James P. Allison, Ph.D.

Keynote speaker Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology Regental Professor Chair of Department of Immunology The University of Texas MD Anderson Center Houston, TX, USA.

Wendy did her post-doctoral research in Jim’s lab and it was there that Wendy developed her deep interest in gamma/delta T cells, which she later selected as the focus of her independent research.
James Allison, is Regental Professor and Chair of the Department of Immunology, the Olga Keith Wiess Distinguished University Chair for Cancer Research, Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Research, and the Executive Director of the Immunotherapy Platform at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Tx, USA.
Dr. Allison, a member of the National Academies of Science and Medicine, has spent a distinguished career studying the regulation of T cell responses and developing strategies for cancer immunotherapy. Among his most notable discoveries are the determination of the T cell receptor structure and the role of CD28 as a major co-stimulatory molecule that allows full activation of naïve T cells and prevents anergy in T cell clones. His lab resolved a major controversy by demonstrating that CTLA-4 inhibits T-cell activation by opposing CD28-mediated co-stimulation.  Based on this insight he then showed that blockade of CTLA-4 could enhance T cell responses, leading to tumor rejection in animal models. This work led to the development of ipilimumab, an antibody to human CTLA-4 and the first immune checkpoint blockade therapy approved by the FDA. He earned the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which he shared with Dr. Tasuku Honjo, ” for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation.” His current work seeks to improve current immune checkpoint blockade therapies and to identify new targets to unleash the immune system in order to eradicate cancer.