Dr. Cameron Turtle, a hematology oncologist and pioneering researcher into CAR T-cell therapy, is the inaugural recipient of the Anderson Family Endowed Chair for Immunotherapy at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Ric and Kaylene Anderson and their three children presented the chair to Turtle Aug. 28 during a luncheon at Fred Hutch.
“My wife and I have proudly supported the Hutch for more than 20 years,” said Ric Anderson, the secretary of Fred Hutch’s board of trustees, after the event. “Every year the science coming out of here amazes us. So do the people. Dr. Turtle is one of the young pioneers of immunotherapy, which has given so much hope to so many people, and we are proud to support his work.”
Their new endowed chair will help advance Turtle’s research, which focuses on how T cells, a type of immune cell, can be engineered to fight blood cancers such as lymphoma and leukemia.
“The Anderson family has made a wonderful gift to Fred Hutch that will provide an extraordinary boost to cancer immunotherapy research and help new ideas move rapidly toward the patients who need them,” Turtle said.
Turtle leads several clinical trials of experimental CAR T-cell therapies to treat leukemias and lymphomas bearing the CD19 protein. He serves as an attending physician on the Hematopoietic Cell Transplant Service and the Immunotherapy Service at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Fred Hutch’s clinical-care partner, and UW Medical Center. His lab at Fred Hutch focuses on a subset of T cells known as central memory T cells, their potential use in immunotherapy and their role in rebuilding the immune system after blood stem cell transplantation.
Turtle’s endowed chair was inspired in part by the Hutch’s matching program for establishing endowed faculty chairs. This special initiative recognizes the strategic importance Fred Hutch leadership places on supporting faculty and partnering with generous donors to recognize and catalyze their lifesaving work. The Hutch is now home to 24 endowed chairs.