The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) is a dynamic volunteer organization dedicated to raising funds that advance progress in cancer diagnosis, patient care, research, training, and education programs at MSK. Funds raised through The Society help ensure that MSK continues to make a worldwide impact, from early detection to life-changing treatment for people with cancer.
As part of its 2021–2022 annual campaign, The Society funded innovative research by Christine Iacobuzio-Donahue, David M. Rubenstein Chair and Director of the David M. Rubenstein Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research at MSK.
Dr. Iacobuzio-Donahue leads a team of more than 50 MSK experts whose aims include transforming pancreatic cancer, which has a five-year survival rate of less than 10%, into a manageable chronic disease. Additional Society funds supported pancreatic cancer prevention and early-detection efforts as well as MSK’s Last Wish Program, which empowers people with this disease to posthumously donate their tissues and contribute to research to help future patients.
The Society also awarded seed money to nine talented early-career researchers who are developing novel approaches to treat cancer. One recipient of these competitive grants, MSK nuclear medicine physician Simone Krebs, is studying how to improve the effectiveness of chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy and monitor its side effects. In this tailored approach, T cells, a type of immune cell, are removed from a patient and modified individually in a laboratory. The reengineered cells are then injected back into the bloodstream to fight the cancer.
The annual Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Prize recognizes singular leadership in pediatric oncology around the world. Alfred Thomas Look, who joined Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in 1999 as Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Pediatric Oncology, was awarded the 2021 prize for extraordinary work that has helped improve the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of childhood cancers. In particular, Dr. Look has made key contributions toward the development of targeted cancer therapies for children.
The year 2021 also marked The Society’s 75th anniversary. A mainstay of support on behalf of MSK, The Society continues to help drive distinguished achievements in the field of cancer.