The William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology has been given to some of the world’s most gifted scientists. Their work has deepened our understanding of the immune system’s response to cancer and other diseases and advanced the development of effective immunotherapies.
This award is given to one or more scientists for seminal discoveries in the field of basic immunology and cancer immunology. Awardees receive an honorary medal and $5,000 prize. The award was established in 1975 in honor of Dr. William B. Coley, a pioneer of cancer immunotherapy, whose daughter, Helen Coley Nauts, founded CRI.
That first year, the award was shared by 16 scientists considered to be the "founders of cancer immunology." Since then, more than 85 scientists around the world have received it.
Miriam Merad, Ph.D.
The 2018 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic Immunology was given to Dr. Merad in recognition of her important contributions relating to the biology of macrophages and dendritic cells, which are important immune cells that can engulf tumor cells and present tumor antigens to orchestrate adaptive immune responses against cancer. However, certain subsets of macrophages are also capable of behavior that suppresses antitumor immunity and promotes the development and progression of cancer. Among her contributions are discoveries that revealed the embryonic origin of macrophages as well as the local factors that maintain their distinct populations within tissues. She has also provided groundbreaking insights into the mechanisms that control the development, homeostasis, and function of macrophages and dendritic cells, including defining their roles in the context of immunotherapy and tumor development.
Padmanee Sharma, M.D., Ph.D.
The 2018 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology was given to Dr. Sharma in recognition of a number of important contributions to cancer immunotherapy, including the discovery of the instrumental role that the co-stimulatory ICOS pathway plays in promoting tumor elimination after treatment with anti-CTLA-4 checkpoint immunotherapy, which in 2011 became the first checkpoint immunotherapy to receive FDA approval. She also pioneered the use of immune checkpoint therapy, such as anti-CTLA-4 therapy, prior to surgery in order to evaluate the immunologic impact of these agents within the tumor microenvironment and determine the safety profile of these agents in combination with surgery to effectively treat cancer patients. This treatment strategy is currently being developed for multiple tumor types.
Rafi Ahmed, Ph.D.
The 2017 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic Immunology was given to Dr. Ahmed for his seminal work on immune memory as well as his definitive studies of the role of PD-1 receptor in T cell exhaustion during chronic infection. This work significantly influenced the clinical development of anti-PD-1/PD-L1 immunotherapies, five of which have now received FDA approval in the treatment of cancer. Notably, one of these became the first cancer treatment ever to be approved for cancers with a specific genetic biomarker, regardless of their origin.
Thomas F. Gajewski, M.D., Ph.D.
The 2017 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology was given to Dr. Gajewski for his overall body of work that has enhanced our understanding of the interactions between tumors, immune cells, and other factors that play a role in the immune response to cancer. Notably, he demonstrated a connection between the immune system and the collection of bacteria that inhabit the body, called the microbiome, sparking interest in the development of therapeutic and preventive approaches in cancer research. Gajewski also identified the STING pathway and characterized how its activity stimulates the body’s innate immune system to attack cancer. He also identified oncogenic pathways that can enable tumors to escape immune responses.
Ton N. Schumacher, Ph.D.
The 2016 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology was given to Dr. Schumacher for his work that helped advanced our understanding of anti-tumor immune responses. Specifically, he shed light on how our immune cells use tumor-specific neoantigens to recognize and attack cancer cells, and helped translate those discoveries into clinical treatments for patients. Dr. Shumacher also developed a novel technology that enables doctors to perform superior analysis of potential anti-cancer immune responses. This tool paved the way for the development of personalized immunotherapy approaches that can be customized for individual patients.
Dan R. Littman, M.D., Ph.D.
The 2016 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic Immunology was given to Dr. Littman for his definitive work on immune cell differentiation and his contributions to the identification and biology of unique immune cell subsets and their underlying interaction with the microbiome. He discovered the key regulator of Th17 immune cell differentiation, and was the first to identify a bacterial species that induces differentiation of these Th17 cells. A greater understanding of this regulator will allow for the development of novel treatments for cancer as well as inflammatory diseases.
Glenn Dranoff, M.D.
