Marcela Maus, MD, PhD • 2018 SITC Election


Marcela Maus, MD, PhD, is the director of cellular immunotherapy at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. The Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center recently recruited Dr. Maus to lead a new program in Cellular Immunotherapy. She is a member of the Center for Cancer Immunology and the Department of Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and she is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. Her laboratory is generating new forms of chimeric antigen receptors directed to new targets and bringing them to the clinical setting to treat patients with hematologic malignancies and solid tumors.

Dr. Maus trained in internal medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and at Memorial Sloan Kettering as a hematologist and medical oncologist. Her post-doctoral work was with Michel Sadelain, MD, PhD, and Carl June, MD, where she focused on pre-clinical development and correlative studies relevant to T cell immunotherapies, designing early-phase trials of T cell therapies for multiple myeloma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and glioblastoma.

SITC Election Platform Statement

What are the two or three critical issues facing the field of cancer immunotherapy?

Right now, the field of cancer immunotherapy is a victim of its own success – we have evolved from a small group of believers in the power of cancer immune therapy to now involving the entire oncology community. With so many different interest groups and disease groups and subspecialists, one critical challenge to our field is that clinical oncology is divided by organ system whereas immunology science is not necessarily organ-specific. Resolving or working within these two orthogonal structures is critical for immunotherapists to continue to innovate and translate new therapies. A second challenge is that traditional medical school training curricula in immunology is relatively sparse, but now medical oncologists and healthcare teams from many other medical specialties are managing diverse, complex, and sometimes delayed complications.

What is your vision for SITC?

The field of cancer immunotherapy is rapidly growing and changing, and SITC can and should stay at the forefront. My vision for SITC is that it remains the meeting where the new and exciting translational research and innovative ideas are incubated, where new collaborations are formed, and where trainees and new investigators mix with established translational scientists at the sessions, the posters, and the Checkpoints party.  SITC should be become the go-to professional society for the entire translational research team involved in immunotherapy for cancer: physicians, scientists, nurses, pharmacists, trainees, and industry professionals who come together to discover and develop new immune therapies for cancer patients. One example for how SITC could meet some of the critical issues identified facing the field is to co-develop fellowship programs for fellows (clinical and/or scientific) to gain a deeper understanding of basic immunology, immune biomarkers, and clinical immunotherapy development.