Established as the Seraph Professorship in Cancer Research with a commitment made in 2000 by anonymous donors; name changed in 2007 to honor the memory of Dr. Martin D. Abeloff

MARTIN D. ABELOFF, A&S 1963, Med 1966, joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1972. He served as director of the Cancer Center from 1992 until his death in 2007.

Throughout his career, Dr. Abeloff was deeply committed to translational research, the transfer of research findings from the laboratory to the clinic. His personal research interests were in the study of treatment for breast cancer and lung cancer. He was responsible for the development of the solid tumor clinical research programs in the Oncology Center in the early 1970s, and played a leadership role in the development of broad-based research programs in solid tumors, hematologic malignancies, and in cancer prevention and control.


Image Credit: Johns Hopkins Medicine Oncology Center Development Office The donors, through the SERAPH FOUNDATION, intend to support research in cancer immunology at the Oncology Center that might provide new knowledge in the areas of immunotherapy and cancer vaccine development, eventually revolutionizing cancer research and treatment. The goal of the Hopkins Cancer Immunology Research Program is to harness the normal functions of the immune system to kill tumor cells in a broad range of human cancers. This is a particularly non-toxic experimental cancer therapy because it uses a person's own immune system to fight tumor cells. The program is led by Drew Pardoll, who was invited to write the definitive review on cancer vaccines in a special issue of Nature Medicine. The Hopkins program is recognized as one of the world's premier efforts in cancer immunology research. (Image is of cancer cells.)


DREW M. PARDOLL, A&S 1976, Med 1982 (MD/PhD), the Martin D. Abeloff Professor, was among the first researchers to develop genetically engineered cancer vaccines, a number of which are in advanced clinical testing. His current research focuses on understanding the molecular basis of lymphocyte recognition and using this knowledge to study the cellular basis of immune function, focusing predominantly on T cells. He holds appointments in the departments of Oncology, Medicine, Molecular Biology and Genetics, and Pathology. He also directs the Division of Immunology in the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Pardoll has taught at Hopkins since 1988. He holds numerous patents and he has published more than 100 journal articles.