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.
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