Dr. Charlotte Cunningham-Rundles Wins 2024 Joachim Hilfenhaus Award for Immunology Excellence

International award recognizes outstanding contributions to the provision of safe and efficacious plasma protein therapies.

The Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA) is pleased to announce  Charlotte Cunningham-Rundles, MD PhD, as the recipient of the 2024 Joachim Hilfenhaus Award for exceptional contributions to the field of immunology. Dr. Cunningham-Rundles accepted the award during the International Plasma Protein Congress (IPPC) on April 16 in front of decision-makers, policymakers, regulators, opinion leaders, patient representatives, plasma donors, plasma collection professionals, and peers from the plasma-derived medicines sector.

Cunningham-Rundles, the David S. Gottesman Professor of Immunology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, is world-renowned for her groundbreaking research and dedication to advancing the understanding of primary immune deficiency diseases. Currently, she holds multiple distinguished positions, serving as a Professor of Medicine and of Pediatrics at Icahn Mount Sinai in New York – which is where she also established one of the largest Immunodeficiency Clinics in the Northeast US. Additionally, she has been the Director of the Division of Clinical Immunology and also of the Allergy Immunology Fellowship training program.  

Cunningham-Rundles is renowned for her expertise in over 450 primary immune deficiency diseases, making significant strides in diagnosis and treatment. Her research, supported by prestigious institutions such as the US Public Health Service and the National Institutes of Health, has earned her numerous accolades including the Clinical Immunology Society President's Award and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Distinguished Clinician Award. She is a Fellow of esteemed organizations including the American Federation for Clinical Research and the American College of Physicians, Dr. Cunningham-Rundles has been a pivotal figure in shaping the landscape of immunology research. She earned a PhD in immunology from NYU and an MD from Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons.

In addition to her academic and clinical endeavors, Cunningham-Rundles has been instrumental in raising awareness for plasma and plasma-derived medicines (PDMPs), essential for treating immune deficiency diseases. Acknowledging the honor, Anita Brikman, President & CEO of PPTA stated,“ Dr. Cunningham-Rundles's impact extends beyond academia. She has played a crucial role in the plasma sector, contributing directly to the development of innovative medicines that have significantly improved patient outcomes.”

Dr. Cunningham-Rundles said, “It is a such great honor for me to receive the 2024 Joachim Hilfenhaus award. I realize that my research in immune deficiency has depended on decades of careful work by many others, resulting in the development of safe plasma -based treatments.  This robust work has allowed our patients to thrive, while new research ideas can be developed. With all the progress in understanding and treating immunodeficiency over the last 50 years, safe immunoglobulin remains the mainstay of  therapy.”

PPTA recognizes the pivotal role that immunologists like Cunningham-Rundles play in advancing medical knowledge and improving patient outcomes. Through their tireless dedication, researchers like Cunningham-Rundles contribute to the development of plasma-derived medicines, which are essential for the treatment of immune deficiency diseases. PPTA continues to support research efforts aimed at enhancing our understanding of immunological disorders and fostering collaborations that drive progress in patient care.

This prestigious prize, established in remembrance of immunological research pioneer Dr. Joachim Hilfenhaus, is awarded annually at IPPC, which was held in Athens, Greece this year. Each year, the award is given to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the safety and efficacy of plasma-derived medical products. Dr. Joachim Hilfenhaus was an internationally renowned virologist who served as the first Chair of the European Association of the Plasma Products Industries 'Viral Safety Working Group.  In 2025, the award will be presented during IPPC in Warsaw, Poland.