Chief of the Surgery Branch at the U.S. National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research, Bethesda Maryland
The 2019 Szent-Györgyi Prize’s selection committee was unanimous in its decision to recognize Dr. Rosenberg’s contributions for not only revolutionizing—if not originating—the field now known as cancer immunotherapy but also remaining at its forefront.
His earlier clinical trial studies on the use of an immune cell secretion, a cytokine called interleukin 2 (IL-2), led to the very first approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of a cancer immunotherapy. But his impacts continued beyond only cytokine therapy, which entails enhancements to the human immune system, into various forms of treatments wherein the immune system is itself engineered to battle cancers. These include checkpoint inhibition and two forms of adoptive cell transfer therapies.
His basic, translational and applied research efforts have contributed immeasurably to groundbreaking advances in therapy and the later development of drugs such as Chiron’s (later Novartis and Prometheus Labs’) Proleukin, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Yervoy and Gilead’s Yescarta.