Robert D. Schreiber is an immunologist who has made significant contributions to our understanding of the role of the immune system in controlling and shaping cancer. Schreiber earned his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the State University of New York at Buffalo and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry/Immunology from the same institution. After completing postdoctoral training at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla CA, he joined its faculty and rose to the level of tenured Associate Member. In 1985 he was recruited to Washington University in St. Louis as Professor of Pathology and is currently the Andrew M. and Jane M. Bursky Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Immunology. Schreiber serves as Director of the Andrew M. and Jane M. Bursky Center for Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Programs and co-leads the Tumor Immunology Program of the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center. For more than 35 years, Schreiber’s work has focused on elucidating the biochemistry and molecular cell biology of cytokines and defining the role they play in promoting immune responses to cancer. He made major contributions to our understanding of the biology and signaling mechanisms of interferon-gamma (IFN) and its receptor and pioneered the in vivo use of monoclonal antibodies to define the physiologic functions of cytokines. Using normal and genetically modified immunodeficient mice, Schreiber and colleagues demonstrated that the immune system could eliminate newly arising cancers or hold cancer cells in a state of immune-mediated dormancy. They also showed that the immune system could sculpt the immunogenicity of surviving cancer cells, rendering them more fit to survive in an immunocompetent individual. These findings led Schreiber to propose the “cancer immunoediting” concept that emphasized the dual roles of immunity in not only controlling cancer but also in promoting it. Schreiber’s work thus not only resolved a century long argument over whether the immune system affected cancer development but also formed the conceptual and experimental platform upon which today’s successful cancer immunotherapies have been built. More recently, Schreiber and colleagues created an immunogenomics method to rapidly identify tumor-specific mutant neoantigens that function as the targets of immunity. Schreiber’s current efforts center on developing therapeutic personalized neoantigen-based cancer vaccines which he argues may be more specific, more effective and safer than current forms of cancer immunotherapy. Schreiber has published over 300 papers, is a co-founder of three biotech companies, a member of the Board of Scientific Advisors for the National Cancer Institute, Associate Director of the Cancer Research Institute Scientific Advisory Council and is Co-Editor-In-Chief of Cancer Immunology Research. Schreiber is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences (USA).
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