Carl June

University of Pennsylvania


Primary Section: 43, Immunology and Inflammation
Membership Type: Member (elected 2020)

Biosketch

Carl June is a physician scientist and the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in the Departments of Medicine and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. He is the director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies at the Perelman School of Medicine, and the Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at the University of Pennsylvania. June graduated from the US Naval Academy and earned his medical degree in from the Baylor College of Medicine. He spent his fourth year of medical school at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, studying immunology and malaria. June conducted postdoctoral research in transplantation biology at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle from 1983 to 1986. June served as president of the Clinical Immunology Society and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. He is the scientific founder of Tmunity Therapeutics. CTL019, the CAR T cell developed in the June laboratory was the first gene therapy to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Research Interests

Carl June has made paradigm-shifting contributions to the field of cellular immunology, with potentially field-changing implications for the clinical treatment of advanced leukemia and by extension, other cancers. In basic science studies, June’s laboratory discovered the CD28 pathway that controls T cell growth, and in later translational studies, his laboratory invented robust T cell culture systems that permit the growth of central memory T cells. He has since applied these culture systems to develop groundbreaking cell-based approaches for immunotherapy of cancer and HIV infection, with unprecedented results. In 2014, June published groundbreaking work using genetically edited cells that was accomplished with zinc finger nucleases. This is the first example in humans demonstrating that targeted gene modification can be used to knock in a disease resistance gene. CART19, now termed tisagenlecleucel was invented in the June laboratory, was recently designated as a “Breakthrough Therapy” by the FDA, based on a 90% complete remission rate in refractory acute leukemia. Engineered T cells developed in the June Laboratory are the first successful example of synthetic biology to enter clinical medicine and became the first form of gene therapy to achieve FDA approval in 2017.

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