Adekunle Odunsi, MD, PhD, FRCOG, FACOG • 2020 SITC Election

Adekunle Odunsi, MD, PhD, FRCOG, FACOG
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center


Dr. Odunsi is the Cancer Center Deputy Director of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is also the Robert, Anne & Lew Wallace Endowed Chair in Cancer Immunotherapy; Professor, Department of Immunology; the M. Steven Piver Endowed Professor and Chair of the Department of Gynecologic Oncology at Roswell Park; and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Buffalo. Dr. Odunsi is also the Executive Director of the Center for Immunotherapy at Roswell Park. He provides oversight for the basic, translational and clinical research programs, as well as the educational missions of Roswell Park.

Dr. Odunsi’s research interests focus on the mechanisms of immune recognition and tolerance in human ovarian cancer, and the translation of these understandings to clinical trials. He has pioneered several pre-clinical and first-in-human clinical trials testing vaccination strategies such as peptides, dendritic cell, fusion proteins, and viral vectors to elicit antigen-specific responses in ovarian cancer patients. He has implemented protocols for multi-institutional immunotherapy clinical trials under the NCI Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network (CITN), ETCTN and the Cancer Vaccine Collaborative (CVC) of the Cancer Research Institute/Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. He is the Principal Investigator of an NCI-funded Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in ovarian cancer completely focused on overcoming mechanisms of immune resistance; and a NYSTEM award to pioneer pre-clinical and clinical development of “next generation” adoptive T cell immunotherapies utilizing mature T cells and hematopoietic stem cells. He has authored or co-authored more than 350 journal publications or book chapters. In 2018, Dr. Odunsi was elected into the United States National Academy of Medicine, a distinguished lifetime designation that is considered one of the highest honors in health and medicine.

SITC Election Platform Statement

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

  1. Identifying the most promising prospects for novel combinatorial approaches based on the best science, and addressing the challenges associated with developing these strategies.
  2. Lack of access to standard of care immunotherapy and emerging immunotherapeutic agents in clinical trials by patients, and the economic sustainability of the high cost of emerging immunotherapeutic agents (e.g. cellular therapies).
  3. Training and mentoring the next generation of investigators in cancer immunotherapy.

What is your vision for SITC?

My vision is that the SITC becomes a major voice for communicating and advocating for cancer immunology research and treatment, and for the resources that would further propel the immunology revolution to its ultimate destination of changing cancer from a terrifying disease to that of a curable disease. If elected to the Board of Directors, I will serve our SITC community by enabling the teamwork required to make the next advances in cancer immunotherapy research. I will ensure that our collective mission to develop and apply the best science for cancer patients is accelerated by bringing people together in new alliances to pursue strategic objectives and creative new directions. I will promote efforts to train and mentor the next generation of investigators.