Allison is the Chair of the Department of Immunology, the Vivian L. Smith Distinguished Chair in Immunology, Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Research, and the Executive Director of the Immunotherapy Platform at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Allison spent a distinguished career studying the regulation of T-cell responses and developing strategies for cancer immunotherapy.
Dr. Allison´s work led to the development of an antibody towards human CTLA-4 called ipilimumab, which became the first immune checkpoint inhibitor and cleared the path for the emerging field of using checkpoint inhibitors in the treatment of cancer.
In 2018 Dr. Allison earned the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which he shared with Dr. Tasuku Honjo, "for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation".
Dr. Allison's current work seeks to improve immune checkpoint blockade therapies currently used and to identify new targets to unleash the immune system in order to eradicate cancer.
Dr. Sharma is professor in the departments of Genitourinary Medical Oncology and Immunology, and the Scientific Director for the Immunotherapy Platform at MD Anderson Cancer Center. She is also a Scientific Director of Scientific Programs for the James P. Allison Institute at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Dr. Sharma is a nationally and internationally renowned physician scientist whose research work is focused on investigating mechanisms and pathways within the immune system that facilitate tumor rejection. In partnership with Dr. Allison, Dr. Sharma is currently exploring combinations of immunological therapies and targeted drugs to treat a variety of cancers more effectively.
Dr. Sharma is a trained medical oncologist and immunologist and the T.C. and Jeanette D. Hsu Endowed Chair in Cell Biology. She designed and conducted the first pre-surgical trial, also known as a window-of-opportunity trial, with immune checkpoint therapy (anti-CTLA-4) in 2004, which allowed her to study the impact of immune checkpoint therapy on human tumors.
Dr. Marabelle is the Clinical Director of the Cancer Immunotherapy Program at Gustave Roussy Cancer Center in Villejuif, France, and he works as a Senior Medical Oncologist and an investigator in the Drug Development Department (DITEP). He leads a translational research laboratory (LRTI) within the INSERM U1015 with a focus on mechanisms of action of immune targeted therapies. He is also the director of the Clinical Investigation Center BIOTHERIES dedicated to intratumoral immunotherapies.
Dr. Marabelle´s clinical practice is dedicated to early phase clinical trials in cancer immunotherapy and his translational research is focused on mechanisms of action of immune checkpoint monoclonal antibodies.
Dr. Demaria is currently a Professor of Radiation Oncology and Pathology at Weill Cornell Medicine Medical College where she leads basic and preclinical studies in radiation and immunity. Dr. Demaria is internationally known for her studies demonstrating the synergy of local radiation therapy with different immunotherapeutic agents and was the first to show that radiotherapy can convert breast tumors unresponsive to immune checkpoint inhibitors into responsive ones.
Dr. Demaria’s current work is aimed at identifying the molecular mechanisms that regulate ionizing radiation’s ability to generate in situ tumor vaccination in preclinical tumor models, as well as in cancer patients treated with various combinations of radiation and immunotherapy.
Dr. Andtbacka is an internationally renowned surgical oncologist and leader in melanoma and intratumoral immuno-oncology. He has over 20 years of experience in immune-oncology clinical research and development. Before joining the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah in 2006, he completed a 3-year fellowship in surgical oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He received his medical degree and training in general surgery at McGill University. At the Huntsman Cancer Institute, Dr. Andtbacka served as Co-director of the Melanoma and Cutaneous Oncology Program and Director of the Melanoma Clinical Research Program. Under his leadership, he established an internationally recognized comprehensive surgical and clinical research program in intratumoral immune-oncology and led over 30 clinical trials, evaluating different novel immune-oncology therapies including the OPTiM Phase III clinical trial which led to the approval of the oncolytic virus talimogene laherparepvec (TVEC[JE1] ) in patients with unresectable metastatic melanoma.
Dr. Andtbacka currently serves as Chief Medical Officer at HiFiBIO Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focusing on immunomodulatory antibodies.
Dr. Agrawal is a founder of Idera Pharmaceuticals and has served Idera in various roles including Chairman, CEO, President of Research, and Chief Scientific Officer. In 2017, Dr. Agrawal retired from Idera to pursue new scientific endeavors. Dr. Agrawal conducted his post-doctoral research at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology of Medical Research Council, Cambridge, UK, and at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology, now merged with The University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, USA. Dr. Agrawal's research has been focused on the discovery and development of nucleic acid therapeutics, and his pioneering publications on antisense technology in the late 1980's led to the establishment of a new drug discovery approach.
Dr. Agrawal is currently serving as a member of the Business Advisory Board of The Harvard Medical School Initiative for RNA Medicine and has been appointed Visiting Professor at the Department of Medicine at The University of Massachusetts Medical School.