From left: John A. Burns School of Medicine dean and UH Cancer Center interim director Jerris Hedges, Andrew Weinberg, UH Cancer Center interim associate director Patricia Blanchette and UH Cancer Center professor Joe Ramos.

The Andrew and Mary Weinberg Foundation has donated $150,000 to establish the Andrew and Mary Weinberg Cancer Immunotherapy Fund at the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center. This fund will support research-related activities in cancer immunotherapy including the recruitment of a lead researcher in cancer immunotherapy, research supplies and equipment, expenditures related to meetings and conferences, travel expenses for speakers and recruits, and outreach and education activities.

“Cancer immunotherapies are among the most promising new therapies for treating cancer. We are very excited that this donation will help us develop cancer immunotheraphy research here at the cancer center to improve treatments for our diverse ethnic population here in Hawaiʻi,” said Joe W. Ramos, professor and the director of the Cancer Biology Program at the UH Cancer Center.

Andrew Weinberg

About Andrew Weinberg

Andrew Weinberg earned his MS and PhD in Biochemistry at Washington State University in 1987. He moved to Portland, Oregon in 1990 to work at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center on an autoimmune model for multiple sclerosis with Arthur Vandenbark and Halina Offner. During the course of the autoimmune work Weinberg discovered that the TNF-receptor, OX40, was expressed on autoAg-specific T cells at the site of autoimmune inflammation and was in part responsible for their pathogenic properties.

Weinberg moved to the Providence Cancer Center in Portland, Oregon in 1995 as an independent scientist to focus on tumor immunology. There he discovered that OX40 agonists were potent stimulators of tumor immunity in cancer-bearing hosts. In collaboration with Brendan Curti and Walter Urba at the Providence Cancer Center a human OX40 agonist was tested in a phase I clinical trial. OX40 agonist is a new therapy that enhances white blood cells to help destroy tumors, and is potentially less toxic than other treatments for cancer patients.

Said Weinberg, “We hope this gift advances immunotherapy research at the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center with the hopes of further developing new drugs for cancer patients around the world. I would also like to encourage others to donate to fund immunotherapy research at the cancer center, which has the potential to save many lives.”

A UH Foundation news release