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HomeJames Allison, Ph.D., Wins 2018 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research

James Allison, Ph.D., Wins 2018 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research

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Johnson & Johnson Launches New Programs to Fuel Diverse Champions of Science

BOSTON – June 4, 2018 – Johnson & Johnson today named James Allison, Ph.D., of University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, winner of the 2018 Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research, and launched several new programs as part of our Champions of Science platform to fuel public engagement, support and trust in science.

Dr. Allison won for pioneering a novel and effective strategy to harness the immune system for treating solid tumor cancers, and joins 15 other scientists who have received the Dr. Paul Janssen Award, including two who went on to win the Nobel Prize.

“Dr. Allison’s innovative approach to treating cancer through harnessing the power of the immune system has led to breakthrough therapies that are providing hope for patients around the world,” said Paul Stoffels, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson. “We are proud to honor the legacy of Dr. Paul Janssen by celebrating today’s pioneers like Dr. Allison.”

“I am really honored to get the Dr. Paul Janssen Award because I was selected by a group of scientific peers in honor of a man who was a great investigator himself,” said Dr. Allison. “I have been driven my entire career by curiosity, to really understand things. I feel very lucky that this basic research has led to cancer treatments that have a positive effect on patients’ lives.” A video of Dr. Allison’s full acceptance comments can be viewed here.
Immunotherapy is treatment that uses a person’s immune system to fight diseases. In the last several decades, it has become an important tool in treating some types of cancer.

Dr. Allison is the Chair of the Department of Immunology, the Vivian L. Smith Distinguished Chair in Immunology, Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy’s center at MD Anderson, and the Executive Director of the Immunotherapy Platform at MD Anderson Cancer Center. He has spent a distinguished career studying the regulation of T cell responses and developing strategies for cancer immunotherapy. His present work seeks to improve immune checkpoint blockade therapies currently used by clinicians and identify new targets to unleash the immune system in order to eradicate cancer.
“Dr. Allison has been a tireless proponent for and practitioner of basic, curiosity-driven research,” said David Julius, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Physiology, University of California, San Francisco, and Chair of the 2018 Dr. Paul Janssen Award selection committee. “His work represents a shining example of how fundamental studies of biological processes open the way to the development of transformative therapeutics.”
In addition to celebrating established scientists through the Dr. Paul Janssen Award, today Johnson & Johnson Innovation, as part of its Champions of Science platform, launched several new initiatives to fuel diverse champions of science all over the world.

Champions of Science – Africa Storytelling Challenge

The Champions of Science – Africa Storytelling Challenge aims to unearth the inspirational stories of African innovators, and invites scientists doing work on the African continent to come forward and share their stories.

“A tremendous amount of science is taking place across Africa, with researchers and innovators developing solutions that can have a significant impact on society,” said Seema Kumar, Vice President, Innovation, Global Health and Science Policy Communication, Johnson & Johnson. “By amplifying the stories of innovation taking place across Africa and the impact it is having on families, communities and the world, we hope to build public engagement and support for science, and inspire the next generation to pursue scientific fields that will have the potential to drive Africa’s socio-economic transformation.”

To learn more about the Challenge and submit your story by September 1, 2018, visit

AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellowship Program

In an effort to help more scientists be better communicators to foster public engagement in science, Johnson & Johnson has collaborated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellowship Program as the 2018 Champions of Science sponsor. The highly competitive 10-week Fellowship Program places science, engineering and mathematics students at media organizations nationwide. Scientists learn how to create compelling narratives to communicate science to broad audiences, and in turn, the media organizations get exposure to science storytelling, leading to enhanced science coverage.

“The Mass Media Fellowship supports the joint goals of AAAS and Johnson & Johnson to increase public appreciation for and engagement with science and technology,” said Rebekah Corlew, Ph.D., AAAS Mass Media Fellowship Director. “The Champions of Science sponsorship has allowed us to expand the Fellowship both for the scientists and for the newsrooms, so that science reporting will be a part of more daily news.”
Champions of Science: The Art of Ending Stigma

Later this month, The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson and leading mental health organizations will launch Champions of Science: The Art of Ending Stigma, a new global project that encourages sharing of original works of art and creative writing, via a Website gallery, that are inspired by the importance of overcoming stigma about mental illness, while educating about the biological basis of these brain diseases. The project also will provide information and resources about how to seek care for people facing these challenges and information to help combat stigma and misperceptions about mental illness.

About the Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research

Dr. Paul Janssen was one of the 20th century’s most gifted and passionate researchers. He helped save millions of lives through his contribution to the discovery and development of more than 80 medicines, four of which remain on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines.

The Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research was established by Johnson & Johnson in 2004 to honor the memory of Dr. Paul. Since its inception, the Award has recognized 15 outstanding scientists, two of whom have gone on to win the Nobel Prize for the same work. Winners are chosen by an independent selection committee of the world’s most renowned scientists. The Award, which includes a $200,000 prize, is presented at ceremonies in the U.S. and Belgium in September.

Previous Award winners include:

  • 2017 – Douglas Wallace, Ph.D.
  • 2016 – Yoshinori Ohsumi, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate
  • 2015 – Bert Vogelstein, M.D.
  • 2014 – Emmanuelle Charpentier, Ph.D. and Jennifer Doudna, Ph.D.
  • 2013 – David Julius, Ph.D.
  • 2012 – Victor Ambros, Ph.D., and Gary Ruvkun, Ph.D.
  • 2011 – Napoleone Ferrara, M.D.
  • 2010 – Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. and Erik De Clercq, M.D., Ph.D.,
  • 2009 – Axel Ullrich, Ph.D.
  • 2008 – Sir Ravinder Maini, FRCP, FMedSci, FRS and Marc Feldmann, FMedSci, FAA, FRS
  • 2006 – Craig Mello, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate

Learn more about The Dr. Paul Janssen Award at

About Champions of Science

Science touches our lives in every imaginable way. From antibiotics and telecommunications, to genomics, precision medicine and 3D printing, science has improved the human condition, leading to longer, healthier, happier lives for people all over the world. To continue to advance, science needs champions!

As a global healthcare company, the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies is uniquely positioned to champion the role of science in society. We have launched Champions of Science – a multi-faceted public engagement initiative – to convene and catalyze champions of science, and engage people of all generations and backgrounds to see the unlimited opportunities that science brings.

About Johnson & Johnson
At Johnson & Johnson, we believe good health is the foundation of vibrant lives, thriving communities and forward progress. That’s why for more than 130 years, we have aimed to keep people well at every age and every stage of life. Today, as the world’s largest and most broadly-based health care company, we are committed to using our reach and size for good. We strive to improve access and affordability, create healthier communities, and put a healthy mind, body and environment within reach of everyone, everywhere. We are blending our heart, science and ingenuity to profoundly change the trajectory of health for humanity. To learn more, visit

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