Gordon Freeman, PhD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), the organization announced on December 8, 2020.
The NAI Fellows Program highlights academic inventors who have demonstrated a spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society. Election to NAI Fellow is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors. To date, NAI Fellows hold more than 42,700 issued U.S. patents, which have generated over 13,000 licensed technologies and companies, and created more than 36 million jobs. In addition, over $2.2 trillion in revenue has been generated based on NAI Fellow discoveries.
Freeman is in the Department of Medical Oncology at Dana-Farber and is also Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Freeman earned his BA in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and PhD in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from Harvard University.
Freeman’s research identified the major pathways that control the immune response by inhibiting T cell activation (PD-1/PD-L1 and B7-2/CTLA-4) or stimulating T cell activation (B7-2/CD28). In 2000, Dr. Freeman discovered PD-L1 and PD-L2, and showed they were ligands for PD-1, thus defining the PD-1 pathway and the drug target: block the interaction. He showed the function of PD-1 was to inhibit immune responses and that blockade enhanced immune responses. He showed that PD-L1 is highly expressed on many solid tumors such as breast and lung, as well as some hematologic malignancies and allows these tumors to inhibit immune attack. This work provided the foundation for developing immune checkpoint blockade immunotherapies. He is a Fellow of the AACR Academy and received the 2014 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology, 2017 Warren Alpert Foundation award, and the 2020 Richard Smalley, MD, memorial award from the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer.
The NAI 2020 Fellow class represents 115 research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutes worldwide. They collectively hold over 4,700 issued U.S. patents. Among the 2020 Fellows are 24 recipients of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, six recipients of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and two Nobel Laureates, as well as other honors and distinctions. Their collective body of research covers a range of scientific disciplines including biomedical engineering, computer engineering, materials science, and physics.
The class of NAI Fellows will be inducted at the 2021 Fellows Induction Ceremony at the Tenth Annual Meeting of the National Academy of Inventors in June 2021 in Tampa, Florida.
The complete list of NAI Fellows is available here.