Photo of Steven Rosenberg

Steven Rosenberg

  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • Medicine

For transforming the way we treat cancer and advancing our progress toward ending cancer as we know it. By leading the development of the first effective immunotherapies, he has saved countless lives and inspired a generation of scientists. His work powerfully illustrates that we can do big things as Americans.

Dr. Rosenberg is Chief of Surgery at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland and a Professor of Surgery at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences and at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C. He is a Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.

Dr. Rosenberg received his B.A. and M.D. degree at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland and a Ph.D. in Biophysics at Harvard University. After completing his residency training in surgery in 1974 at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, Dr. Rosenberg became the Chief of the Surgery Branch at the National Cancer Institute, a position he has held to the present time.

Dr. Rosenberg pioneered the first effective immunotherapies for patients with advanced cancer. His basic and clinical studies of interleukin-2 directly resulted in the approval of this immunotherapy by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of patients with metastatic melanoma and renal cancer, many of whom remain disease-free over 25 years after treatment. His studies of cell transfer immunotherapy that resulted in durable complete remissions in patients with metastatic melanoma were the first to directly demonstrate the effective role of T lymphocytes in human cancer immunotherapy. He pioneered the development of gene therapy and was the first to successfully insert foreign genes into humans. He was the first to demonstrate the effectiveness of genetically engineered CAR-T cells to mediate the regression of B-cell malignancies in humans, a treatment now approved by the FDA for widespread use. In recent work Dr. Rosenberg established new approaches for the application of immunotherapy to patients with a variety of common solid epithelial cancers by targeting the unique mutations present in the patient’s cancer.

For these contributions Dr. Rosenberg has received the highest awards from virtually every major organization involved in the study of cancer. Recently he received the Keio Medical Science Prize (2012), the American Cancer Society Medal of Honor (2015), the Novartis Prize for Clinical Immunology (2016),the Albany Medical Center Prize (2018), the American Association of Immunology Steinman Award for Human Immunology Research (2019), the Szent-Gyorgi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research (2019), the Edogawa NICHE Prize (2019), the Anthony Cerami Award in Translational Medicine (2019), AACR-CRI Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology (2020), Samuel D. Gross Prize from Philadelphia Academy of Surgery (2020), the establishment of the Steven A. Rosenberg Scholars Prize in Cancer Immunotherapy from the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (2020), and most recently, the Dan David Prize in Molecular Medicine from Tel Aviv University, Israel (2021) and the Pezcoller Foundation-AACR Award for Extraordinary Achievement in Cancer Research (2022).

Dr. Rosenberg is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He has published over 1100 papers in the peer-reviewed literature. His h-index of 206 continues to make him one of the highest cited clinician/scientists in the world.