Richard J. O’Reilly, MD, Named The Society of MSK’s Inaugural Prize Winner for Groundbreaking Contributions in Pediatric Oncology


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Richard J. O’Reilly, MD

Richard J. O’Reilly, MD

The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) has announced that Richard J. O’Reilly, MD, has been named the inaugural recipient of The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Prize. Founded in 1946, The Society of MSK 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.

This new award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the field of pediatric oncology.

About the Recipient

Dr. O’Reilly, Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics and Director of the Bone Marrow Transplantation Program at MSK, has been a thought leader in pediatric cancer care for his 4-decade career. Among his many accomplishments, he pioneered the development of curative marrow transplantation approaches for patients who lack human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matched siblings and dramatically expanded treatment options for all patients.

Dr. O’Reilly and his colleagues introduced the use of matched unrelated donors for bone marrow transplants and T-cell–depleted transplants from HLA half-matched donors. This provided patients afflicted with lethal immune deficiencies and leukemia a normal blood system without the risk of graft-vs-host disease. His laboratory is currently exploring the potential of adoptive cell therapies employing immune cells grown in vitro to treat or prevent infections and recurrence of leukemia following transplantation.

“I am very honored to be recognized as the inaugural recipient of this award,” said Dr. O’Reilly. “To have the satisfaction of knowing that your work has contributed to the lives of children and their families is impossible to put into words. I am grateful to The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering for their unwavering support and partnership. This global award heightens awareness of the field of pediatric oncology and, in particular, the enormous contributions made in our efforts to control and cure childhood cancers.”

He has received numerous honors, including the Herman Boerhaave Medal from the University of Leiden; the McGovern Award of the Houston Academy of Medicine; the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation; the Bob Pinedo Cancer Care Prize of the Society for Translational Oncology; the Castle Connolly Lifetime Achievement Award; and the Pediatric Oncology Award from ASCO. ■



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