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Dr. Larry Kwak

Humanities Track

Dr. Larry Kwak

Vice President and DeputyDirector, Comprehensive Cancer Center
Dr. Michael Friedman Professor for Translational Medicine
Director,Toni Stephenson Lymphoma Center
City of Hope

Dr. Kwak knew from an early age that we wanted to pursue a career as a dual scientist and physician; to make the scientific discoveries in the laboratory and also offer them to patients in the clinic. He graduated from the highly selective 6-year combined B.S.-M.D. Honors Program in Medical Education from Northwestern University Medical School in 1982 and earned his Ph.D. in tumor cell biology there in 1984. He then completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in medical oncology at Stanford University.

Prior to coming to City of Hope in 2015, Dr. Kwak served for a decade as Chairman of the Department of Lymphoma and Myeloma and Co-Director of the Center for Cancer Immunology Research at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. 

In 2010 Dr. Kwak was named to the TIME100, one of the world’s 100 most influential people by TIME magazine, for his 20 year commitment to the science of cancer immunotherapy.  In 2016 he was awarded the Ho-Am Prize in Medicine (regarded as the Nobel Prize of South Korea) for his pioneering research in cancer immunotherapy.

A committed physician, scientist, and mentor, his vision is to assemble and lead research teams to integrate basic discoveries from academic laboratories with translational clinical development to first-in-human clinical trials of novel “homegrown” therapeutics, such as next generation cancer immunotherapies.  He is scientific founder of Pepromene Bio, Inc., a biotech company developing a novel chimeric antigen receptor (“CAR”) T-cell therapy. 

He and his wife live in Pasadena, California, and they recently published a book in Korea on the subject of teamwork in parenting, drawing from their experience raising four children.