PHILADELPHIA — The peer-reviewed journal Human Gene Therapy is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2014 by publishing a series of Perspectives by top researchers in the field of cell and gene therapy.  Five scientists from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania are among the 21 investigators who will be honored throughout the next 12 months.

The scientists, who have made seminal contributions for an extended period of time, were chosen for their seminal contributions to the field in a “ground breaking clinical study or a basic/technical advance that has substantially influenced the direction and/or trajectory of translational research,” according to the journal. In some areas, the Pioneer award was shared among more than one scientist because seminal work within a programmatic area could not be fairly singled out.

The Pioneer awardees from Penn are:

Gene therapy for eye disorders (co-awardee)
Jean Bennett, MD, PhD, F.M. Kirby Professor of Ophthalmology; professor of Cell and Developmental Biology

Vector integration and tumorigenesis (co-awardee)
Frederic D. Bushman, PhD, professor of Microbiology

CARs for cancer gene therapy/lentiviral gene therapy clinical trials (co-awardee)
Carl H. June, MD, the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy; professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; director of Translational Research in the Abramson Cancer Center

Basic and clinical gene therapy for hemophilia (co-awardee)
Katherine A. High, MD, the William H. Bennett Professor of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine; director, Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Basic and clinical AAV vector development
James M. Wilson, MD, PhD, professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; director, Gene Therapy Program

For a full list of the awardees, see the journal release.

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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