The 2015 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology was given to Dr. Dranoff for his many contributions to the development of cancer immunotherapies, including the design and testing of the therapeutic cancer vaccine called GVAX. In work done in mice, Dr. Dranoff established that a cancer vaccine made from whole, irradiated tumor cells that had been genetically engineered to produce an immune molecule called GM-CSF could effectively treat cancer. This work laid the groundwork for clinical testing of GVAX in humans. Dr. Dranoff has also made substantial contributions to our understanding of immune molecules called cytokines and of how immunotherapies achieve their therapeutic effects in patients.
Alexander Y. Rudensky, Ph.D.
The 2015 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic Immunology was given to Dr. Rudensky for his pioneering contributions to our understanding of regulatory T (Treg) cells, immune cells that play an important role in restraining excessive or unwanted immune responses and inflammation. Dr. Rudensky’s lab, along with others, discovered an essential role for a molecular switch called Foxp3 in guiding the differentiation of Treg cells. His research has also deepened our knowledge of how these cells operate during infection, autoimmunity, and cancer, and revealed molecular and genetic mechanisms underlying their differentiation, maintenance, and function. Because they restrain immune responses, Treg cells represent an important potential target for cancer immunotherapies designed to unleash or enhance immune responses to cancer antigens.
Tasuku Honjo, M.D., Ph.D.
Lieping Chen, M.D., Ph.D.
Arlene Sharpe, M.D., Ph.D.
Gordon Freeman, Ph.D.
The 2014 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology was given to Drs. Honjo, Chen, Sharpe, and Freeman for their collective contributions that revealed the potential of the PD-1 immune checkpoint pathway. Their combined work―Dr. Honjo discovered the PD1 gene, Drs. Sharpe and Freeman discovered proteins that bind PD1, and Dr. Chen showed that blocking PD1 could promote tumor elimination―enabled the subsequent development of several successful checkpoint immunotherapies that target the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway, including nivolumab, pembrolizumab, and atezolizumab. These immunotherapies have been approved for melanoma, lymphoma, lung cancer, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, and head and neck cancer, and in addition to improving the lives of many patients with advanced cancer, these anti-PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors have also bolstered immunotherapy’s reputation and ensured its place in the future of cancer treatment.
Michael B. Karin, Ph.D.
The 2013 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic Immunology was given to Dr. Karin for his groundbreaking work on the role of chronic inflammation in the development of tumors, which helped advance our understanding of the earliest interactions between cancer and the immune system during tumor formation. Additionally, given the role that inflammation plays in many cancers throughout their progression, Dr. Karin’s work has also guided therapeutic approaches aimed at helping patients by addressing this pro-cancer inflammation associated with established tumors.
Richard A. Flavell, Ph.D., F.R.S
Laurie H. Glimcher, M.D.
Kenneth M. Murphy, M.D., Ph.D.
The 2012 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic Immunology was given to Drs. Flavell, Glimcher, and Murphy for their pioneering work that defined the transcription factors that regulate CD4+ T cell differentiation. Together, their studies have revolutionized our understanding of T cell biology and have given scientists important clues into how to intervene therapeutically to achieve the most effective immune responses against diverse threats.
Dr. Flavell identified GATA3 as the critical “master” regulator of T helper 2 (Th2) differentiation, and also made discoveries about the roles of several innate immune receptors and TGF-β in immune responses, shedding light on both cancer and autoimmune diseases.
Dr. Glimcher discovered, amongst other things, that c-maf regulates interleukin-4 (IL-4) expression during Th2 differentiation, that T-bet regulates development of T helper 1 (Th1) cells, and determined that XBP1 is required for the development of antibody-producing B cells.
Dr. Murphy developed the first model system to study the development of helper T cells, and used it to discover the critical role of interleukin-12 (IL-12) in driving Th1 cell differentiation.
Carl H. June, M.D.
Michel Sadelain, M.D., Ph.D.
The 2012 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology was awarded to Drs. June and Sadelain for their groundbreaking work on the development of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell immunotherapy for cancer.
Dr. June pioneered novel tools and techniques to overcome the challenges of CAR T cell therapy and provided powerful clinical proof of principle for CAR T cell therapy by being the first to show that CAR T cells could lead to dramatic clinical benefits for leukemia patients.
Dr. Sadelain developed novel strategies to extend survival of CAR T cells in patients and enable more potent T cells to overcome the resistance of tumors. These advances lead directly to the development of new CAR T cell therapies that are showing increased effectiveness in patients.
