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Since 1925 UCLA has honored its most distinguished scholars by selecting them to deliver this special annual lecture. By honoring them in this way, members of the academic community have an opportunity to appreciate these scholars' achievements in a way they may not have otherwise had.


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103rd Faculty Research Lecture

A Delicate Balance: Stem Cells, Cancer and the Immune Response

Owen N. Witte, M.D,
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
President's Chair in Developmental Immunology
Distinguished Professor, Departments of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics;
Molecular and Medical Pharmacology
Director, Eli & Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA

November 8, 2007


Owen Witte has made significant contributions to the understanding of human leukemias, immune disorders, and epithelial cancer stem cells. His work includes the discovery of tyrosine kinase activity for the ABL gene and the demonstration of the BCR-ABL oncoproteins in human leukemias. This has had practical impact in leading to the development of kinase targeted therapy as an effective treatment for these leukemias and other cancers. His work also lead to the co-discovery of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase which is required for normal B-lymphocyte development, and when mutated leads to X-linked agammagloblulinemia, a form of immune deficiency. Recent work has concentrated on defining the stem cells for epithelial cancers of the prostate and other organ sites to help define new types of therapy for these diseases. His work utilizes advanced whole body imaging techniques like Positron Emission Tomography (PET) to monitor cancer growth and cellular immune functions.

Dr. Witte is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine. He has received recognition for his research including the Milken Foundation Award in Basic Cancer Research, the Rosenthal Award of the American Association for Cancer Research, the Dameshek Prize of the American Society of Hematology, the Alpert Foundation Prize, and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s de Villiers International Achievement Award. Dr. Witte currently serves on several editorial and advisory boards.


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