Dr. Restifo’s sole focus for over three decades is on the development of immunotherapeutic treatments for patients with cancer. He has focused his efforts on the goal of using T cells to eradicating advanced, metastatic cancer. He received in MD from New York University and post-doctoral training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center before spending 31 years at the National Cancer Institute. In 2019, he joined Lyell Immunopharma, a startup company based in South San Francisco that is focused on delivering curative cell-based treatments for patients with metastatic malignancies.
His contributions to the field include: The molecular definition of the qualities of highly effective anti-tumor T cells; identification of the gene expression within tumors that is required for successful immunotherapy and that mediate ‘tumor escape’; elucidation of the mechanisms that enable the activation and inhibition of anti-tumor T cells; and an understanding the impact of host factors in cancer immunotherapy. His contributions toward understanding immune destruction of tumors now becoming cancer treatments worldwide.
These efforts are documented in more than 325 papers (that have been cited over 75,000 times with an h-index of 139) and two dozen book chapters on cancer. His work has impacted on virtually every component of modern immunotherapy that is curative of metastatic cancer and has transformed cancer medicine. He has received many awards and was cited in 2019 by Thomson Reuters as one of the “World’s most influential scientific minds.”