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UPMC Media Relations

Expert In Immunotherapy And Cancer Vaccine Development Recruited To The University Of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute

PITTSBURGH, April 1, 2003 Kenneth A. Foon, M.D., a well-known expert in immunotherapy and cancer vaccine therapies, has joined the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) as co-director of the biological therapeutics program and as co-director of the hematologic malignancies program.

Dr. Foon, whose recruitment was supported by part of a $5.0 million gift from the Mario Lemieux Foundation, also has been appointed professor in the division of hematology/oncology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

At UPCI, Dr. Foon is focusing his research on the development of new and promising anti-cancer agents and the rapid translation of these agents into effective therapies for cancer, with a particular emphasis on lymphomas and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) a cancer of the white blood cells and bone marrow. Lymphoma and leukemia are included in a class of hematological malignancies cancers of the blood cells that remain difficult to cure and are associated with debilitating and adverse side effects.

Ken Foon is a major player in the field of immunology and cancer therapeutics, said Ronald Herberman, M.D., director of UPCI and the UPMC Cancer Centers. He will be a great asset to our programs because he brings a wealth of experience in both industry and academics, which will allow us to form closer ties to commercial sectors and expand our collaborations with business leaders. This, in turn, will lead to quicker movement of promising new discoveries from the laboratory to the clinical setting, giving new hope to cancer patients.

Prior to joining UPCI, Dr. Foon was a director of clinical development at Abgenix, Inc., a biotechnology company in Fremont, Calif. focused on the development and commercialization of antibody therapeutics for the treatment of cancer. In addition to his position at Abgenix, Dr. Foon was a clinical professor in the department of internal medicine at Stanford University. Prior to that he was a professor of internal medicine at the University of Cincinnati and served as director of the university's Barrett Cancer Center.

I am privileged to be joining UPCI which already has an excellent reputation in the development of novel biological therapies to treat cancer, said Dr. Foon. I look forward to the opportunity to continue to expand UPCIs programs and to work on the development of cancer vaccines which I believe are an important key to finding new cures for cancer.

Dr. Foon received his medical degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. He has authored and co-authored more than 150 publications in peer-reviewed medical journals, and currently holds three patents. He was associate editor for Cancer Research from 1987 to 2003 and is currently associate editor of Clinical Cancer Research.

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