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Top 12 Pioneer Awards for seminal work in gene and cell therapy selected by blue ribbon panel

The peer-reviewed journal Human Gene Therapy will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2014. The Journal will commemorate its silver anniversary in several ways, including publishing a series of Perspectives by top Pioneers in the field of cell and gene therapy who will be featured in the 2014 issues of the Journal.

The leadership of Human Gene Therapy commissioned a blue ribbon panel of colleagues to identify the Pioneers. Human Gene Therapy, Human Gene Therapy Methods, and Human Gene Therapy Clinical Development are published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

The charge to the Committee was to identify 12 scientists who have made seminal contributions to the field in the context of a career that has consistently contributed to cell and gene therapy research for an extended period of time. The committee defines a seminal contribution as a ground breaking clinical study or a basic/technical advance that has substantially influenced the direction and/or trajectory of translational research. In some instances the Pioneer award was shared amongst several scientists whose seminal work within a programmatic area could not be fairly singled out.

"Identifying the pioneers who have made current successes in gene therapy possible was a really interesting process. The committee agreed that a mixture of virologists, technologists and clinicians had made essential contributions," says Mary Collins, PhD, Chair of the Award Selection Committee.

The Pioneer Series Award Selection Committee was chaired by Dr. Mary Collins, MRC Centre for Medical Molecular Virology, University College London, with members Alessandro Aiuti, MD, PhD, Scientific Institute HS Raffaele, HSR-TIGET; Andrew H. Baker, PhD, Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences BHF Glasgow, Cardiovascular Research Centre, University of Glasgow; Manuel Grez, PhD, Georg-Speyer-Haus, Molecular Virology Lab; Philippe Moullier, MD, PhD, Institut de Recherche Thérapeutique, Université de Nantes; Paul D. Robbins, PhD, The Scripps Research Institute; Robert M. Kotin, PhD, National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health; Luk H. Vandenberghe, PhD, Harvard Medical School, Schepens Eye Research Institute, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary; and Xiao Xiao, PhD, School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Winners of the 12 Pioneer Series Awards are:

  • Robin R. Ali, PhD, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology;

    Jean Bennett, MD, PhD, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania; and

    William W. Hauswirth, PhD, University of Florida College of Medicine

    Nominated for: Gene therapy for eye disorders
  • Malcolm K. Brenner, MD, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine

    Nominated for: Cancer gene therapy using gene modified T cells
  • Frederic D. Bushman, PhD, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania; and

    Christof von Kalle, MD, PhD, National Center for Tumor Diseases, Heidelberg

    Nominated for: Vector integration and tumorigenesis
  • Marina Cavazzana, MD, PhD, Paris Descartes University; and

    Adrian J. Thrasher, MD, PhD, UCL Institute of Child Health

    Nominated for: Basic and clinical gene therapy for immunodeficiency disorders
  • Ronald G. Crystal, MD, Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University

    Nominated for: Adenoviral vectors/role in translation of gene therapy to clinic
  • Zelig Eshhar, PhD, Department of Immunology, The Weizmann Institute of Science; and

    Carl H. June, MD, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

    Nominated for: CARs for cancer gene therapy/lentiviral gene therapy clinical trials

    Joseph C. Glorioso III, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine

    Nominated for: Development of HSV as a vector for gene therapy

    Provided by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc