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Credit: Madison Valerio

Penn Medicine Professor Carl June was recently named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2018.

June, who specializes in treating cancer and HIV, was recognized for his achievements in developing CAR T-cell therapy, which is an experimental therapy that reprograms a patients’ T-cells—which are immune system cells—with synthetic receptors in an effort to kill cancer cells. The US Food and Drug Administration recently approved a second indication for June’s T-cell therapy to treat childhood leukemia.

"I've been fortunate that my work has given me the opportunity to improve the lives of others," June told Eurekalert. "It's truly an honor for our team to be included among so many other tremendous honorees."

Carl June

June is the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy and acts as the director of both the Center for Cellular Immunotherapy and the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Penn. His research focuses on lymphocyte biology, with a focus on studying cancer and HIV cell-based therapies.

This year’s Time list of 100 most influential figures also included 1968 Wharton graduate and President Donald Trump and 1997 Wharton and College graduate Elon Musk. The list also featured other notable figures, such as talk show host Oprah Winfrey and tennis player Roger Federer, and was published on April 19.

June began his clinical trials of CAR T-cell therapy in 2010 at Penn. Two out of three patients who received therapy for chronic lymphocytic leukemia at the time remain in remission nearly eight years later, according to Eurekalert.

In an interview with the Daily Pennsylvanian in 2013, June talked about his team’s T-cell immunotherapy treatment and said there was no “single precedent” before their development. June was also ranked number one on Men’s Health magazine’s “2012 Heroes of Health and Fitness” list.