Ryan Sullivan, MD • 2022 SITC Election

Ryan Sullivan, MD
Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital

Ryan SullivanBiography

Dr. Ryan Sullivan is board certified in Medical Oncology, an Attending Physician in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  At the MGH, he is the Associate Director of the Melanoma Program in the MGH Cancer Center and a member of the Termeer Center for Targeted Therapy. Dr. Sullivan is an active clinical and translational investigator whose main areas of interest have been the development of novel molecular targeted and immunotherapeutic combinations for malignant melanoma and other solid tumors. He previously has led and currently leads numerous clinical trials of novel agents and combination of agents including single-agent and combination molecularly targeted therapy, single-agent and combination immunotherapies, as well as combined immunotherapy with BRAF targeted therapy in melanoma. Additionally, he has been involved in team efforts to understand the mechanisms of and clinically define therapeutic resistance to immune checkpoint inhibitors. More recently, he has been interested in describing, predicting, and optimally treating immune related adverse events from immune checkpoint inhibition. Finally, he is a member of several national organizations including ASCO, AACR, Society for melanoma research (SMR), and SITC.  I currently serve as the Chair of the SITC Immunotherapy Resistance Committee Leadership Taskforce, the SITC Science and Research Subcommittee, the SITC Melanoma Subcommittee, and as an at-large member of the SMR Steering Committee.

SITC Election Platform Statement

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

First and foremost, the major issue facing the field of cancer immunotherapy is the need better therapies for our patients.  Despite the remarkable progress made over the past two decades, most cancer patients do not have durable benefit from immunotherapy.  For this to change, we need a better understanding of the mechanisms of resistance, better agents to target these mechanisms of resistance, the ability to identify non-responding patients prior to commencing therapy, and quicker ways to translate these findings into clinical trials and subsequently standard of care management.  A second and ultimately related issue relates to immunotherapy-related toxicity.  A deeper mechanistic understanding is required to develop therapies that will mitigate or even prevent toxicity without abrogating anti-tumor immunity. 

What is your vision for SITC?

My vision for SITC is that that the society will continue to support its members with advocacy, education, facilitation of collaboration between academia, industry, and the regulatory authorities, and funding for groundbreaking research.  In return, I expect that its members will continue to push the boundaries of scientific discovery and translation pertaining to cancer immunotherapy in order to transform the way patients with cancer are treated.