publication date: Feb. 22, 2019

In Brief

NCI’s Rosenberg to receive Szent-Györgyi prize

The 2019 Szent-Györgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research will be awarded to Steven A. Rosenberg of the NCI Center for Cancer Research.

The prize, awarded annually by the National Foundation for Cancer Research, recognizes Rosenberg’s pioneering role in the development of adoptive immunotherapy to treat cancer.

Rosenberg, chief of CCR’s Surgery Branch, developed the first effective immunotherapies and gene therapies for selected patients with advanced cancer and was the first to successfully insert foreign genes—in this case, genetically modified T cells—into humans. His immunotherapy clinical trials have resulted in the regression of metastatic cancer in patients with melanoma, sarcomas, lymphomas, and other cancers.

“Rosenberg’s groundbreaking work has changed cancer research and what we know about treatment, but his findings have also immeasurably changed patients’ lives,” NCI Director Ned Sharpless said in a statement. “We are proud to see him awarded the Szent-Györgyi Prize, which recognizes work that has lasting impact while also honoring the importance of basic research in understanding cancer.”

Rosenberg’s clinical trials of the protein interleukin 2 led to the first immunotherapy approved by FDA for cancer in 1992. When investigating the mechanism of IL-2 that causes cancer regression in patients with metastatic melanoma, Rosenberg identified immune cells that had cancer-fighting properties called tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes.

He and his team were the first to show in clinical trials that TILs extracted from a tumor, grown to large numbers in the lab, and then administered back to a patient, a treatment known as adoptive cell transfer immunotherapy, could lead to tumor regression in patients with advanced melanoma. 

With his team, Rosenberg also initially developed a form … Continue reading NCI’s Rosenberg to receive Szent-Györgyi prize

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