In the late 1970s, Steven A. Rosenberg, MD, began his work in immunotherapy, developing the first effective immunotherapies for patients with advanced cancer. Almost four decades later, Rosenberg, a clinical professor of surgery at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), received the 2018 Jacobson Innovation Award from the American College of Surgeons in appreciation of his accomplishments.

“Oncologic surgery has come a long way since the 1970s,” Rosenberg said. “I am honored to have played a role in its progress and innovation.”

The Jacobson Innovation Award is presented to surgeons who have been innovators of a new development or technique in any field of surgery. The award is made possible through a gift from general vascular surgeon Julius H. Jacobson II, MD, FACS, and his wife Joan. Jacobson is known for his pioneering working in the development of microsurgery.

In addition to his appointment at SMHS, Rosenberg serves as the chief of the surgery branch at the National Cancer Institute where he oversees the branch’s clinical program aimed at translating scientific advances into effective immunotherapies for cancer patients. He was the first to successfully insert foreign genes into human subjects, and his research on cell transfer immunotherapy resulted in durable, complete remissions in patients with metastatic melanoma. Rosenberg is currently focused on defining the host immune response of patients to their cancers.

He has earned numerous awards throughout his career, including the Meritorious Service Medal from the United States Public Health Service in 1981 and the Karnofsky Prize from the American Society of Clinical Oncology in 1991.

For more information about the 2018 Jacobson Innovation Award, visit