Philip D. Greenberg, M.D.
Steven A. Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D.
The 2011 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology was given to Drs. Greenberg and Rosenberg for their pioneering work that brought adoptive T cell therapy from its experimental foundations in the laboratory, through proof of concept, to its successful application in the clinic as a treatment for cancer.
Dr. Greenberg helped lay the conceptual groundwork for adoptive T cell therapy. He was the first to show that adoptive transfer of T cells could cure cancer in mice, and that human antigen-specific T cell clones could be isolated and expanded outside the body and then re-infused into patients to treat viral infections as well as cancer. He also developed mouse models to more accurately model human immune responses to vaccines.
Dr. Rosenberg pioneered much of the clinical groundwork for adoptive T cell therapies for cancer patients, and conducted clinical trials employing gene therapy, which were able to induce significant tumor regressions in patients with melanoma and sarcoma. He has also developed cancer vaccines for metastatic melanoma patients.
Haruo Ohtani, M.D.
Wolf Hervé Fridman, M.D., Ph.D.
Jérôme Galon, Ph.D.
The 2010 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology was awarded to Drs. Ohtani, Fridman, and Galon for their fundamental contributions to our understanding of the prognostic significance of tumor-infiltrating immune cells in cancer patients.
Dr. Ohtani pioneered studies of the host-tumor microenvironment and provided the first evidence of the prognostic value of tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells, in addition to discoveries about the mechanisms of immune response in several other cancers and immune disorders.
Drs. Fridman and Galon demonstrated the importance of “immune contexture”―the functionality, location, and density―of immune infiltrate in colorectal cancer, and that immune reactions at tumor sites were more important for prognosis than the size of the tumor. Prior to this collaboration, Dr. Fridman provided the first evidence of an anti-tumor immune response in a leukemia patient, while Dr. Galon characterized hereditary periodic fever syndromes, which led to their auto-inflammatory classification and laid the groundwork for novel treatments.
Cornelis J.M. Melief, M.D., Ph.D.
The 2009 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology was given to Dr. Melief for his lifetime of important contributions to our understanding of the basic mechanisms of how the immune system recognizes tumor antigens and activates anti-tumor immune responses, which have inspired innovative immunotherapies. Dr. Melief was the first to demonstrate how virally transformed cells can escape detection by downregulating MHC 1 molecules, and made several significant discoveries that showed how dendritic cells help activate immune responses through the uptake and presentation of antigens in tumor-draining lymph nodes. He was also instrumental in the development of technology for creating synthetic long peptides (SLPs) that are useful in vaccine strategies.
Frederick W. Alt, Ph.D.
Klaus Rajewsky, M.D.
The 2009 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic Immunology was given to Drs. Alt and Rajewsky for their fundamental contributions to our understanding of B-cell development and function, and the mechanisms underlying the development of B cell lymphomas.
Dr. Alt made discoveries regarding the assembly and expression of the genes for immune cell receptors, shed light on the processes known as V(D)J recombination and class switch recombination, contributed to discovery of several B cell pathways, and generated mouse models of B cell lymphomas.
Dr. Rajewsky helped advance our understanding of B cell development from hematopoietic stem cells through the formation of memory B cells, developed Cre/loxP mediated gene targeting, and demonstrated that the development and maintenance of B cells relies on the expression of the B cell receptor (BCR).
Michael J. Bevan, Ph.D., F.R.S.
The 2008 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology was given to Dr. Bevan for his discovery of cross-presentation and positive selection of T cells, which provided the scientific rationale for development of cancer vaccines and advanced our understanding of how the cellular immune system detects and responds to tumor antigens and self-proteins. He also performed groundbreaking studies in T cell development, regulation, and function, and was the first to report that MHC class 1-mediated cross-presentation by antigen presenting cells is crucial for T cell activation.
Jeffrey V. Ravetch, M.D., Ph.D.
The 2007 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology was given to Dr. Ravetch for his pioneering work on Fc receptors, which led to fundamental discoveries critical to the current and future design of therapeutic antibodies. He identified and characterized the genes and DNA elements involved in switch recombination, cloned the first genes for Fc receptors, identified the SHIP inhibitory receptor signaling pathway, and made fundamental contributions regarding the genetics of the malaria parasite.
