Honoring the 22nd Gabbay Awardees

On Oct. 2, STEM students, medicine enthusiasts and faculty congregated at the Shapiro Campus Center to attend a lecture presented by the 22nd Gabbay Award winners, Dario Campana MD, PhD and Micheal Sadelain MD, PhD. Dario Campana is a professor at the Department of Pediatrics at Yoo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore. Michael Sadelaine is Director of the Center for Cell Engineering at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. 

The Jacob and Louise Gabbay Award was created by Jacob and Louise Gabbay to recognize scientists in academia, medicine or industry whose work has outstanding scientific content and significant practical consequences in the biomedical sciences. The award, given annually, consists of a $25,000 cash prize (to be shared in the case of multiple winners) and a medallion. Recipients travel to Brandeis University in the fall to present a lecture on their research and attend a faculty dinner honouring them. This year’s winners Dario Campana and Micheal Sadelain did the same on the gray but lively Wednesday evening. Campana and Sadelain were celebrated for their “pioneering work in the development of CAR T-cells for cancer.” 

The event was presided over by Dr. Dagmar Ringe, Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry at the Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center. Provost Lisa Lynch spearheaded the event with her opening remarks, and also introduced the guest speaker of the event, Gregory A. Petsko. Dr. Ringe then presented the two awardees with their medallions. In their lecture, Dr. Campana and Dr. Sadelain presented the newest technology and applications of cancer therapies using the body’s own immune system to fight the invasive disease. 

Dr. Sadelain gave the audience an overview of the history of the CAR T-system and its applications to cancer. He narrated some of the difficulties he faced with trials and competition. Dr. Sadelain focused on the development of novel strategies to extend the survival of CAR T-cells in the body and to overcome the resistance imposed by tumours and other cells in the tumour microenvironment. His research led to new CAR T-cell therapies that show increased efficacy in patients. He also spoke about recent dramatic clinical responses in adults with lymphoblastic leukaemia. Dr. Campana continued the lecture by describing his time in the clinic, especially with children, monitoring responses on immunotherapy in the treatment of leukemia, lymphoma and solid tumors. His current work focuses not only on CAR T-cells as a therapy for cancer but also on other cells that could have the same potential. 

These inspiring lectures presented the challenges of researching new areas of medicine—in this case, cancer—and the rewards of success in research.

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