A Message From Dr. Selwyn Vickers, MSK’s President and CEO

To our Community

Dear MSK Community,

Every day we are inspired when our patients are given new hope, thanks to a lifesaving approach to cancer treatment that was pioneered at MSK — immunotherapy.

The premise is straightforward: Encourage a person’s own immune system to overpower cancer cells and stop their growth. But developing new approaches demands exceptional ingenuity and perseverance. This issue of MSK News focuses on the many ways we are making immunotherapy help more people.

This type of therapy started here more than 100 years ago, when surgeon William Coley conducted the world’s first successful experiments using it to treat cancer in the 1890s. He noticed that patients with bacterial infections sometimes saw their tumors shrink and began treating people with specially prepared bacteria.

Since those early days, MSK researchers and clinicians have made transformational contributions to immunotherapy. Most recently, MSK physician-scientist Michel Sadelain, MD, PhD, was awarded the prestigious Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for his pivotal research on CAR T cell therapy, a form of immunotherapy.

As you’ll read, CAR T cell therapy reengineers the T cell — the foot soldier of the immune system. The result supercharges the immune system’s ability to fight cancer, as do TIL therapy, checkpoint inhibitors, and other immunotherapies explored in this issue.

New and visionary philanthropic support from Henry R. Kravis in honor of his wife, Marie-Josée Kravis, Vice Chair of the MSK Board of Trustees, will enable us to remain at the forefront, through the creation of The Marie-Josée Kravis Center for Cancer Immunobiology. This center and other efforts span the research spectrum — from discovery science to patient care — and will produce advances to help people with cancer for decades to come.

In this issue, you will also see how we care for people in every way they need us. For Beatriz Galvan, that meant providing language interpretation, which gave her peace of mind during breast cancer treatment.

We are also pleased to mark important milestones for the Sloan Kettering Institute — which is celebrating its 75th anniversary — as well as for MSK’s Bone Marrow Transplant team, which has been saving lives for half a century.

To conclude this issue, we’ll introduce one of the newest members of the MSK community, Mya Grace, who was born in July 2023. Her mother, Kelly Spill, participated in a heralded MSK clinical trial using immunotherapy for rectal cancer, allowing Kelly to skip radiation treatments that typically make women infertile.

New life and new discoveries help make MSK what it is. We hope you enjoy reading about our quest to end cancer for life.


Selwyn M. Vickers, MD, FACS

President and Chief Executive Officer