Shizuo Akida, M.D., Ph.D.
Bruce A. Beutler, M.D.
The 2006 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic Immunology was given to Drs. Akida and Beutler for their many contributions to our understanding of the events leading to the initiation of the innate immune response
Dr. Akira characterized the role of several key toll-like receptors (TLRs), discovered TLR9 and its role in interacting with bacterial CpG DNA patterns, and established the world’s best collection of genetic knockout mice to study the role of genes associated with the innate immune response.
Dr. Beutler elucidated the role of signaling molecules and key receptors of the innate immune system, clarified the relationship between the innate and adaptive immune systems, and showed that tumor necrosis factor (TNF) mediates a large part of the immune response to the bacterial endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS).
Ian H. Frazer, M.D.
Harald zur Hausen, M.D.
The 2006 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology was given to Drs. Frazer and zur Hausen for their instrumental work that led to the concept and creation of an HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine which can prevent cervical cancer, the #1 cancer-related cause of death globally.
Dr. Frazer developed a technology for producing synthetic HPV-like particles, and tested two immunotherapies to treat HPV infection in clinical trials.
Dr. zur Hausen discovered the role of HPV in the development of cervical cancer, demonstrated the presence of latent EBV (Epstein-Barr virus) in certain forms of cancer cells, and developed a way to isolate HPV.
James P. Allison, Ph.D.
The 2005 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology was given to Dr. Allison for his many important contributions to our understanding of how T cells are activated and how their function is regulated. He discovered the T cell receptor (TCR) which binds to antigens, characterized the co-stimulatory CD28 molecule that’s required to activate T cells, determined that CTLA-4 can bind to CD28 and inhibit T cell responses, and showed that blocking CTLA-4 can enhance anti-tumor immune responses, which led to the development of ipilimumab, the first FDA-approved checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy.
Shimon Sakaguchi, M.D., Ph.D.
Ethan M. Shevach, M.D.
The 2004 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology was given to Drs. Sakaguchi and Shevach for their roles in characterizing the important functions of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in the control of autoimmune diseases.
Dr. Sakaguchi proved that Tregs provide pivotal protection from autoimmune diseases, discovered that Tregs suppress the activation and expansion of self-reactive T cells, and showed that Tregs can inhibit anti-tumor immune responses by suppressing tumor-recognizing T cells.
Dr. Shevach discovered a unique subset of Tregs that suppress autoreactive T cells that escape elimination in the thymus and showed that these Tregs are not dependent on cytokine network, but operate using a unique mechanism.
Jules A. Hoffmann, Ph.D.
Bruno Lemaitre, Ph.D.
Charles A. Janeway, Jr., M.D.
Ruslan Medzhitov, Ph.D.
The 2003 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology was given to Drs. Hoffman, Lemaitre, Janeway, and Medzhitov for their bodies of work that advanced our understanding of the innate and adaptive immune systems.
Drs. Hoffman and Lemaitre’s contributions―both together and independently―include discovery of the Toll receptor and its role in the innate immunity of the fruit fly, establishing the fruit fly as viable model of the study of innate immunity in general, and identification of immune-signaling cascades linked to microbial infection.
This work was then built upon by Drs. Janeway and Medzhitov, who expanded upon our understanding of innate immunity and its relationship to the adaptive immune system. Their contributions include the discovery of Toll-like receptors (TLRs), and the characterization of the roles of TLRs in cytokine production and of co-stimulatory receptors in T cell activation.
Lewis L. Lanier, Ph.D.
David H. Raulet, Ph.D.
Mark John Smyth, Ph.D.
The 2002 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology was given to Drs. Lanier, Raulet, and Smyth for their important contributions to our understanding of how Natural Killer (NK) cells recognize and destroy virus-infected tissues as well as tumors.
Dr. Lanier discovered genes that are de-activated in normal cells but turned on in tumor cells, and identified the NK receptor that binds to the products of these genes, which are used to kill tumor cells.
Dr. Raulet demonstrated that NK cells recognize target cells using both activating and inhibitory surface receptors, characterized the activating receptors and their targets, and demonstrated that forced expression of these targets on tumor cells could lead to long-lasting anti-tumor immunity.
