Pioneer in Cancer Cell Therapy to Address Albany Medical College’s Class of 2021

Carl June, MD, a recipient of the 2018 Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research who is widely regarded as a pioneer in the field of cancer cell therapy, will deliver the keynote address at Albany Medical College’s virtual commencement ceremonies Thursday, May 27.

Dr. June currently serves as the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies at the Abramson Cancer Center and director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Penn. He will receive an honorary degree in absentia.

Dr. June’s lab conducted the first clinical evaluation of gene-modified T cells, initially in people with HIV/AIDS and then in patients with advanced leukemia, using chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy. This cellular therapy, which retrains a patient’s own immune cells to attack cancer, was awarded “Breakthrough Therapy” status by the FDA for acute leukemia in children and adults in 2014 and was approved as the first personalized cellular therapy for cancer in 2017. It is now in use for the treatment of pediatric and adult blood cancer patients worldwide.

Dr. June is a graduate of the Naval Academy in Annapolis and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He completed graduate training in immunology and malaria at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, and post-doctoral training in transplantation biology at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

Also addressing the graduates will be Vincent Verdile, MD, ’84, The Lynne and Mark Groban, MD, ’67, Distinguished Dean at Albany Medical College, and Maggie Gillis, vice chair of Albany Medical Center’s Board of Directors, and student representatives from the class of 2021.

Albany Medical College expects to award more than 200 degrees, including medical degrees, Master of Science degrees in Physician Assistant Studies, Nurse Anesthesiology and Bioethics, and Master of Science and doctoral degrees in Biomedical Science and Bioethics.