Immunology Expert at Children's Hospital Receives American Philosophical Society Prize for Patient-Oriented Research

11/19/2009

Philadelphia, Nov. 19, 2009 – A pediatric immunologist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has received a prestigious annual award from the American Philosophical Society, an organization founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin. Jordan S. Orange, M.D., Ph.D., received the Society’s Judson Daland Prize on Nov. 13 for his contributions to research and treatment of inherited immune deficiency diseases.

The Judson Daland Prize for Clinical Investigation recognizes outstanding achievements in patient-oriented research. Honorees are nominated by chairs of clinical departments at a U.S. medical school or hospital and selected by a distinguished committee of biomedical researchers.

Dr. Orange’s work involves the innate immune system, the body’s first defense against life-threatening infections and diseases. His particular research focus is natural killer cells, a major component of the innate immune system, which have an inherent ability to destroy cancer or virus-infected cells. While in graduate school at Brown University, he discovered that natural killer cells produce cytokines, which are secreted immune signaling molecules, to participate in defending the body against viruses.

Dr. Orange has continued his research in natural killer cells as a pediatrician, defining the field of human diseases caused by inherent deficiencies of natural killer cells. These include diseases in which only natural killer cells are defective, or where they are defective along with other components of immunity.

One example is Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, a difficult to treat, life-threatening, immune-deficiency disease. Dr. Orange discovered a natural killer cell defect and its mechanism in these patients, which make them especially vulnerable to herpesvirus infections and blood cell cancers. He used this knowledge to develop a novel therapy that bypasses the cellular defect, and has begun a unique clinical trial of the treatment at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

In addition to his laboratory research at Children’s Hospital, Dr. Orange evaluates and cares for children with primary immunodeficiency diseases, a varied and complex group of disorders resulting from a congenital defect in some component of the immune system. Though it results in recurrent or severe infections, the child’s underlying disease may go undiscovered for years until he or she receives an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Establishing an accurate diagnosis and providing therapy can dramatically improve outcome in these diseases and often provides a child with a relatively normal childhood and adult life.

Dr. Orange received the Daland Prize, including a $10,000 honorarium, during an award presentation on Nov. 13, at the American Philosophical Society’s headquarters in center city Philadelphia. The prize commemorates Judson Daland, a prominent Philadelphia physician and medical researcher, who left a bequest to the Society to support clinical research. As part of that fund, the Society has awarded Judson Daland Fellowships since 1938, and established the annual prize in 2001.

About The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking third in National Institutes of Health funding. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 441-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit http://www.chop.edu.

About the American Philosophical Society: The American Philosophical Society, the oldest learned society in the United States, was founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin for the purpose of “promoting useful knowledge.” In the 21st century the Society sustains this mission in three principal ways. It honors and engages distinguished scientists, humanists, social scientists, and leaders in civic and cultural affairs through elected membership and opportunities for interdisciplinary, intellectual fellowship, particularly in the semi-annual Meetings in Philadelphia. It supports research and discovery through grants and fellowships, lectures, publications, prizes, exhibitions, and public education. It serves scholars through a research library of manuscripts and other collections internationally recognized for their enduring historic value. The American Philosophical Society’s current activities reflect the founder’s spirit of inquiry, provide a forum for the free exchange of ideas, and convey the conviction of its members that intellectual inquiry and critical thought are inherently in the public interest.

Contact: Rachel Salis-Silverman
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Phone: 267-426-6063
Salis@email.chop.edu