A True Giant in Cancer Care: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Richard J. O’Reilly, MD, Inducted into the 2021 Giants of Cancer Care®

Richard J. O'Reilly, MD

Richard J. O'Reilly, MD

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) is proud to announce that Richard J. O’Reilly, MD, former Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Director of the Bone Marrow Transplantation Program at MSK, was named to the Ninth Annual Giants of Cancer Care®. Dr. O’Reilly is among the 14 inductees selected to join the prestigious 2021 class. He was recognized for his pioneering work in pediatric oncology at an event on November 4, 2021, in New York City.

The Giants of Cancer Care® campaign celebrates the achievements of leading physicians and investigators who have devoted their time, talent, and resources to improving care for the many patients and their families affected by cancer.  Recipients of the 2021 award demonstrate the qualities that distinguish them from others: unlimited selflessness, compassion for their patients, and a desire to understand and develop life-changing treatments against a disease that afflicts so many.

“I am honored to be inducted into the 2021 Giants of Cancer Care® class,” said Dr. O’Reilly. “Throughout my career, I have always asked myself, ’How do we, as doctors and researchers, get better at transferring promising new therapies to our patients?’ Knowing that our work has contributed to the lives of children and their families has been both deeply satisfying and very energizing. I am grateful that we have been able to develop transplant approaches and cell-based immunotherapies that have helped children and adults with cancers and genetic diseases of the blood system.”

A world-renowned pediatric oncologist, Dr. O’Reilly has dedicated his career to research in the field of bone marrow transplantation and has helped foster significant improvements in outcomes for patients with leukemia and genetic disorders of the immune system. In 1973, he helped establish the bone marrow transplant program at MSK, one of the first transplant centers in the United States, and in 1976 was appointed director and chief of the transplant program at MSK Kids, the pediatric oncology program at MSK. From 1976 until 2004 he was also Chief of the Allogeneic Bone Marrow Transplantation Service in the Department of Medicine. He and his colleagues have worked to make bone marrow transplants possible even for patients without genetically matched relatives who can serve as donors and to increase the successful use of such transplants in the treatment of leukemia. Dr. O’Reilly served as Chair of the Department of Pediatrics from 1986 to 2016. He is also the incumbent of the Claire L. Tow Chair in Pediatric Oncology Research.