Larry W. Kwak, MD, PhD
Physician and scientist Larry W. Kwak, MD, PhD, Director of City of Hope’s Toni Stephenson Lymphoma Center, has been awarded the 2016 Ho-Am Prize in Medicine, which recognizes people of Korean heritage who have made impressive contributions in clinical and research areas that contributed to the fight against disease. Widely considered the Nobel Prizes of Korea, Dr. Kwak will receive the award at a June 1 ceremony in Seoul.
“The Ho-Am Prize in Medicine recognizes Dr. Kwak’s leading-edge research on immunology and therapeutic cancer vaccines, which have greatly advanced this field of study,” said Steven T. Rosen, MD, City of Hope’s Provost and Chief Scientific Officer. “His dedication to guiding research breakthroughs from the lab to the clinic, particularly in the treatment of lymphoma and other blood and bone marrow diseases, is extremely worthy of such international recognition.”
As Head of the Vaccine Biology Section, Experimental Transplantation and Immunology Branch at the National Cancer Institute for 12 years, Dr. Kwak and his laboratory team were credited with the bench-to-clinic development of a therapeutic cancer vaccine for B-cell malignancies. The vaccine is one of the earliest examples of personalized medicine.
“As a Korean-American, the Ho-Am Prize is particularly significant for me, because it represents years of perseverance working toward a lifelong dream of bringing homegrown laboratory discoveries to impact patients worldwide as rapidly as possible,” said Dr. Kwak. “There is still much work to be done.”
As a key leader with City of Hope’s Hematologic Malignancies and Stem Cell Transplantation Institute, Dr. Kwak sets scientific priorities and guides the development of new approaches to treating lymphoma and related diseases, especially those involving immune-based treatments.
Dr.Kwak also serves in the dual leadership role of inaugural Associate Director for Developmental Therapeutics and Translational Research for City of Hope’s National Cancer Institute–designated comprehensive cancer center. He holds the title of the Dr. Michael Friedman Professor in Translational Medicine.
Dr. Kwak joined City of Hope in April 2015 from MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he served as Chairman of the Department of Lymphoma and Myeloma and as Co-Director of the Center for Cancer Immunology Research.
Dr. Kwak received his medical degree from Northwestern University Medical School and earned his doctorate in tumor cell biology there as well. He also completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in medical oncology at Stanford University Medical Center. ■