Celebrated for his lifelong commitment to improving cancer treatment through research focused on genetics and precision medicine, Dr. Gilliland is widely recognized as a leader in the field, conducting innovative research that spans the spectrum from bench to bedside. Much of Dr. Gilliland’s translational research has centered on identifying genetic drivers of various hematologic malignancies including leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, and myeloproliferative disease. Specifically, he has employed positional cloning techniques to effectively identify genetic abnormalities associated with such malignancies, allowing for subsequent investigations involving the utilization of preclinical animal models to develop targeted therapies to counteract such driver mutations.
During his time in the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Gilliland applied his genetic and biomedical expertise to rigorous drug discovery and development efforts, contributing to the team responsible for the development of the PD-1 (programmed cell death 1) monoclonal antibody, pembrolizumab. Initially approved for the treatment of metastatic melanoma, this immunotherapeutic has since received approval for use for any metastatic or unresectable solid tumor in pediatric or adult patients that have failed prior treatment and present with either high microsatellite instability or DNA mismatch repair defects. Importantly, this approval represents the first tissue/site-agnostic approved drug.
Dr. Gilliland currently oversees the Fred Hutch/University of Washington Cancer Consortium. This collaboration between multiple partner institutions and stakeholders in all cancer sectors is designed to support the development of novel and effective options for cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. The consortium aims to accomplish this goal by focusing on five major scientific areas including the basic biology of cancer, cancer immunotherapy, global oncology, health care economics and outcomes research, and population-based research.
2016 Champions for Children Award, Moyer Foundation
2015 Elected Member, National Academy of Medicine, Washington, D.C.
2009 Emil J Freireich Award in Clinical Cancer Research, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
2008 Physician Mentor Recognition Award, American Medical Association, Women Physicians Section
2007 Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award, American Society for Clinical Investigation
2006 Councillor, American Society of Hematology
2006 McCredie Lecturer, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
2003 Dameshek Prize, American Society of Hematology
2003 Elected Member, Association of American Physicians
2002-2007 Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
1995 Elected Member, American Society for Clinical Investigation
1995-2000 Stephen Birnbaum Scholar, Leukemia Society of America
1991-1993 Harvard-Sandoz Scholar in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
1990-1992 Jose Carreras Scholar Award, American Society of Hematology
1990-1991 Julian and Eunice Cohen Scholar in Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
1984 Gold-Headed Cane Award, University of California, San Francisco