Research Could Tap Potential
of Immune System in Fighting Cancer and Delivery of
Cancer Vaccines for Children
PA) - Christina M. Coughlin, MD, PhD, a research
fellow in the University of Pennsylvania's Abramson
Family Cancer Research Institute, has received the Fellow
Basic Research Award for 2003 from the Society for Pediatric
Research. The prize was awarded for her work in showing
that modified immune cells can efficiently deliver genetic
material to stimulate a desirable immune response. This
research could lead the way for future cancer vaccines
Dr. Coughlin conducts research in the
laboratory of Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil at Penn's
Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute; she is also
a pediatric hematology-oncology fellow at The Children's
Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
Her research, conducted in collaboration
with Dr. Vonderheide and Stephan A. Grupp, M.D., Ph.D.,
director of Stem Cell Biology at CHOP, included the
manipulation of immune cells known as CD40-activated
B cells to carry RNA produced by tumors and viruses.
The activated B cells could stimulate the creation of
other immune cells capable of recognizing - and killing
- the tumors and viruses that also carry these RNA strains.
"We are particularly proud of this work
and the collaborative initiative among all the investigators
at both institutions," said Dr. Vonderheide. "This award
recognizes Dr. Coughlin's leadership at the national
level and the beneficiaries of this work are children
Dr. Coughlin will be presented with her
award at the Society for Pediatric Research Annual Meeting
in Seattle, Washington, May 3-6. In addition, she will
present her work at a platform session during the meeting.
The Society for Pediatric Research encourages
young investigators to engage in research that is of
benefit to children by providing a forum for interchange
of ideas and an opportunity for young investigators
to present their work.The Society for Pediatric Research
annually honors students, house officers and fellows
engaged in pediatric research. The awards are designed
to encourage pediatricians in training to pursue careers
in academic pediatrics. Winning candidates are selected
by a committee from the Society for Pediatric Research
based on the quality of the work presented in the abstract.
The Abramson Cancer Center of the University
of Pennsylvania is one of only 31 cancer centers in
the nation designated by the National Cancer Institute
(NCI) as a Comprehensive Cancer Center. This status
reflects the Cancer Center's excellence in research,
treatment, community outreach, professional education,
and information services. The NCI mark of excellence
assures patients and families that they have selected
physicians and services that are recognized nationally
and that they will benefit from the latest research
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Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.
The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.
Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.