Three Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers were recognized as the first Bloomberg~Kimmel professors in cancer immunology during a ceremony at Johns Hopkins.
The event marked the beginning of the Bloomberg~Kimmel Professorships program, and the three scientists were recognized for their work in precision immunotherapy, the bacterial contributions in the microbiome, and how targeting the metabolic programming of both the tumor and immune cells can enhance immunotherapy for cancer.
“The three Bloomberg~Kimmel professors represent world leaders in diverse disciplines that are transforming the lives of cancer patients through the immune system and are laying the groundwork for the next generation of cancer immunotherapies in order to fulfill the institute's mission of reducing cancer death by 50 percent by 2025,” says Drew Pardoll, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and co-director of the cancer immunology program at the Kimmel Cancer Center. “These chairs provide them the flexibility to pursue the high-risk multidisciplinary projects that produce paradigm shifts in our strategies to beat this most devastating of maladies.”
Jonathan Powell, M.D., Ph.D., is associate director of the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at the Kimmel Cancer Center.
His work focuses on the signals that promote T cell differentiation, activation and function. Most recently, his group has focused on how targeting the metabolic programming of both the tumor and immune cells can enhance cancer immunotherapy.
Cynthia Sears, M.D., is an associate director of the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, program leader for microbiome science at the institute and a member of the Kimmel Cancer Center. She is also a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Her work focuses on the bacterial contributions in the microbiome to colon cancer development and the microbiome’s impact on other cancers and cancer therapy. She is leading a trial to understand the microbial environment in the colon and whether it can be studied as an early detection of colon cancer or predictor of future colon tumors.
Suzanne Topalian, M.D., is associate director of the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and leads the melanoma program at the Kimmel Cancer Center.
Her work focuses on modulating immune checkpoints, such as PD-1, in cancer therapy, and discovering biomarkers predicting clinical outcomes following treatment. Her lab is searching for biomarkers that will help identify which patients and tumor types are most likely to respond to various immune therapies. The lab is also developing immune-based treatment combinations that could deliver a more powerful anti-tumor response than singular therapies.