Richard Gilbertson Named 2022 Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Prize Recipient for Contributions in Pediatric Oncology

Richard Gilbertson, MBBS, PhD

Richard Gilbertson, MBBS, PhD, of Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, has been named the 2022 recipient of The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Prize.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) announced that pediatric oncologist Richard Gilbertson, MBBS, PhD, of Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, has been named the 2022 recipient of The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Prize. The award was presented to Dr. Gilbertson at the Gerstner Sloan Kettering (GSK) Convocation on May 18, 2022, followed by an honorary lecture at MSK Kids Grand Rounds to be given on May 19, 2022.

The Society Prize is a global recognition that is awarded annually to a researcher, physician, or team lead who has made a positive and lasting impact in the fight against pediatric cancer. The award is accompanied with a $25,000 cash prize. Dr. Gilbertson was selected as this year’s recipient for his contributions and discoveries that have impacted children with cancer including the developmental origins of childhood brain tumors that have led not only to an understanding of the molecular and cellular origins of these tumors but have also impacted clinical outcomes through risk-stratified treatments and new targeted therapeutic options. 

Founded in 1946, The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering is a volunteer-led organization within MSK dedicated to promoting the well-being of patients, supporting cancer research, and providing education on the early prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer.

“The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Prize recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to improving outcomes for children with cancer,” said Dr. Andrew Kung, MD, PhD, Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at MSK Kids. “Dr. Gilbertson has made many significant discoveries over the years that have improved the way we as clinicians treat children with brain tumors. We are delighted to honor Dr. Gilbertson and I can think of no one more deserving of joining the luminaries who have been honored with this Prize.”

Previous honorees of The Society Prize include Richard J. O’Reilly (MSK), James Downing (St. Jude), Melvyn Greaves (Institute for Cancer Research, UK), Kevin Shannon (UCSF), Michel Sadelain (MSK), Carl June (UPENN), and A. Thomas Look (Dana Farber Cancer Institute). 

About the Recipient

Dr. Gilbertson trained as a pediatric oncologist in the United Kingdom before moving in 2000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital where he served as Scientific and Comprehensive Cancer Center Director, Executive Vice President, and Lillian R Cannon Endowed Chair.

In August 2015, Dr. Gilbertson moved back to England where he currently is the Li Ka Shing Chair of Oncology and Head of Department of Oncology at the University of Cambridge, Director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre, and Senior Group Leader at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. His laboratory research is focused on understanding the link between normal development and the origins of cancer, particularly brain tumors.

“It is both exciting and humbling to be honored with this recognition,” said Dr. Gilbertson. “I share this award with all my amazing colleagues and collaborators – including countless patients and their families – who together work daily to ensure cancer is no longer a leading cause of death by disease among children across the world.”

A History of Making a Difference for the Littlest Patients

MSK Kids, the pediatric oncology program at MSK, is dedicated to all children, young adults, and families facing childhood cancer. With specialized expertise and care focused on the individual child, more families turn to MSK Kids for cancer care than any other hospital in the United States. MSK Kids also brings the latest treatments closer to home for patients and families, expanding care to MSK’s Regional Care Network with locations in Westchester County, Long Island, and New Jersey. As pioneers in research, MSK’s physicians and scientists are working to develop and deliver more effective strategies to prevent, treat and cure childhood cancer.