A pioneer in the emerging field of immunotherapies, Dr. June has led groundbreaking work in engineering chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells for the treatment of refractory and relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia. This technology, which involves the genetic re-engineering of a patient ‘s own T cells to combat his or her disease, represents the first gene transfer therapy technique that has demonstrated sustained success in patients. This form of precision medicine has shown tremendous promise for the treatment of hematologic malignancies and has recently received breakthrough therapy designation for the treatment of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Dr. June was the first to utilize leukapheresis and subsequent genetic reengineering of isolated T cells to specifically recognize antigens overexpressed in B cell malignancies such as the B cell antigen CD19 (cluster of differentiation 19). He in turn named these modified T cells CART-19 cells on account of their specificity for identifying and targeting CD19-expressing B cells for T-cell mediated cell death. Response rates for patients receiving such CAR T-cell therapy have approached 90% for both adult and pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia and nearly 50% for chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients. Given the success of these preliminary results, additional ongoing studies have been devoted to utilizing CAR T-cell technology for the treatment of other hematologic malignancies including various forms of lymphoma and myeloma.
Dr. June’s ongoing research continues to be centered on further understanding lymphocyte activation mechanisms and T cell signaling in an effort to design novel immunotherapy-based treatments for viral infections as well as cancer.
2017 David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award and Lecture, American Society of Clinical Oncology
2016 Novartis Prize in Immunology
2015 Award for Distinguished Research in Biomedical Sciences, Association of American Medical Colleges
2015 AACR-Cancer Research Institute Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology
2015 E. Donnall Thomas Prize, American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation
2015 Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize, Paul Ehrlich Foundation
2014 Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
2014 Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence
2014 Karl Landsteiner Memorial Award, AABB
2013 Philadelphia Award
2012 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology, Cancer Research Institute
2012 Elected Member, Institute of Medicine
2008 Joan Miller and Linda Bernstein Gene Therapy Ovarian Cancer Award, Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy
2005-2009 Bristol-Myers Squibb Freedom to Discover Award
2005 Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer, Federal Laboratory Consortium
2002 Lifetime Achievement Award, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America