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BCRF Grantee Since


Donor Recognition

The Hard Rock International Award

Area(s) of Focus

Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, D.Phil

Professor of Medicine
Hanna Wise Professor in Cancer Research
Associate Director of Translational Research, Abramson Cancer Center
Vice Chief for Research, Hematology Oncology, Perelman School of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Current Research

As part of their ongoing efforts to develop and test new immune therapies for patients with breast cancer, Drs. Vonderheide and Domchek have opened two clinical trials, both of which are enrolling patients: (1) a novel peptide vaccine that targets the cancer proteins telomerase and survivin, and (2) genetically engineered T cells injected into the tumor and designed to destroy breast cancer cells expressing the c-Met target. These trials are being performed with state-of-the-art immune assessment assays to determine mechanism of action. In addition to continuing these trials in the coming year, the researchers will also design and implement a third clinical trial that targets telomerase using a next-generation gene therapy approach.


Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, D. Phil, is Professor of Medicine and the Hanna Wise Professor in Cancer Research at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and an investigator of the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute. He is a member of the Abramson Cancer Center where he serves as the Associate Director for Translational Research. He is Vice Chief of Research for Hematology-Oncology.

Dr. Vonderheide graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor of science degree in Chemical Engineering and from Oxford University, England, as a Rhodes Scholar with a doctor of philosophy (D.Phil) degree in Immunology. After graduating from Harvard Medical School, Dr. Vonderheide completed a residency in Internal Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital and a clinical fellowship in hematology-oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He is board certified in medical oncology. Dr. Vonderheide combines efforts in both basic research and clinical investigation to advance the understanding of tumor immunology and to develop novel immunotherapies for cancer, with a focus on breast cancer. He has grant funding from the National Cancer Institute and Stand Up To Cancer as well as BCRF, and serves as Deputy Editor for Cancer Immunology Research. He is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the American Association of Physicians.