ICIS Honorary Lifetime Membership Award

Carl F. Ware, PhD,  Director, Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases Center, Professor, Laboratory of Molecular Immunology, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, La Jolla, USA

Dr. Carl Ware is honored with the ICIS Honorary Lifetime Membership award as a tribute to his seminal and original contributions to our understanding of the role of cytokines in immunobiology and active engagement in cytokine research.

Dr. Ware’s career studying cytokines began in the early 1970’s at a time when the techniques we now take for granted were just being developed, and before the advent of molecular biology through his recent research directed at identifying translational opportunities in infectious, inflammatory diseases, and cancer. He identified the LIGHT-HEVEM pathway as the mechanism underlying an effective vaccine for Herpes Simplex Virus-1/2. Recently he showed that LIGHT levels are increased in COVID-19 patients progressing to pneumonia (Perlin, Safir-Levi et al, 2020) which launched a Phase 2 trial using the neutralized mAb to human LIGHT that he developed. Two other biologics created by the Ware group are for checkpoint inhibitor resistant cancers and follicular lymphoma.

Dr. Ware continues to apply his fundamental understanding of cytokine networks as a source of therapeutics for diseases without effective treatment. This was a time of ferment in the cytokine field as new supernatant biologic activities were being described at a rapid pace. This was a difficult time for many in the field, but Dr. Ware persisted, to the great benefit of the TNF field in particular, and the cytokine field in general. In later studies during a sabbatical at Biogen with Jeff Browning, he described LTβ. This molecule, when complexed with the original LTα, is a crucial contributor to the development of the lymphoid system. He went on to characterize additional members of the family including LIGHT and HVEM and solved problems that might have daunted others less tenacious with regard to the multiple interactions of the ligand receptor pairs in the expanded LT/TNF/LIGHT family. Dr. Ware has made fundamental discoveries concerning the role of the herpes virus entry mediator (HVEM), a member of the TNF receptor family. This has led to his elucidation of immune evasion mechanisms used by the various herpes viruses and provided important insight into the co-evolution of cytokine receptors and viruses. He is the holder of 6 patents and his discoveries have led to the development of novel therapeutics, namely, Baminercept, an LTbR-Fc fusion protein, and an anti-Light antibody. 

Dr. Ware continues to be extremely active- as witnessed by the success of his recent grant applications, including a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study how SARS-CoV-19 weakens the immune system–and identify drugs to help infected individuals recover, as well as his steady publication record, including a paper on ILC3 regulation of cDCs to be published this month. His expertise is sought by many institutions, including the Manchot Graduate School at the University of Dusselforf where he serves on the Scientific Advisory Board.

Carl Ware has been an outstanding member of the scientific community in general and the cytokine field in particular. He has been unfailingly generous in sharing reagents and knowledge. Among his several positions, he served with distinction as President of the International Cytokine Society, has served on the scientific advisory board of the International Congress on TNF-related cytokines for many years, and chaired the International Cytokine Society Annual Meeting in 2001 in Maui soon after 9/11 in which Dr. Ware’s calm fortitude and concern were remarkable and contributed to the success of the meeting. He has also served on numerous boards and study sections including the editorial board of the Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research from 1996 to the present. In addition to his many scientific accomplishments and service to the cytokine field, Dr. Ware has an outstanding record of mentorship with numerous successful trainees who have continued to shape the cytokine field all over the world.

Nominations are solicited for Honorary Life Memberships in the ICIS. Each year an individual will be awarded Life Membership as a tribute to his/her contributions to the field. Nominees should be individuals who have made substantive contributions to the cytokine/chemokine/interferon field over much of their careers, either in basic, clinical or applied research. Honorary members are esteemed members of the Society and provide us with an historical perspective and valued research tradition. Honorary Life Members are accorded all rights and privileges of active members, are exempted from Society dues and are listed in the dedicated Honorary Life Members section of the Society web site. The winner(s) is elected by vote of the ICIS Council and will be an invited speaker(s) at the next ICIS meeting.

2020 ICIS Honorary Lifetime Membership Awardee
2019 ICIS Honorary Lifetime Membership Awardee