Prestigious award for Ton Schumacher

Ton Schumacher, ICI executive board member and group leader within the division of Immunology at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, has been named recipient of the 2016 William B. Coley Award. This prize is awarded yearly by the American Cancer Research Institute (CRI). It was instigated to honor scientists who have made highly important contributions to the field of cancer immunology.

Schumacher receives the award for his outstanding work on the question how immune cells are able to identify and subsequently attack cancer cells. Schumacher was the first to develop a high-throughput method for analyzing the reaction of immune cells towards cancer cells. He then employed this technology to demonstrate that immune cells frequently identify cancer cells by recognizing aberrant protein fragments on the surface of the cells, so-called neo-antigens, that are formed as a consequence of DNA damage. These findings open up the possibility of developing personalized immunotherapies that target the specific aberrations present within an individual cancer.

The award will be presented at the 30th Annual Award gala of the CRI on September 27th. Schumacher comments that he feels highly honored: "This is possibly the most important award a cancer immunotherapy researcher can receive."