Dr. Smyth made important discoveries about perforin expression and the factors regulating its function, cloned novel granzymes and began to uncover how collectively these granules could kill cancer cells, and revealed the natural anti-tumor activity of the protein TRAIL (TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand).
Robert D. Schreiber, Ph.D.
The 2001 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology was given to Dr. Schreiber for his contributions to the field of interferon-gamma (IFNγ) signaling and biology, especially its role in both preventing tumor development and shaping tumor immunogenicity. His work renewed appreciation of the immune system’s anti-cancer protection, confirmed the cancer immunosurveillance concept, and revealed the immunoediting process that takes place between cancer and our immune system as tumors evolve.
Mark M. Davis, Ph.D.
Michael G. M. Pfreundschuh, M.D.
The 2000 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology was given to Drs. Davis and Pfreundschuh for their many contributions to the field of tumor immunology, including the development of technologies which have enhanced scientists’ ability to measure anti-tumor responses by T cells and antibodies.
Dr. Davis developed the tetramer technology that enabled scientists, and is now universally used, to measure T cell responses against specific antigens. With this technology, he showed that melanoma patients had T cells that specifically recognize a known melanoma antigen.
Dr. Pfreundschuh developed the technology SEREX and used it to identify and characterize many human tumor antigens. By detecting anti-cancer antibodies in the blood of melanoma patients, he also showed anti-cancer immune responses often develop naturally.
Richard A. Lerner, M.D.
Greg Winter, Ph.D.
James E. Darnell, Jr., M.D.
Ian M. Kerr, Ph.D., F.R.S.
George R. Stark, Ph.D.
The 1999 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology was given to two different groups of scientists: to Drs. Lerner and Winter for their discovery of novel technologies to create new forms of antibodies; and to Drs. Darnell, Kerr, and Stark for their work on the JAK-STAT immune-signaling pathways.
Drs. Lerner and Winter had a profound impact on research and therapeutic development. Their work established several new disciplines in antibody engineering. These new capabilities enabled the production and use of humanized antibodies, which revolutionized modern medicine, and catalytic antibodies that could catalyze precise chemical reactions, including those for which no known catalyst existed before.
The work of Drs. Darnell, Kerr, and Stark discovered a pathway in immune cells that receives and interprets outside signals and determined how immune cells translate the information carried by cytokines into action, using two families of interacting proteins, called JAKs and STATs. Dr. Darnell identified the STAT family and determined the mechanisms that enable STAT proteins to activate IFN-induced genes. Drs. Kerr and Stark showed that JAKs are activated in response to cytokines, and then in turn cause tyrosine phosphorylation and activate STATs. Later, all three collaborated to describe a model of the complete JAK-STAT signaling pathway.
Klas Kärre, M.D., Ph.D.
Lorenzo Moretta, M.D.
Ralph M. Steinman, M.D.
The 1998 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology was given to Drs. Kärre, Moretta, and Steinman for their research on two new types of immune cells.
Drs. Kärre and Moretta advanced our understanding of natural killer (NK) cells by revealing the mechanisms of NK recognition and the receptors involved. Dr. Karre proposed the “missing self” model of natural killer (NK) cell function and showed that NK cells kill mutant tumor cells that lack self-identifying MHC molecules, which allow NK cells to distinguish between self and non-self and decide which cells to kill. Dr. Moretta verified the existence of specific NK cell receptors and discovered that NK cells also express killer inhibitory receptors. Dr. Steinman discovered and characterized dendritic cells (DCs)―”nature’s adjuvant”―the crucial antigen-presenting immune cells that act as important mediators of adaptive immune responses.
Robert L. Coffman, Ph.D.
Tim R. Mosmann, Ph.D.
Stuart F. Schlossman, M.D.
The 1997 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology was given to Drs. Coffman and Mosmann for their discovery of the existence of specialized subsets of helper T cells (Th1 and Th2) that regulate different types of immune responses, and for characterizing the cytokines secreted by each of the subtypes; and to Dr. Schlossman for his discovery of critical immune cell markers (including CD4, CD8, and CD20) that allowed him to define and characterize different immune cell populations and their development. These advances provided immunologists and other scientists and physicians with a powerful tool to better analyze and understand infection, autoimmunity, immunodeficiency, and malignant diseases.
