Full Name
Arlene H. Sharpe, MD, PhD
Harvard Medical School
Speaker Bio
Dr. Sharpe is the recipient of the eleventh annual Harrington Prize for Innovation in Medicine. The award recognizes her breakthrough discoveries in immune regulation, which have established foundational principles in immunology and led to new cancer therapies that act by boosting the immune response to cancer.

She is the Kolokotrones University Professor and Chair of the Department of Immunology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Sharpe’s research in immunology has led to significant advances in medical treatments. Her work helped identify key pathways that restrain the activity of T lymphocytes (immune cells) to fight cancer. Her work defined the PD-1 pathway and its immunoinhibitory functions as well as the inhibitory functions of CTLA-4 to restrain the activity of the immune system. Her research thus laid the foundation for the development of ‘immune checkpoint inhibitors’, drugs that target PD-1 and related pathways. These therapies, including pembrolizumab and nivolumab, have been approved by the FDA for treating numerous types of cancer. They work by preventing inhibition of T cell function, thereby unleashing the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells more effectively. This approach has become a cornerstone in cancer treatment strategies.
Arlene H. Sharpe, MD, PhD