Dr. Freda Stevenson’s life-long work has focused on the B cell biology of human lymphoproliferative disease. She began her work investigating the cell surface antigens of B lymphocytes and learned that anti-idiotype antibodies directed against the B cell receptor could lead to B cell death in leukemic and lymphomatous cells. She is credited with the discovery of two clinically significant subsets in CLL based on IGHV mutational status. Her laboratory was been involved in the design and testing of gene-based vaccines directed against tumor antigens, as well as the testing of the anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody that led to the development of daratumumab for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma.
Dr. Stevenson received her PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Oxford in 1964. She is a Professor of Immunology at the University of Southampton and a consultant at the Southampton University Hospitals. She was awarded the European Hematology Association’s Jean Bernard Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 and the Rai Binet Medal from iwCLL in 2015; in both of these awards, she was the first woman, first non-clinical scientist and first UK citizen to be so recognized. She was also awarded the American Society of Hematology Henry M. Stratton Medal in 2018 for seminal contributions in her research.