Immunotherapy Authority to Lead Rush Cancer Efforts

Rush has appointed Dr. Timothy M. Kuzel, a leading authority on developing innovative immunotherapy treatments for cancer, as professor of internal medicine and division chief of Hematology, Oncology and Cell Therapy. He began his new position in June. Kuzel succeeds Dr. Philip Bonomi, the Alice Pirie Wirtz Professor of Medical Oncology, who has stepped down as the division chief but still continues to see patients and remains an active faculty member leading a number of important research efforts. Kuzel was previously director of Northwestern University’s Driskill Immunotherapy Research Program, was a professor of medicine and dermatology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and oversaw the Genitourinary and Cutaneous Oncology Programs at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Kuzel is ideally suited to sustain and accelerate Rush’s leadership in deepening the understanding of how cancer develops and can be defeated,” said Dr. Jochen Reiser, chair of internal medicine at Rush. “His more than 20 years of developing innovative therapies — especially those that harness the immune system — align perfectly with Rush’s philosophy of assembling multidisciplinary teams to craft individualized treatments for each patient.” 

“We are also indebted to Dr. Bonomi for years of exemplary leadership. One of the world’s most accomplished lung cancer specialists, he has been instrumental in defining the multidisciplinary team approach that has benefited countless patients at Rush. We are delighted that he remains an active clinician and researcher at Rush.  

The Division of Hematology, Oncology and Cell Therapy oversees the diagnosis and treatment of patients with solid tumors (breast cancer, lung cancer, head and neck cancer, gastrointestinal cancers and genitourinary cancers) and blood cancers (lymphomas, leukemias and multiple myeloma). Physicians and clinical researchers in this division also lead the scientific discovery of new therapeutic targets that improve cancer patients’ quality of life and prolonged survival.  

“It is a pleasure and honor to join such a well respected and established hematology and oncology program in Chicago. This program has served the Chicago and Midwestern community bringing compassionate and high quality care to a broad range of patients. I look forward to working with Dr. Bonomi on a smooth transition and the opportunity to help the members of the division to achieve even more prominence in their fields of excellence.”

Kuzel is a past winner of the American Cancer Society Clinical Oncology Career Development Award and served as president of the Illinois Medical Oncology Society. He has authored or co-authored more than 250 journal articles, editorials and book chapters and edited a series of leading cancer treatments text books including “Cancer Treatment and Research: Immunoconjugate Therapy of Hematologic Malignancies.”

He has presented at numerous national meetings, including a recent symposium on new treatments as part of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer’s Immunotherapy 101 program that provided clinical oncologists and other cancer specialists with the immunology principles needed to integrate these therapies into the clinical management for their patients. Immunotherapies are treatments that use a patient’s immune system to target and eliminate cancer cells.

Kuzel completed his residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in hematology/oncology at Northwestern University after receiving his medical degree from the University of Michigan. He is board-certified in internal medicine, hematology and oncology and is a diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners.