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2014 Featured Talks » Development of Highly Active Cancer Stem Cell Therapy



Development of Highly Active Cancer Stem Cell Therapy


Dennis Carson, MD
Moores Cancer Center




Dennis Carson, MD
Professor Emeritus of Medicine
Moores Cancer Center


Dr. Carson is an internationally recognized immunologist and cancer biologist who is Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Diego and formerly Director of the UCSD Cancer Center. Trained as a rheumatologist, he made a major contribution to cancer care when he developed 2-chlorodeoxyadenosine (2-CdA or Leustatin) as a cure for hairy cell leukemia. The author of nearly 450 papers, Dr. Carson is also a vaccinologist who originated the concept of "DNA vaccination" using intramuscular injections of DNA encoding vaccine proteins. He is also the co-discoverer of the role of CpG DNA (a TLR9 agonist) as a vaccine adjuvant and immunomodulatory agent. Most recently, he has been developing novel forms of TLR7 agonists for use in vaccines. He has founded six companies: Vical, Inc. (DNA vaccines); Dynavax Technologies (CpG TLR9 therapeutics); Triangle Pharmaceuticals (antivirals, now part of Gilead); Salmedix (cancer therapeutics, now part of Cephalon); Wintherix (WNT pathway cancer therapeutics); and TeLoRmedix (TLR therapeutics). He was elected to Membership in both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institute of Medicine. Dr. Carson received his Bachelor's degree from Haverford, his M.D. from Columbia, and had postdoctoral training at the Salk Institute. Prior to coming to UCSD, he was head of the immunology division at The Scripps Research Institute.