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LLS Mourns the Passing of C. David Allis, PhD

Rye Brook, NY, January 11, 2023 -- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society today joins with the blood cancer community in mourning the death of C. David Allis, PhD, a founding member of one of the largest LLS grant programs, Specialized Center of Research (SCOR). We extend our condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues. 

Dr. Allis was involved with SCOR from 2007 to 2021. SCOR grants bring together some of the best minds to develop a focused research program, foster new interactions and enhance development of innovative new strategies for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of blood cancers.

“David was a founding member of our LLS Research SCOR grant on Epigenetics in Blood Malignancy, bringing his brilliance to impact these diseases” said principal investigator Jonathan Licht, MD. 

David Allis’ contribution to the field of epigenetics and the role of epigenetics in blood cancer has been remarkable. His deep understanding of how epigenetic regulators are master on-off switches that control gene expression paved the way for the development of new therapies and experimental approaches to treat lymphomas and other blood cancers. This is especially important because epigenetic genes, as well as proteins that regulate epigenetic proteins, are frequently mutated in lymphomas as well as some leukemias and myelomas. Dr. Allis was awarded the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award in 2018 and elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2019.

His most recent work, published in Cancer Discovery, provides novel insight into the mechanism of action of menin-MLL inhibitors, a new class of drugs that are now showing promise for patients with hard-to-treat acute myeloid leukemia. 

Dr. Allis was also a tremendous collaborator and mentor. He is being remembered today at Rockefeller University for his “warmth, humility, and relentless optimism,” and also for his mentorship of the next generation of scientists. His own work, and the work of those he advised and supported every day will continue to advance blood cancer research for decades to come.