PHILADELPHIA — Carl June, MD, the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and director of Translational Research in Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, has been selected to receive the 92nd annual Philadelphia Award. The award will be presented to Dr. June on May 31, 2013 for his extraordinary advancements in gene therapy aimed at treating HIV and cancer, specifically chronic lymphocytic leukemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

June and his team have electrified the medical world and brought renewed hope to leukemia patients everywhere over the past year and a half. His team has engineered an innovative cancer-killing treatment that uses modified versions of patients’ own immune cells to attack their tumors.

“It is an honor to present Dr. June with the 2012 Philadelphia Award. His work reflects the embodiment of the Award, which is to benefit the entire Philadelphia community and possess an element of discovery,” said the Philadelphia Award Board of Trustees Chair, Natalye Paquin, Esq. “The implications of this research are historic and may forever change the way physicians treat certain types of cancers around the world.”

The new treatment approach is the result of more than two decades of effort by Dr. June and his colleagues, dating back to his 21-year career as a physician-scientist in the U.S. Navy. It has been applied with remarkable success to both adult and pediatric leukemia patients, and offers the prospect of helping patients with other types of cancer, including those of the brain, lung, ovaries, pancreas, prostate, and breast.

“Receiving the Philadelphia Award is a great honor, which recognizes the work of many people at the Perelman School of Medicine who have played important roles over many years of research to develop new ways of treating patients,” June said. “With our recent results, we have entered a new era of hope, where personalized cellular therapies are becoming a real option for patients who have run out of other options to treat their cancer.”

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.

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