Giorgio Trinchieri, M.D.
The 1996 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology was given to Dr. Trinchieri for his discovery of IL-12, a cytokine produced by macrophages and B cells that induces IFN-gamma production in natural killer cells and T cells. He also demonstrated that IL-12 is a potent mediator of cytotoxicity, which had profound implications for vaccine development, and also showed that the blood of HIV-positive patients is IL-12-deficient.
Timothy A. Springer, Ph.D.
Malcolm A. S. Moore, Ph.D.
Ferdy J. Lejeune, M.D., Ph.D.
The 1995 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology was given to Drs. Springer, Moore, and Lejeune for various contributions to immunology and biology.
Dr. Springer performed pioneering work on adhesion molecules, which are involved in all physical aspects of cell-cell relationships. He also discovered several families of adhesion molecules, which led to a greater understanding of many biological processes and opened up new avenues of therapeutic exploration.
Dr. Moore discovered granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) and performed related work on expanding and growing hematopoietic stem cells out of the body. He performed the first preclinical and clinical evaluations of G-CSF, which is often used after some treatments to accelerate re-growth of bone marrow-derived immune cells.
Dr. Lejeune pioneered important studies on isolated limb perfusion with chemotherapy, TNF, and IFN-gamma for patients with melanoma and other types of cancers, that enabled the toxic drugs to be delivered only to tumor sites and prevented from entering circulation.
Pamela Bjorkman, Ph.D.
Jack Strominger, M.D.
Don Wiley, Ph.D
John Kappler, Ph.D.
Phillippa Marrack, Ph.D.
Alvaro Morales, M.D., FRCSC, FACS
The 1993 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology was given to three different groups of scientists: Drs. Bjorkman, Strominger, and Wiley for their work that solved the 3-D structure of HLA-A2―an MHC class I protein―and for showing that HLA protein and antigen are presented simultaneously to T cells; to Drs. Kappler and Marrack for their isolation of the T cell receptor, their discovery of how autoreactive T cells are destroyed in the thymus, and their discovery of extremely virulent superantigens; and to Dr. Morales for establishing the effectiveness of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) in the treatment of superficial cancers in humans.
Howard Grey, M.D.
Alain Townsend, Ph.D.
Emil R. Unanue, M.D., Ph.D.
The 1989 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology was given to Dr. Grey for his discovery of the inhibitory phenomenon of T cell receptor antagonism, and to Drs. Townsend and Unanue for discovering the molecular and cellular basis through which T cells recognize other cells. Dr. Townsend performed important work on MHC (major histocompatibility complex) class I antigen processing, while Dr. Unanue performed important work on MHC class II antigen processing and clarified the role of antigen-presenting cells in priming T cells by identifying the peptide presentation process.
Thierry Boon, Ph.D.
Rolf M. Zinkernagel, M.D., Ph.D.
The 1987 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology was given to Dr. Boon for his isolation of the genes that, when mutated, are responsible for producing cancer antigens, the markers that are recognized by anti-cancer T cells, and to Dr. Zinkernagel for his discovery of MHC-class restriction, which showed that T cell cytotoxicity depends on the ability of T cells to recognize not only the corresponding antigen, but also the MHC type.
Richard K. Gershon, M.D.
The 1983 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology was given to Dr. Gershon for his discovery of suppressor T cells, now recognized to be important in cancer, autoimmune diseases, allergies, and infectious diseases.
Yuang-yun Chu, M.D.
Zongtang Sun, M.D.
Zhao-you Tang, M.D.
The 1979 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology was given to Drs. Chu, Sun, and Tang for their development of a blood test for alpha-fetoprotein, and their demonstration that this test enabled doctors to identify individuals with liver cancer, which helped contribute to significant increases in long-term survival.
The 1978 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology was given to the following scientists for their fundamental contributions to the development and utilization of inbred mouse strains, which were critical to the early experimental validation of the principles of tumor immunology:
Howard B. Andervont, Ph.D.
Jacob Furth, M.D.
Margaret C. Green, Ph.D.
Earl L. Green, Ph.D.
Walter E. Heston, Ph.D.
Clarence C. Little, Ph.D.
George D. Snell, Ph.D.
