Steven A. Rosenberg, MD, PhD

Steven A. Rosenberg, MD, PhD
​Chief of Surgery, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland

Steven A. Rosenberg, MD, PhD | Class of 2015

A pioneer in cancer immunotherapy research, Dr. Rosenberg led in establishing gene therapy, in developing the first effective cancer immunotherapy in humans using T-cell stimulation, and in establishing adoptive immunotherapy (adoptive cell transfer). The latter is an essential technique whereby cells, such as T cells, are extracted from a patient, expanded ex vivo, and subsequently reintroduced into the patient.

In a landmark experiment involving his adoptive cell transfer technique, he demonstrated that administration of a combination of the T-cell growth factor cytokine, IL-2, tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, and a lymphodepleting preparative regimen stimulated complete remissions in metastatic melanoma. He built upon these findings by characterizing immunodepletion protocols and cell selection techniques, which proved effective in achieving higher cancer regression rates for metastatic melanoma patients receiving reintroduced immune cells.

Dr. Rosenberg was the first to introduce a foreign gene into a human and was also the first to successfully utilize T-cell receptors against melanoma and chimeric antigen receptors against lymphomas to genetically modify autologous lymphocytes, which subsequently mediated tumor regression when reintroduced into patients. His recent research has identified somatic mutations as targets of T-cell immunotherapy for melanoma, a finding that holds promise for the development of immunotherapy for patients with common epithelial cancers. His discoveries continue to be translated by researchers studying how to utilize techniques such as adoptive cell transfer to re-engineer the immune system to better counteract cancer.

Career Highlights

​2015  Medal of Honor, American Cancer Society
2012  Keio Medical Science Prize
2011  William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology, Cancer Research Institute
2006  Medallion for Scientific Achievement, American Surgical Association
2005  Richard V. Smalley, MD, Memorial Award, International Society for Biological Therapy of Cancer
2005  Lila Gruber Memorial Cancer Research Award, American Academy of Dermatology
2003  American-Italian Cancer Foundation Prize for Scientific Excellence in Medicine
2002  Flance-Karl Award, American Surgical Association
1996  John Wayne Award for Clinical Research, Society of Surgical Oncology
1993  Claude Jacquillat Award for Achievement in Clinical Oncology (France)
1991  David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award and Lecture, American Society of Clinical Oncology
1988  Griffuel Prize for Research, French Association for Research on Cancer
1987  Elected Member, Institute of Medicine
1968  PhD, Biophysics, Harvard University
1964  MD, Johns Hopkins University