Newswise — The 2017 AACI Distinguished Scientist Award will be presented to Carl H. June, MD, and U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Bob Casey (D-PA) will receive the 2017 AACI Public Service Award at the Association of American Cancer Institutes’ annual meeting, October 15 – 17, in Washington, D.C.

Dr. June is director of translational research at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies, and Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 2011, Dr. June’s research team published findings which represented the first successful and sustained demonstration of the use of gene transfer therapy to treat cancer. He will deliver a talk on Monday morning, October 16, revolving around his ongoing work and the implications of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recent approval of gene transfer therapy to treat cancer.

Senators Blunt and Casey have been outspoken supporters of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the cancer centers in their respective states. AACI's Board of Directors, the AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting Program Committee and the AACI Government Relations Forum Steering Committee selected the senators for recognition. 

Sen. Blunt is chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. He has displayed bipartisanship as chair of the subcommittee, working with his partner across the aisle, 2015 AACI Hill Day Awardee Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), to ensure increases for the NIH over the last two budget cycles.

Sen. Casey is a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. For the last several years, he has partnered with Republican colleague, 2015 AACI Public Service Awardee Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), in writing appropriators, requesting a strong funding commitment for the NIH in the appropriations bill. 

More information about the meeting is available at AACI’s website (