Cancer Researchers to Rock Buddy Guy’s Legends for One Night Only

May 16, 2019

CHICAGO – Nobel Prize-winning cancer researcher James P. Allison, PhD, and The CheckPoints, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer’s (SITC) house band, return to Buddy Guy’s Legends for a performance on June 2.

In addition to Allison, Chair of the Department of Immunology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, The CheckPoints band features eight leading cancer researchers who perform together annually to benefit the future of cancer immunotherapy research. Last year, Buddy Guy himself joined the band on stage for a song.

The CheckPoints Rockin’ for a Cure Fundraiser is the annual fundraiser for SITC’s Forward Fund. Established in 2012, the Forward Fund provides grants to early career scientists and financially supports programs that stimulate the future of the field of cancer immunotherapy through education and research.

“There has never been a more exciting time to be a cancer researcher due to the continuous progress being made in immunotherapy,” said Dr. Allison, who plays harmonica in the band. “The Forward Fund plays an important role in helping to strengthen the future of our field by supporting meaningful research initiatives and educational programs. Through The CheckPoints, my colleagues and I are glad to bring awareness to SITC and the Forward Fund.”

Other members of The CheckPoints include:

  • Thomas F. Gajewski, MD, PhD, Professor, Immunology and Cancer Program Leader at the University of Chicago (lead guitar);
  • Rachel W. Humphrey, MD, Chief Medical Officer of CytomX Therapeutics (lead vocals);
  • Patrick Hwu, MD, Head, Division of Cancer Medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (keyboard);
  • Jason J. Luke, MD, FACP, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago (trumpet);
  • Ferran Prat, PhD, Senior Vice President, Research Administration and Industry Relations at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (saxophone);
  • Brad Reinfeld, student at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (bass guitar);
  • Dirk Spitzer, PhD, Assistant Professor of Surgery at Washington University (drums); and
  • John M. Timmerman, MD, Professor of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (guitar).

Since 2012, the Forward Fund has awarded more than $2.2 million toward programs, grants and initiatives that support early career scientists through research and education.

“Inspiring the next generation of cancer immunotherapy researchers has always been one of SITC’s main priorities,” said SITC President Mario Sznol, MD. “The Forward Fund helps to ensure that the early career scientists of today develop the cancer treatments of tomorrow.”

A limited number of VIP tickets to The CheckPoints: Rockin’ for a Cure are available by calling Mindon Laue at 414-271-2456 or emailing

General admission will be available at the door on a first-come, first-served basis. A minimum donation of $30 is suggested in support of the Forward Fund. Doors open at 8 p.m. The CheckPoints are scheduled to take the stage at 9 p.m.

About SITC
Established in 1984, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) is a nonprofit organization of medical professionals dedicated to improving cancer patient outcomes by advancing the development, science and application of cancer immunotherapy and tumor immunology. SITC is comprised of influential basic and translational scientists, practitioners, health care professionals, government leaders and industry professionals around the globe. Through educational initiatives that foster scientific exchange and collaboration among leaders in the field, SITC aims to one day make the word “cure” a reality for cancer patients everywhere. Learn more about SITC, our educational offerings and other resources at and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.

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Media Contact

Julia Schultz, Director of Communications
(414) 271-2456