Dr. Robert Seeger selected for 2017 Richard T. Jones Distinguished Alumnus Scientist Award

Dr. Robert SeegerApril 25, 2017

When Robert Seeger, M.D. '66, M.S. '66 took a year off studying medicine at the University of Oregon Medical School* to earn a master of science, he got hooked on research.

Dr. Seeger, professor of pediatrics at USC's Keck School of Medicine/Children's Hospital Los Angeles, went on to investigate childhood neuroblastoma in the 1970s when the survival rate was less than 5 percent.

In 1977, he established two new neuroblastoma cell lines – only two existed previously. One of his lines was used to create dinutuximab, the first immunotherapy approved by the FDA to treat pediatric cancer. He later showed for the first time that a human cancer-associated gene – MYCN in neuroblastoma – predicted poor survival. He also developed new therapies that have helped increase the survival rate of high-risk neuroblastoma to 50 percent. 

In 2016, he received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium and from the Advances in Neuroblastoma Research Association. He credits his many accomplishments to that OHSU research year and the mentorship of the late Robert D. Koler, M.D. '47 R '53, professor emeritus of molecular and medical genetics, and medicine. 

"That year taught me independence," Dr. Seeger said. "A lot of research success comes from innovation, hard work and luck!"

*OHSU's precursor

Learn about the Jones award.

Written by Amanda Waldroupe for Bridges magazine.