Division of Hematology and Oncology

The Immunotherapy Research Program develops innovative therapies for the treatment of cancer.

The Cancer Immunotherapy Research Program develops novel immune therapies for the treatment of cancer. These therapies include cancer vaccines, immune modulatory drugs, and cell-based therapies with state-of-the-art technologies including gene therapy, monoclonal antibodies, and T cell engineering. Current research focuses on patients with pancreatic cancer, melanoma, myeloma and other hematological malignancies.

Cancer immunotherapy is a rapidly moving field (two new drugs have been approved by the FDA since 2010), and the program works to link clinical trial investigation with basic and translational research to push the cutting edge.

Physicians from the division of hematology/oncology engaged in clinical and basic research in immunotherapy for cancer patients include:

These physicians, with other colleagues, are an integral part of the immunobiology program at Penn's Abramson Cancer Center. Dr. Vonderheide and Carl H. June, MD, lead this world-renowned program.

Success of the program also relies on extensive collaboration with researchers and clinicians based in other departments across campus, including pathology and laboratory medicine, surgery, gynecological oncology, radiology and radiation oncology.

Goals of the program include:

  • Improving current technologies. 
  • Understanding which patients are most likely to benefit from which immunotherapies. 
  • Understanding how to combine emerging immune therapies with standard-of-care cancer therapy. 
  • Making these therapies, especially vaccine therapy, available to patients in the earliest stages of cancer.
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