AACR-Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Young Investigator Award for Translational Cancer Research

The AACR-Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Young Investigator Award for Translational Cancer Research provides funding to physician-scientists to encourage and promote quality research in clinical oncology.

2022 grantee

Adrienne Long, MD, PhD

Adrienne Long, MD, PhD

Clinical Fellow

The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University

Stanford, California

Using thymic tissue to identify high-affinity TCRs targeting Ewing sarcoma


An emerging immunotherapy approach involves the use of T cells engineered to express a T cell receptor (TCR) with defined specificity against oncofetal antigens (developmental proteins expressed by tumors but not by healthy, post-natal tissue). The development of this approach, however, has been largely limited by the difficulty in isolating high-affinity TCRs that target oncofetal antigens. This is because oncofetal antigens are non-mutated self-peptides, and thus inherently less immunogenic. Dr. Long is poised to use fundamentals of central tolerance and T cell development to create novel methods that will redefine how the field identifies high-affinity cancer-specific TCRs, and specifically identify high-affinity TCRs with a strong potential for clinical translation in the treatment of Ewing sarcoma.


 Dr. Long received her BS and MD from Northwestern University, and her PhD while working at the NIH. For her thesis, she was the first to define T cell exhaustion as a major limiter of CAR efficacy. She completed a pediatrics residency at Boston Children’s Hospital and a hematology/oncology fellowship at Stanford. As a pediatric oncologist, she is developing novel immunotherapies for children with cancer. She is also an instructor at Stanford University, where she continues her postdoctoral research on how thymic selection, designed to prevent autoimmunity, may contribute to poor antitumor immunity in children.

 Acknowledgment of Support

The generous support of the AACR-Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO will be instrumental in helping me become an independent physician-scientist who translates novel immunotherapies into the clinic. Their funding also highlights the importance of developing immunotherapies for pediatric solid tumors, and provides the necessary support towards making this a reality.