Maurice, Ethel, and Jane Sokolow
Memorial Cancer Endowment Lectureship
Dr. James P. Allison, Chair, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Immunology
Recipient, 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences
for the discovery of T cell checkpoint blockade as effective cancer therapy
"Immune Checkpoint Blockade in Cancer Therapy"
Wednesday, January 15, 2014 4pm
Sokolow Lecture, Mission Bay, Genentech Hall, Byers Auditorium
Live streaming will be available to the UCSF community.
Dr. Allison is professor and chair of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Department of Immunology in the Division of Basic Science Research. He directs MD Anderson's Immunology Platform and is deputy director of the David H. Koch Center for Applied Research in Genitourinary Cancers, Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology Research.
Dr. Allison's research focuses on the mechanisms that govern T cell responses and applying that basic understanding to overcome cancer's evasion of attack by the immune system. His fundamental discoveries include the T cell antigen receptor used by T cells to recognize and bind to antigens; the co-stimulatory molecule CD28 that must signal the T cell to launch an immune response to a bound antigen; and the immune system inhibitory checkpoint molecule CTLA-4, which inhibits activated T cells from attacking.
Allison developed an antibody against CTLA-4 that became ipilimumab, the first drug ever shown to increase survival for patients with metastatic melanoma. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2011.
Allison is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute alumnus and has won numerous honors for biomedical research. Earlier this year he received the first AACR-CRI Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in April 2013 and on Dec. 3 received The Economist's 2013 Innovations Award for Bioscience. On December 12, 2013 he was announced as a recipient for the prestigious Breakthrough Prizes in Life Sciences for the discovery of T cell checkpoint blockade as effective cancer therapy.
After the deaths of Dr. Sokolow's daughter, Jane, from Burkitt's lymphoma in July 1970, and that of his wife, Ethel, from a breast malignancy the following December, the Ethel and Jane Sokolow Visiting Scientist Program was established at UCSF by their families, classmates, and friends. Upon the death of Maurice Sokolow in 2002, the Fund was renamed as the Maurice, Ethel, and Jane Sokolow Memorial Cancer Endowment Lectureship.
Born in New York, Maurice Sokolow moved to California as a young child with his family, after which he spent seven years in an orphanage following the death of his mother. He attended UCLA and UC-Berkeley with the help of his sister, Josephine Osborne, then worked his way through medical school at UCSF, living at the Laguna Honda Hospital and working there at night. In receiving his medical degree in 1936 he was awarded the Gold Headed Cane, the honor bestowed upon the top graduating medical student.
Maurice Sokolow ("Soke") spent virtually his entire medical career at UCSF, following a residency at New England Medical Center in Boston and a fellowship in cardiology at the Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. He served in the Navy during World War II, stationed on a hospital ship in Fiji.
During the 1950s, Sokolow was head of the hypertension section at San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center. He earned a reputation as a highly creative researcher and teacher, and became a founding member of the UCSF Cardiovascular Research Institute, merging clinical cardiology with academic and research work. He designed and constructed an ambulatory device to show that blood pressure varied throughout the day. His study also confirmed that blood pressures taken in the clinic setting tended to be higher than ambulatory pressures for the majority of patients. This portable recorder provided a major role in hypertension studies throughout the next decades, including the discovery of "white coat" hypertension, a persistently elevated clinical blood pressure when the patient was being seen by a doctor. Sokolow also developed special expertise in the field of electrocardiography and in treating the complications of rheumatic fever.
Among Sokolow's more than 160 medical publications is the textbook Clinical Cardiology, co-authored with Melvin D. Cheitlin, MD, and Malcolm McIlroy, MD. Now in its 6th edition, the textbook has been translated into seven languages.
Jane Sokolow died in 1970 at the age of 25 of the rare cancer Burkitt's lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. In the U.S., only about 300 new cases of Burkitt's lymphoma are diagnosed each year.
Ethel Schwabacher Sokolow, diagnosed with breast cancer at age 35, was a longtime cancer survivor in an era when few therapeutic options were available, and her resilience continues to serve as an inspiration to her friends and family. An actress, Ethel Sokolow appeared in Woody Allen's "Take the Money and Run" in 1969, the year before she succumbed to metastatic cancer at age 54. Her death followed that of her daughter by five months.
Dr. Maurice Sokolow's own death, 32 years after that of his wife and daughter, was from lymphoma. Surviving members of his family include two daughters, Gail and Anne, and their families. Gail and her husband Marc Goldyne, MD, have two children -- Serena Goldyne Brenner (husband Matthew Brenner and son Eli), and Avi Goldyne (wife Dara). Anne and her husband Peter Levine, MD, have two children, Joshua and Sara.