SITC Announces Cancer Immunotherapy Clinical Fellowship Award Recipient

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SITC, Merck provide young investigator with dedicated funding for innovative tumor immunotherapy research

Jonathan Peled, MD, PhD

Jonathan Peled, MD, PhD, SITC-Merck Cancer Immunotherapy Clinical Fellowship Award Recipient

We believe fellowship opportunities like this not only inspire the scientific community but have the potential to lead to meaningful developments in cancer immunotherapy research.

The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) announced Jonathan Peled, MD, PhD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, as the recipient of the SITC-Merck Cancer Immunotherapy Clinical Fellowship Award. This award supports the development of the next generation of immunotherapy experts through dedicated funding of novel research. With a shortage of U.S. physicians specializing in oncology predicted to occur by 2025, it is important now, more than ever, to secure the future of cancer immunotherapy research.

Dr. Peled was selected as the recipient of this award for his project, titled, “Evaluation of the Effect of Microbiota on Graft-versus-Tumor Activity in Hematological Malignancies.”

This announcement comes during Cancer Immunotherapy Month™ and at a time of great excitement in the field, extending from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting during which experts reported clinical trial data that indicated cancer immunotherapy and combination therapies as viable treatment options for several cancer types.

“I am honored to have been selected for this opportunity, and I am grateful to the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer and to Merck for their interest in my research,” said Dr. Peled. “With this support, I hope to continue my investigation into how the community of microbes residing in our intestines affect the immune system’s response to cancer. I feel fortunate to be embarking on my career now because we have so many new tools that help make this work possible.”

Established by SITC with support from Merck, this one-year, $100,000 award comes at an extremely important time in cancer research as immunotherapy, a type of treatment that uses the power of an individual’s immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells, is shrinking tumors in several cancer types and allowing patients to live longer when compared to other standard of care treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy.

“I am delighted that Dr. Peled has been selected as the 2015 SITC-Merck Fellowship awardee,” said SITC President Howard L. Kaufman, MD, FACS. “The work proposed represents innovative research with the potential to impact the field of immunotherapy and supports a most promising young investigator who is clearly dedicated to improving our understanding of tumor immunotherapy.”

“Merck is thrilled to help honor this year’s award winner,” said Roger D. Dansey, MD, Senior Vice President, Global Clinical Development, Oncology, Merck Research Laboratories. “We believe fellowship opportunities like this not only inspire the scientific community but have the potential to lead to meaningful developments in cancer immunotherapy research.”

The SITC-Merck Cancer Immunotherapy Clinical Fellowship Award is provided by SITC’S ForwardFund and supported by an independent educational grant from Merck (known as MSD outside the U.S. and Canada). Established in 2012, the ForwardFund aims to stimulate the future of the science, development and application of cancer immunology and immunotherapy through financially supporting its education and research.

“Following the completion of my fellowship, I plan to continue my career in hematologic oncology, with a focus on understanding the basic mechanisms of the diseases and treatments. I also plan to continue my work in directly caring for patients who receive bone marrow transplants,” said Dr. Peled.

Dr. Peled will be recognized for this fellowship during an Awards Ceremony on November 7, 2015 as part of the SITC 30th Anniversary Annual Meeting & Associated Programs held in National Harbor, Maryland, November 4 – 8, 2015.

About the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer
Established in 1984, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) is a not-for-profit organization of medical professionals dedicated to improving patient outcomes by advancing the development, science and application of cancer immunotherapy. As the world’s leading member-driven organization dedicated to cancer immunotherapy and tumor immunology, SITC is comprised of nearly 1,000 influential basic and translational scientists, clinicians, health care professionals, government leaders and industry professionals from around the globe. For more information about SITC, please visit http://www.sitcancer.org.

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