Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, is professor of medicine, surgery, and molecular and medical pharmacology at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). He serves as director of the Tumor Immunology Program at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Center at UCLA.
His research has focused on the use of immunotherapy to treat melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. He led the clinical program that demonstrated the effectiveness of the immunotherapeutic pembrolizumab (Keytruda), which has been a significant advancement in the treatment of melanoma. Recent work includes laboratory and clinical translational research in adoptive cell transfer therapy with T-cell receptor engineered lymphocytes; examining the antitumor activity of PD-1-blocking antibodies; testing novel targeted therapies blocking oncogenic events in melanoma; and studying primary and acquired resistance to melanoma therapies.
Dr. Ribas earned his medical degree from the University of Barcelona in 1990. He conducted his internship and residency in medical oncology at Hospital Vall d’Hebron, then held a fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at UCLA School of Medicine from 1998 through 2001. He earned his PhD from the Autonomous University of Barcelona in 1997.
From 2001 to 2010, Dr. Ribas was the assistant director for Clinical Programs at the UCLA Human Gene Medicine Program. He led the Jonsson Cancer Center’s Cell and Gene Therapy Core Facility from 2004 to 2010. Outside his roles at UCLA, he co-led the Stand Up to Cancer-Cancer Research Institute-AACR Immunotherapy Dream Team with Nobel Laureate James Allison.
Dr. Ribas has been a member of the AACR Board of Directors since 2016. In addition to his role as president, Ribas served as Program Chair for the AACR Annual Meeting 2020, the preeminent international meeting in cancer research. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the scientific program for the in-person meeting was adapted into two groundbreaking Virtual Annual Meetings under his innovative leadership, with more than 100,000 registered attendees from 140 countries around the world for both virtual meetings combined. To rapidly respond to the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, he formed an AACR COVID-19 and Cancer Task Force that includes experts from all the disciplines relevant to this disease and its impact on cancer. One of the first actions spearheaded by the Task Force was the organization of an AACR Virtual Meeting dedicated to COVID-19 and Cancer and the related scientific and policy advances.
He has been cochair of the AACR Combination Therapies Think Tank (2019); vice chair (2018-2019) and cochair (2015-2016) of the Annual Meeting Program Committee; cochair of the AACR-NCI-EORTC Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics Conference (2017, 2018); cochair of the Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Conference (2016); cochair of the Annual Meeting Education Committee (2015-2016); and member of the Cancer Immunology Working Group Steering Committee (2014-2016). He was the chair of the AACR-CRI Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology Review Committee (2013-2014); Scientific Editor, Cancer Discovery (2014-present); and a member of the Editorial Board of Clinical Cancer Research (2012-2014).
He has also served on several other committees including the AACR NextGen Transformative Grants Scientific Review Committee and the Clinical and Translational Cancer Research Grants Scientific Review Committee.
Dr. Ribas has been a member of the national Blue Ribbon Panel Working Group. He is an elected member of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Catalonia and the American Society of Clinical Investigation. Among many professional honors, he received the AACR-CRI Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology in 2018; and the Lila and Murray Gruber Memorial Cancer Research Award and Lectureship from the American Academy of Dermatology, the Giants of Cancer Care Award from OncLife, and the R35 Outstanding Researcher Award from the National Cancer Institute, all in 2015. He also received the AACR Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Award in 2014, the Outstanding Researcher Award from the Society for Melanoma Research in 2013, the Mary Kay Ash Foundation Award in 2007, and the Junior Researcher Award from the Melanoma Research Foundation in 2005. In 2020, he was elected a Fellow of the AACR Academy.
Dr. Ribas holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Buenos Aires.