Gordon J. Freeman, PhD works in the Department of Medical Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Freeman earned his BA in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and PhD in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from Harvard University. His research has identified the major pathways that control the immune response by inhibiting T cell activation (PD-1/PD-L1 and B7-2/CTLA-4) or stimulating T cell activation (B7-2/CD28).
In 2000, Dr. Freeman discovered PD-L1 and PD-L2, and showed they were ligands for PD-1, thus defining the PD-1 pathway and the drug target: block the interaction. He showed the function of PD-1 was to inhibit immune responses and that blockade enhanced immune responses. He showed that PD-L1 is highly expressed on many solid tumors such as breast and lung, as well as some hematologic malignancies and allows these tumors to inhibit immune attack. He received the 2014 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology and 2017 Warren Alpert Foundation award for this work that led to development of PD-1 pathway blockade for cancer immunotherapy.