Owen Witte, M.D. – Chairman
Dr. Witte is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Distinguished Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics where he holds the President's Chair in Developmental Immunology, and Professor of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He is the Founding Director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA.
Dr. Witte is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine and served on the Board of Directors for the American Association for Cancer Research. He has received recognition for his research including the Milken Foundation Award in Basic Cancer Research, the Rosenthal Award of the American Association for Cancer Research, the Dameshek Prize of the American Society of Hematology, the Alpert Foundation Prize, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s de Villiers International Achievement Award, and the UCLA Faculty Research Lecture.
Dr. Witte has made significant contributions to the understanding of human leukemias, immune disorders, and epithelial cancer stem cells. His work includes the discovery of tyrosine kinase activity for the ABL gene and the demonstration of the BCR-ABL oncoproteins in human leukemias. This has had practical impact in leading to the development of kinase targeted therapy as an effective treatment for these leukemias and other cancers. His work has led to the co-discovery of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase linked to X-linked agammagloblulinemia. Recent work has concentrated on defining the stem cells for epithelial cancers and new of therapies for these diseases.
Dr. Witte received his B.S. degree from Cornell University, his M.D. degree from Stanford University, and did postdoctoral research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
James P. Allison, Ph.D.
Dr. Allison is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Director of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Immunotherapy and the Chair of the Immunology Program at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Allison is the David H. Koch Chair in Immunologic Studies and Attending Immunologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Dr. Allison is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has served as President of the American Association of Immunologists. He has received numerous awards, including the Centeon Award for Innovative Breakthroughs in Immunology and the William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology. The AAI-Dana Award in Human Immunology Research and the C. Chester Stock Award for Distinguished Achievement in Biomedical Research.
Dr. Allison has a longstanding interest in mechanisms of T cell development and activation, and the development of novel strategies for tumor immunotherapy. He was the first to isolate the T cell antigen receptor and made many contributions to the understanding of process of T cell activation, including activating signals generated by recognition of specific antigens by the antigen receptor; costimulatory signals, and competing inhibitory signals. He has shown that blockade of the inhibitory signals of CTLA-4 can greatly enhance immune responses against tumors. In 2010 a Phase III trial of anti-CTLA-4 as monotherapy in metastatic melanoma showed an increase in overall survival. This work has established immune checkpoint blockade of CTLA-4 and other inhibitory molecules as a promising strategy for the treatment of cancer.
Dr. Allison received his B.S. and his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of Texas and his Ph.D.
James Economou, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Economou serves as the Vice Chancellor of Research at UCLA, Professor of Surgery, Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, and Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at UCLA. Dr. Economou is a world renowned expert in immunotherapy using multiple treatment modalities, and his laboratory has pioneered the development of the AFP-based immunization programs.
Dr. Economou received his education at Johns Hopkins and his general surgical training at UCSF. He joined the UCLA faculty in 1986 in addition; He founded and directed the UCLA Human Gene Medicine Program for over 15 years, building one of the largest and best respected gene therapy programs in the world. He has broad experience in cancer vaccine trials in both melanoma and hepatocellular carcinoma, all investigator-initiated.
Ronald Levy, M.D.
Dr. Ronald Levy is a Professor of Medicine, Director of the Lymphoma Program, and Former Chief of the Division of Oncology at Stanford University. He obtained his bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Harvard University in 1963 and his medical degree from Stanford University in 1968. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine.
Dr. Levy's research has focused for more than 20 years on monoclonal antibodies to B cells. He was the first to successfully treat human lymphoma with a monoclonal antibody, and went on to make important contributions to the development of rituximab (Rituxan®), for the treatment of patients with resistant low-grade lymphomas. He is currently conducting clinical trials of a lymphoma vaccine. His research concentrates on the study of malignant lymphoma, using the tools of immunology and molecular biology to develop a better understanding of the initiation and progression of the malignant process. Dr. Levy is using lymphocyte receptors as targets for new therapies for lymphoma. Dr. Levy has published over 270 articles in the fields of oncology and immunology.
Dr. Levy has received international acclaim for his work using the body's own arsenal to fight cancer. In 1982 he shared the first Armand Hammer Award for Cancer Research, and was later awarded the Ciba-Geigy/Drew Award in Biomedical Research, the American Society of Clinical Oncology Karnofsky Award, the General Motors Charles Kettering Prize, the Key to the Cure Award by the Cure for Lymphoma Foundation, the Medal of Honor by the American Cancer Society, the Evelyn Hoffman Memorial Award by the Lymphoma Research Foundation of America, the 2004 Damashek Prize from the American Society of Hematology and in 2009 he won the King Faisal International Prize.
Eric J. Small, M.D.
Dr. Small is the Chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology and Director of Clinical Sciences at Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCSF. Dr. Small is Professor-in-Residence of Medicine and Urology, and Leader of the Prostate Cancer Program in the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. He has contributed a significant body of work to the understanding of advanced prostate cancer, with themes involving the transition from hormone-sensitive to castration-resistant prostate cancer, the development of androgen receptor directed therapies, the development of risk assessment tools for patients with advanced prostate cancer, and prostate cancer immunotherapy. Dr Small is a clinical immunotherapy expert who has pioneered the clinical PROVENGE® clinical program.
Dr. Small served as the chair of the medical advisory board of Cougar Biotechnology. He serves as institutional Principal Investigator for UCSF's participation in the Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Clinical Consortium. Dr. Small has served on the NCI Prostate Cancer Progress Review Group, and serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, where he is responsible for Genitourinary Oncology. He served as the Scientific Program Committee Chair for ASCO. Additionally, he was a co-founder, the Multidisciplinary Genitourinary Oncology Symposium. Dr. Small has served as Chair of the Genitourinary Committee of the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) since, an NCI Cooperative Group. Dr. Small was recently appointed to the Board of Directors of the American Board of Internal Medicine, serving on the Subspecialty Board on Medical Oncology.
Dr. Small received his Bachelor of Science degree from Stanford University and his medical degree with honors from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Thereafter, he undertook his post-graduate residency training in internal medicine at the Beth Israel Hospital at Harvard University. Dr. Small completed a fellowship in hematology and oncology at the Cancer Research Institute at UCSF.
Antoni Ribas, M.D., Ph.D.
Antoni Ribas, M.D., Ph.D. is Professor of Medicine, Professor of Surgery, and Professor of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). He trained at the University of Barcelona, Spain, with postdoctoral research and clinical fellowships at UCLA. He is the Director of the Tumor Immunology Program at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) and the Chair of the Melanoma Committee at SWOG (Southwest Oncology Group). Dr. Ribas is also a permanent committee member of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) grant review panels and an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI). Dr Ribas is a physician-scientist who has conducted laboratory and clinical research in malignant melanoma, focusing on adoptive cell transfer with T cell receptor (TCR) engineered lymphocytes, anti-CTLA4 antibodies, BRAF-targeted therapies and nanoparticle-siRNA. These studies have been published in numerous journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Communications, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and others. He has been a consultant for numerous clinical development drug programs for major companies like Amgen, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Genentech, GSK, Millennium, Novartis, Pfizer, Plexxikon, Roche, and others.