Jeffrey A. Bluestone
Univ. of California, San Francisco, and Sonoma Biotherapeutics
Jeffrey A. Bluestone, Ph.D., DFAAI (AAI ’82), University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and Sonoma Biotherapeutics, is the recipient of the 2022 AAI- Steinman Award for Human Immunology Research. He is recognized for his seminal contributions in the areas of T cell activation and immune tolerance, leading to new therapies for autoimmune diseases.
Dr. Bluestone has been steadfastly committed to translating knowledge of T cell tolerance to the clinic. He and his collaborators demonstrated that anti-CD3 in the NOD mouse model of type 1 diabetes could reverse diabetes in newly diabetic mice. This work led to a clinical trial in which the antibody was shown to preserve insulin c-peptide levels in new onset type 1 diabetes patients compared to controls, and it was later demonstrated to delay the onset of diabetes in those at high risk of developing the disease. Bluestone also applied the therapeutic potential of inhibiting cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA4) interactions with CD28 in the transplantation setting, showing that a blocking approach with a CTLA4-Ig fusion protein could confer lasting tolerance in an animal model system involving xenogeneic transplant of human pancreatic islets. This work laid part of the foundation for the ultimate FDA approval of CTLA4-Ig as a therapy in transplantation and rheumatoid arthritis.
Bluestone has also focused on regulatory T cells (Tregs) as a treatment approach for autoimmunity, demonstrating that CD4+CD25+ T cells played an important role in preventing diabetes in the NOD mouse model. This was followed by a clinical trial in which autologous Tregs were expanded ex vivo from the blood of patients and then adoptively transferred back to the patients. His group found that the approach was safe and that the adoptively transferred Tregs had a long half-life, supporting further research to test the efficacy of Treg therapy.
Mark S. Anderson, M.D., Ph.D. (AAI ’04), professor and Robert B. Friend and Michelle M. Friend Endowed Chair the AAI Introductory Course in Immunology. in Diabetes Research, UCSF, says “Overall, Dr. Bluestone has played an exceptional role in moving forward our understanding of T cell biology and tolerance into the clinic. In addition to his scientific contributions, it is also worth noting his leadership in the field for translation.” Bluestone served as the founding director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Immune Tolerance Network from 1999 until 2010. The Immune Tolerance Network has overseen more than 75 clinical trials related to allergy, autoimmunity, and transplantation.
Bluestone received his Ph.D. from the Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences. He started his independent career at the National Cancer Institute before moving to the University of Chicago, Ben May Institute for Cancer Research, as an associate professor. He later served as its director from 1995 to 2000. In 2000, Bluestone joined the UCSF faculty as the director of the Diabetes Center and Metabolic Research Unit. Among the many leadership positions Bluestone has held at UCSF, he served as executive vice chancellor and provost from 2010 to 2015. He currently holds the appointment of A.W. and Mary Margaret Clausen Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Medicineat UCSF. Bluestone served as president and CEO of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy from 2015 to 2019. He assumed his position as president and CEO of Sonoma Biotherapeutics in 2019.
Bluestone is a 2019 Distinguished Fellow of AAI and was the recipient of the AAI Excellence in Mentoring Award in 2020. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Bluestone’s service to AAI includes appointments as an associate, section, and deputy editor for The Journal of Immunology. He was selected an AAI Distinguished Lecturer in 2018 and has served as a major symposium chair and speaker at AAI meetings. He has also served as a member of the AAI Finance, Nominating, and Publications Committees and as a faculty member for the AAI Introductory Course in Immunology.