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ASH honors Bruce R. Blazar, M.D., and Carl H. June, M.D., with 2012 Ernest Beutler Lecture and Prize
Aug 27, 2012 - 4:00:00 AM

The Ernest Beutler Lecture and Prize, named for the late Ernest Beutler, MD, a past president of ASH and physician-scientist for more than 50 years, is a two-part lectureship that recognizes major translational advances related to a single topic. This award honors two individuals, one who has enabled advances in basic science and another for achievements in clinical science or translational research.

Drs. Blazar and June will present their lecture, T-Cell Infusions: A New Tool for Transfusion Medicine That Has Come of Age, on Monday, December 10, at 1:30 p.m. at the 54th ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition in Atlanta. During the session, they will discuss the use of adoptive T-cell therapy as an emerging form of transfusion therapy that has potential to establish tolerance to hematopoietic or solid organs allografts, treat autoimmunity, and promote immunity to cancer and chronic infection.

Dr. Blazar is the Regent's Professor of Pediatrics, Chief of the Pediatric BMT Program, and Andersen Chair in Transplantation Immunology at the University of Minnesota (UMN) and is internationally recognized as one of the foremost physician-scientists in the field of BMT. He also serves as Associate Vice President of the Academic Health Center and Founding Director of both the Clinical and Translational Science Institute and the Center for Translational Medicine at the UMN.

Dr. Blazar has made seminal contributions in dissecting the mechanisms underlying graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD), a major complication of BMT, that have been instrumental in advancing the field. His studies have resulted in pivotal trials, bringing novel pharmaceutical agents, proteins, and cell therapies to the clinic.

Specifically, Dr. Blazar was the first to examine the effects of rapamycin, an immunosuppressant drug used to prevent rejection after organ transplantation, and demonstrated that the drug could inhibit and treat GVHD in preclinical BMT animal models. Thanks to this unprecedented work, several international Phase III clinical trials are now underway using rapamycin to both prevent and treat GVHD. In addition to this groundbreaking work, Dr. Blazar's preclinical GVHD studies led to the clinical testing of non-mitogenic anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody to target GVHD-causing T cells, demonstration that interleukin-10 (IL-10) protein could inhibit GVHD lethality, and keratinocyte growth factor to prevent tissue injury in rodents and humans after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation. More recently, Dr. Blazar has published the first report of a novel population of regulatory T-cells, known as Tregs, that can be expanded ex vivo and used to prevent and eliminate GVHD.

Dr. Blazar has served in a variety of leadership roles within the Society, most recently as co-chair of the 2012 ASH Annual Meeting Scientific Program, and has also served on the editorial board of the Society's journal

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