Summit Speakers

Carl H. June

Carl H. June

Director, Center for Cellular Immunotherapies
Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Director, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy

Carl H. June is the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy, Director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies and Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He maintains a research laboratory that studies various mechanisms of lymphocyte activation that relate to immune tolerance and adoptive immunotherapy for cancer and chronic infection. In 2011, his research team published findings detailing a new therapy in which patients with refractory and relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia were treated with genetically engineered versions of their own T cells. The June laboratory has been highly productive with >500 publications, and a google scholar h-index of 155 with >93,000 citations.

The impact of this work has become widely recognized as a major turning point that is delivering on the long-held promise of cancer gene therapy. The CAR T cells invented in the June laboratory were awarded "Breakthrough Therapy" status by the FDA for acute leukemia in children and adults in 2014 and for adults with lymphoma in 2018. The CAR T cells invented in the June laboratory were approved by the FDA for acute leukemia in 2017 and afterwards, for diffuse large B cell lymphoma. These accomplishments have been recognized by the White House on several occasions.

June has published more than 500 manuscripts and is the recipient of numerous prizes and honors, including election to the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2014, and the American Philosophical Society. He has been awared the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize (shared w J. Allison), the Novartis Prize in Immunology (shared w Z. Eshhar and S. Rosenberg), the Karl Landsteiner Memorial award, the Karnofsky Prize from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Albany Medical Prize and a lifetime achievement award from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.


Marie-France Langlet

Marie-France Langlet

Patient Speaker

In 2004, Marie-France Langlet's nine-year-old son, Lucas DiTecco, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Sainte-Justine (CHUSJ), where he would go through several chemotherapy treatments. Unfortunately, chemotherapy would not be sufficient to keep him in remission. He would then receive a bone marrow transplant in 2005. From the beginning and throughout the hospitalizations and follow-up process, Mrs. Langlet and her husband were actively involved in the treatment, in close partnership with the healthcare practitioners. All along, she also felt the need to help other parents who shared her struggles as they fought for their child's return to health and happiness.

Since her son's complete recovery in 2013, Mrs. Langlet has been an active participant in numerous initiatives concerning patient partnership at the CHUSJ, particularly within the oncology department. She has also been a member of the CHUSJ Patients’ Committee from 2014 to 2017 and on the CHUSJ Board of directors in 2017. Since 2018, she leads the Bureau du Partenariat Patients-Familles-Soignants (Patient-Family-Caregiver Partnership Office) of the CHU Sainte-Justine. Along with the Direction collaboration et partenariat patient (DCPP), the Centre d’excellence en partenariat avec les patients et le public (CEPPP) and the Université de Montréal, she has also been involved in various educational projects on healthcare partnership that target both the general population and the community of healthcare professionals.

Her son's exceptional courage and determination have been her greatest source of inspiration. Over the years, she has attempted to celebrate him through her involvement, paying forward and lending her support to those who have dedicated their lives to caring for our children. Mrs. Langlet has a creative spirit, the will to act, and an extensive management experience in large organizations enabling her to devote her strength and personal beliefs to her cause.


Kathy McCoy

Kathy McCoy

Professor, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Cumming School of Medicine
Scientific Director, International Microbiome Center

Dr. Kathy McCoy is a Professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Cumming School of Medicine, member of the Snyder Institute, Scientific Director of the International Microbiome Center, and holds the Killam Memorial Chair at the University of Calgary, Canada. Her research group uses germ-free and gnotobiotic models to investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which the microbiome regulates host immunity and physiology. She is particularly interested in the dynamic interplay between the gut microbiota and the innate and adaptive immune systems. Her research aims to understand how exposure to intestinal microbes, particularly during early life, educates and regulates the mucosal, systemic and neuronal immune systems and how this can affect susceptibility to diseases, such as allergy, autoimmunity, and neurodevelopmental disorders. Her lab also investigates how the microbiome regulates the immune system throughout life with the aim to identify microbial therapies that can be employed to enhance current therapeutic approaches, such as in cancer.


Risini Weeratna

Risini Weeratna

Senior Research Officer, Human Health Therapeutics (HHT) Research Center, National Research Council Canada (NRC)

Dr. Risini Weeratna is a Senior Research Officer at the Human Health Therapeutics (HHT) Research Center of the National Research Council Canada (NRC) and leads the Cancer Immunology Team and the cell therapy thrust of the Cell and Gene Therapy Challenge Program, a Canadian Federal Government initiative for developing innovative cell/gene therapies that are affordable and accessible to all Canadian patients through the public healthcare system. In these roles, Dr. Weeratna provides scientific leadership and strategic vision to NRC internal and external collaborative research programs to help advance novel cancer immunotherapies from bench to the clinic. Prior to joining the NRC, Dr. Weeratna was a Senior Principal Scientist at Pfizer Vaccine Research and Associate Director, Pharmacology at Coley Pharmaceutical Group.

Dr. Weeratna has >25 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry and holds a MSc in bacteriology from University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA and a PhD in microbiology/immunology from Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada. She is a Fulbright and a Killam scholar and has authored >60 manuscripts/book chapters in the fields of vaccines and immunotherapy.


Laurence Zitvogel

Laurence Zitvogel

Director, Clinicobiome, Gustave Roussy Cancer Center (GRCC)
Research Director U1015 INSERM
Scientific Co-Director, Center of clinical investigations Biotheris, GRCC
Full Professor, PU-PH -University Paris Saclay

Prof. L. Zitvogel, MD (Clinical Oncology), PhD (Tumor Immunology), full professor at the University Paris Saclay, graduated in Medical Oncology in 1992. Scientific career first at the University of Pittsburgh, US. Became Research Director at Institut National de la Santé et Recherche Médicale U1015, and Scientific Director of the Clinicobiome program at Gustave Roussy, the largest cancer Center in Europe in 1998. Actively contributed to the field of cancer immunology and immunotherapy. Pionner of the concepts of immunogenic cell death and gut microbiota in cancer immunosurveillance and therapies. Recipient of many awards: Translation Research INSERM Prize, the ASCO-SITC, Brupbacher Awards 2017, ESMO Immuno-Oncology Award 2017, Baillet Latour Prize 2019, the Griffuel Prize 2019, the Duquesne Ligue Prize, and ITOC9 german award. Knighted Officer of Légion d’Honneur by French Ministery of Health 2019 and elected member of the National Academy of Medicine 2021. Her H-factor is 145, with >500 publications on PubMed, 108 265 citations in Clarivate analytics (highly cited researchers 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016).