Senior Member, Department of Molecular Oncology and Immunology, Oncode Institute, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam
Professor of Immunotechnology, Leiden University Medical Center
Leiden, The Netherlands
For groundbreaking work that has defined how the human immune system recognizes cancer cells and for developing innovative new technologies to determine how such recognition may be strengthened for therapeutic purposes, which has led to the ability to examine tumor-specific immune responses and harness this knowledge to develop more specific and effective cancer immunotherapies.
The AACR-Cancer Research Institute Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology recognizes an active scientist whose outstanding and innovative research has made a major impact on the cancer field and has the potential to stimulate new directions in cancer immunology.
Dr. Schumacher is an internationally acclaimed scientist whose discoveries have advanced fundamental immunology research as well as cancer medicine. His early research focused on developing new methods to determine which fragments of tumor antigens bind to MHC molecules that are subsequently recognized by T cells, thereby activating targeted immune responses. Recognizing the translational potential of this early work, Schumacher next laid the groundwork to genetically transfer specific T-cell receptors (TCRs) onto T cells to better direct the immune response toward a pathogen or tumor. His group was the first to successfully conduct in vivo proof-of-principle TCR gene therapy in mice. This discovery led to the first clinical trial of TCR gene therapy in patients with skin cancer. Schumacher’s subsequent research has since focused on overcoming potentially dangerous safety barriers related to TCR gene therapy, developing methods to identify the best TCRs for directing T cells to tumors, and identifying healthy donors as a potential source of TCRs to be directed against cancer cells. To learn more, please visit the press release.