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Remembering Martin “Mac” Cheever, MD

Mac Cheever, faculty portrait at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, October 11, 2018, in Seattle, Washington.

In Memoriam

By John M. Kirkwood, MD


Mac Cheever (1944 - 2021) was a pillar of the immunotherapy community, and a medical oncologist who saw the potential impact of the immune system on the war on cancer 50 years ago. He led the Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network (CITN), which is focused on immunotherapy for a range of cancers with grants from the National Cancer Institute. Mac was a constant colleague and resource for many of us in the field of cancer immunotherapy, and embraced this approach long before the modality of immunotherapy reached its current popularity.

He formed the CITN in 2007, where his steady hand led the cooperative group through remarkable growth, and through a range of challenges that he overcame through the force of his magnetic and magnanimous personality. He trained at the University of Washington in medicine and medical oncology, and began in marrow transplantation with Dr. E. Donnall Thomas. He had a stint in entrepreneurial activity as co-founder of the vaccine company Corixa before returning to Fred Hutch for the remainder of his career. He was an avid environmentalist and bicyclist, and died following heart surgery at 77 on September 23, 2021.

Read a full obituary here.

Dr. Kirkwood is the ECOG-ACRIN Principal Investigator at the University of Pittsburgh/UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and Co-Chair of the ECOG-ACRIN Prevention, Screening and Surveillance Committee. His Twitter handle is @jmkirkwood.

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