Martin Cheever, MD

Martin "Mac" Cheever, MD

Principal Investigator, Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network
Member, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Professor of Medicine/Oncology, University of Washington

Mailing Address

Cancer Immunotherapy Trial Network
1100 Eastlake Avenue N, E3-300
Seattle WA 98109-1023

Admin Contact

Brooke Gibson
Fax: 206.667.6366

Specialty / Expertise

  • Medical Oncology
  • Immunotherapy

Research Interests

  • Immunotherapy Cancer Vaccines
  • Solid Tumor Research

Current Research Projects

Dr Cheever is Member and Director of Solid Tumor Research for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) and Professor of Medicine and Associate Director of Medical Oncology for the University of Washington (UW). Dr. Cheever sees his mandate to help facilitate Solid Tumor Research as both exciting and challenging. The development and testing of new therapies to treat the common cancers is a pressing national and global need. Our team at the FHCRC and UW is increasingly expert and accomplished in evaluating and developing the promise of new cancer therapies beginning with preclinical work, early stage clinical trials and pivotal trials. The efforts of the group are contributing substantially to hasten the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry’s development of cancer drugs and therapy regimens. There’s enormous potential here.

His own research expertise is in cancer immune therapy and cancer vaccine development. From 1987 to 1997 he served a Professor of Medicine UW and Member FHCRC with a major focus on developing the principles of T cell therapy, cancer antigen discovery and development of cancer vaccines, especially for breast cancer. In 1994, he co-founded a biotech company, Corixa Corporation, in order to develop cancer vaccines as therapeutic products. He served as Vice President of Clinical Research and Medical Affairs from 1997 to 2005. In this capacity, he gained extensive experience with: design and initiation of cancer vaccine trials; cancer antigen discovery and cancer vaccine development in collaboration with major pharmaceutical corporations as well as FDA related product approval issues.

He has recently consulted extensively with the NCI to help prioritize

  1. immunotherapy agents with the highest potential for cancer therapy,
  2. cancer vaccine target antigens and
  3. multi-component cancer vaccine regimens.

He is working with the NCI towards development of a collaborative immunotherapy trials network.


Dr. Cheever received his MD from the University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan. He completed his internship and residency at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington. He was a Senior Fellow and Instructor in Medicine, Division of Oncology at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

Selected Publications

Cheever, M.A. and Chen, W.:  Therapy with cultured T cells: Principles Revisited.  Immunological Reviews, Dr. Göran Möller (ed.), Munksgaard Intl. Pub., 157: 177-194, 1997.

Disis ML, Schiffman K, Guthrie K, Salazar LG, Knutson KL, Goodell V, dela Rosa C, Cheever MA;  Effect of dose on immune response in patients vaccinated with an her-2/neu intracellular domain protein--based vaccine. J Clin Oncol. 2004 May 15;22(10):1916-25.

Disis, M.L., Gralow, J.R., Bernhard, H., Hand, S.L., Rubin, W.D., and Cheever, M.A.:  Peptide Based, but not Whole Protein, Vaccines Elicit Immunity to HER-2/neu, an Oncogenic Self Protein. J. Immunol. 156: 3151-3158, 1996.

Disis, M.L., Bernhard, H., Shiota, F.M., Hand, S.L., Gralow J.R., and Cheever, M.A.:  GM-CSF: An Effective Adjuvant for Protein and Peptide Based Vaccines. Blood. 88: 202-210, 1996.

Disis, M.L., Grabstein, K.H., Sleath, P.R., and M.A. Cheever: Generation of Immunity to the HER-2/neu Oncogenic Protein in Patients with Breast and Ovarian Cancer Using a Peptide Based Vaccine. Clinical Cancer Research, Clin Cancer Res 1999 Jun; 5(6):1289-97.

Gaiger, A., Reese, V., Disis, ML., Cheever, MA. Immunity to WT1 in the animal model and in patients with acute myeloid leukemia. Blood. 2000 Aug 15;96(4):1480-9.

Gaiger, A., Carter, L., Greinix, H., Carter, D., McNeill, P.D., Houghton, R.L., Cornellison, C., Vedvick, T.S., Skeiky, Y.A.W. and Cheever; M.A., WT1-specific serum antibodies in patients with leukemia. Clin Cancer Res. 2001 Mar;7(3 Suppl):761s-765s.

Knutson KL, Schiffman K, Cheever MA, Disis ML. Immunization of cancer patients with a HER-2/neu, HLA-A2 peptide, p369-377, results in short-lived peptide-specific immunity. Clin Cancer Res. 2002 May;8(5):1014-8.

Disis ML, Gooley TA, Rinn K, Davis D, Piepkorn M, Cheever MA, Knutson KL, Schiffman K. Generation of T-cell immunity to the HER-2/neu protein after active immunization with HER-2/neu Peptide-based vaccines. J Clin Oncol. 2002 Jun 1;20(11):2624-32. 

Disis ML, Schiffman K, Guthrie K, Salazar LG, Knutson KL, Goodell V, dela Rosa C, Cheever MA.;  Effect of dose on immune response in patients vaccinated with an her-2/neu intracellular domain protein--based vaccine. J Clin Oncol. 2004 May 15;22(10):1916-25.

Cheever MA, Schlom J, Weiner LM, Lyerly HK, Disis ML, Greenwood A, Grad O, Nelson WG; Translational Research Working Group. Translational Research Working Group developmental pathway for immune response modifiers; Clin Cancer Res. 2008 Sep 15;14(18):5692-9.

Cheever MA, Twelve Immunotherapy Drugs That Could Cure Cancers. Immunological Reviews 2008 Vol. 222:357-368.

Cheever MA, Allison, JP, Ferris, AS, Finn OJ, Hastings, BM, Hecht, TT, Mellman I, Prindiville SA, Steinman, Viner JL, Weiner LM and Matrisian LM. The Prioritization of Cancer Antigens: A National Cancer Institute Pilot Project for the Acceleration of Translational Research. Clin Cancer Res 15:5323 2009

Last updated: June 2010