Clinical Center News
July/August 2017

Sawa Ito earns Distinguished Clinical Teachers Award, presents on Interleukin-2 during John Laws Decker Memorial Lecture

Presenter at podium begins the lecture
Dr. Sawa Ito, a staff clinician with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, presented the 14th annual John Laws Decker Memorial lecture in the NIH Clinical Center.
 

On June 14, Dr. Sawa Ito, a staff clinician with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, presented the 14th annual John Laws Decker Memorial lecture in the NIH Clinical Center. Ito, who was honored with the Distinguished Clinical Teachers Award by her peers in September 2016, spoke on Interleukin-2: New Indications for an Old Cytokine.

"At her core, [Ito] Sawa has the heart and brain of an inventive, extremely motivated and intellectually curious scientist," said Dr. Charles Bowlen, director of hematology and oncology fellowship program at NIH, as he introduced Ito to the crowd. "There could not be a more exceptional clinical teacher."

Ito reviewed the history of Interleukein-2 for immunotherapy. According to the National Cancer Institute, interleukin-2 is "One of a group of related proteins made by leukocytes (white blood cells) and other cells in the body. Interleukin-2 is made by a type of T lymphocyte. It increases the growth and activity of other T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes, and affects the development of the immune system. Aldesleukin (interleukin-2 made in the laboratory) is being used as a biological response modifier to boost the immune system in cancer therapy."

She also discussed the diverse roles of interleukin-2 in human immunology.

The memorial lecture celebrates the life of Dr. John Decker, who served as Clinical Center director from 1983 to 1990. While serving at NIH, advances included the development of the Positron Emission Tomography (PET) program and the initiation of clinical use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Decker's daughter and son, and their families, were in attendance of the lecture. The lecture has been viewed by over 140 people. 

The 2017 Distinguished Clinical Teacher Award, which recognizes excellence in clinical teaching and mentoring at the NIH Clinical Center, will be accepting nominees through Aug. 4 via the Clinical Fellows SharePoint Site (NIH Only).