Leonell C. Strong, Ph.D.
Dr. Andervont for his important experimental work on the biology and genetics of cancer, using mice that allowed him to determine the contributions of various genetic and non-genetic factors independently.
Dr. Furth for his development of the AKR mouse, whose DNA contains the genome of the leukemia virus, as a model for spontaneous blood cancers. He used this strain to first demonstrate the link between viruses and cancer in mammals.
Dr. Margaret Green for the depth and breadth of her contributions to mouse genetics, specifically to the linkage map of the mouse, detailing the location of several hundreds loci governing polymorphic traits. She also established the first online database of mouse genetic information.
Dr. Earl Green for his stewardship of the Jackson Laboratory from 1956-1975 and his many contributions to quantitative genetics.
Dr. Heston for his elegant pioneering studies extending the investigation of genetic influences on tumorigenesis to the level of single loci.
Dr. Little for his pioneering work in the establishment of inbred mouse strains and his founding of the Jackson Laboratory, the source of much of our understanding of the inbred mouse in health and disease.
Dr. Snell for his innovative analyses of congenic mouse strains, providing the foundation for future understanding of histocompatibility antigens and tumor immunology.
Dr. Strong for his landmark studies in cancer genetic and his development of multiple strains of inbred mice.
The Inaugural 1975 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology was given to the following group of scientists, dubbed the “Founders of Tumor Immunology”:
Garry I. Abelev, M.D., Ph.D.
Edward A. Boyse, M.D.
Edgar J. Foley
Robert A. Good, M.D., Ph.D.
Peter A. Gorer, FRS
Ludwik Gross, M.D.
Gertruda Henle, M.D. and Werner Henle, M.D.
Robert J. Huebner, M.D.
Edmund Klein, M.D.
Eva Klein, M.D. and Georg Klein, M.D., Ph.D.
Donald L. Morton, M.D.
Lloyd J. Old, M.D.
Richmond T. Prehn, M.D.
Hans O. Sjogren, Ph.D.
Dr. Abelev for his discovery of the AFP (alphafeto protein) antigen as a blood biomarker for liver cancer, the first cancer-specific antigen identified.
Dr. Boyse for his pioneering work identifying and characterizing T cell subclasses.
Dr. Foley for his demonstration that mice could gain resistance against tumors by having a tumor temporarily transplanted into them and then removed, which prevented subsequent tumor transplants from surviving.
Dr. Good for establishing the central role of lymphocytes in cellular immune responses against foreign antigens in all vertebrates, his discovery of the thymus’ role in immune system development, and for defining the differences in the development and function of B and T cells.
Dr. Gorer for publishing the original account of the erythrocyte antigen II in mice, providing the first evidence of the H-2 complex and later reporting that antigen II is a major histocompatibility antigen.
Dr. Gross for showing that mouse leukemia virus could be transmitted from generation to generation, demonstrating that viruses could induce cancers in animals, and proving the immunogenicity of chemically-induced tumors.
Drs. Henle for providing the first evidence of an interfering factor (later identified as interferon), and isolating the Epstein-Barr virus from Burkitt’s lymphoma cells.
Dr. Huebner for advancing the theory that oncogenes could cause normal cells to mutate and become cancerous, for identifying cytomegalovirus, and for predicting that viruses could be linked to cancers in humans.
Dr. Edmund Klein for advancing the use of immunotherapy for treatment of skin lesions, and for laying the groundwork for the use of interferon and interleukins in current immunotherapies.
Drs. Eva and Georg Klein for connecting the Epstein-Barr virus with lymphomas and other cancers, for performing experiments that showed tumors can be recognized and targeted by tumor-specific immune responses.
Dr. Morton for pioneering the use of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) in the treatment of malignant melanoma.
Dr. Old for introducing BCG to tumor immunotherapy, discovering tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and the first link between MHC and disease, finding the unexpected association between EBV and nasopharyngeal carcinoma, and for defining the concept of cell-surface differentiation antigens.
Dr. Prehn for his development of inbred mouse strains to demonstrate specific cancer antigens, firmly developing the concept of immunosurveillance, and proving that the immune system can also promote tumor growth under the right circumstances.
Dr. Sjogren for demonstrating in mice that the immune system has the ability to recognize and target tumors via protective, tumor-specific responses.