Memorial Sloan Kettering Center is the world’s oldest and largest private cancer center and has devoted more than 130 years to exceptional patient care, innovative research, and outstanding educational programs. Today, we are one of 51 National Cancer Institute–designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, with state-of-the-art science flourishing side by side with clinical studies and treatment.
The close collaboration between our physicians and scientists is one of our unique strengths, enabling us to provide patients with the best care available as we work to discover more-effective strategies to prevent, control, and ultimately cure cancer in the future. Our education programs train future physicians and scientists, and the knowledge and experience they gain at Memorial Sloan Kettering has an impact on cancer treatment and biomedical research around the world.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center was founded in 1884 as New York Cancer Hospital on Manhattan’s Upper West Side by a group that included John J. Astor and his wife, Charlotte. In 1899, the name was changed to General Memorial Hospital for the Treatment of Cancer and Allied Diseases. In 1916, the word “General” was dropped and the new name became Memorial Hospital for the Treatment of Cancer and Allied Diseases. In 1936, the hospital began a move to our present location on York Avenue, on land donated by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and the new Memorial Hospital opened in 1939. The building, which was reconstructed between 1970 and 1973, stands on the site today.
In the 1940s, two former General Motors executives, Alfred P. Sloan and Charles F. Kettering, joined forces to establish the Sloan Kettering Institute (SKI), which has since become one of the nation’s leading biomedical research institutions. Built adjacent to Memorial Hospital, SKI was formally dedicated in 1948. In 1960, a new corporate entity — Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center — was formed to coordinate and guide the overall policy for Memorial Hospital and the Sloan Kettering Institute, and in 1980 these entities were unified into a single institution, with a single president and CEO.
Over the years, we have continued to expand our outpatient facilities and services to meet the growing needs of our patients, physicians, and researchers. Some numbers include:
1,228 attending physicians
24,243 inpatient stays
776,546 outpatient visits
25 members of the National Academy of Medicine
14 members of the National Academy of Sciences
7 Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators
2 Lasker Award recipients
1 National Medal of Science winner
1,714 residents and clinical fellows
575 postdoctoral research fellows, research scholars, and research associates
288 PhD and MD/PhD candidates
512 nursing students
524 medical students
According to US News & World Report, Memorial Sloan Kettering has ranked as one of the top two hospitals for cancer care in the country for more than 25 years and among the nation’s top pediatric hospitals for cancer care. In addition, the 2019 Best Doctors issue of New York magazine recognizes more cancer physicians from Memorial Sloan Kettering than from any other hospital in the New York metropolitan area.
Patient care is a team effort at Memorial Sloan Kettering, where more than a dozen multidisciplinary cancer care teams combine the expertise and experience of numerous specialists to ensure the best possible treatment. Patients are treated by as many different experts as are needed for their particular type of disease, including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, psychiatrists, and nurses. Our physicians have an extraordinary depth and breadth of experience in diagnosing and treating all forms of the disease, from the most common to the rarest. Each year, they treat more than 400 different subtypes of cancer. This level of specialization can have an often dramatic effect on a patient’s chances for a cure or control of his or her cancer.
Memorial Sloan Kettering’s radiologists use state-of-the-art imaging technology to detect cancer, and our pathologists have unsurpassed experience in using advanced methods to accurately diagnose cancer. They issued more than 175,000 pathology reports in 2018 to determine a precise diagnosis and the extent of disease (known as staging) to guide decisions on the best course of treatment.
Our surgeons perform more cancer operations at Memorial Sloan Kettering than doctors at any other hospital in the nation. Because of their sole focus on cancer, our surgeons can often use advanced surgical techniques that result in a better quality of life for patients. Over the years, they have pioneered many surgical innovations, including minimally invasive surgery for the treatment of many cancers.
Our radiation oncologists are developing and putting into clinical practice leading-edge technologies and techniques in radiation therapy. They pioneered intensity-modulated radiation therapy, which allows higher, more-effective doses of radiation to be delivered to tumors while minimizing exposure to surrounding healthy tissues and organs. MSK’s radiation oncologists also offer proton therapy, a highly precise form of radiation therapy. They have been at the forefront of developing the guidelines for this sophisticated treatment.
Memorial Sloan Kettering’s medical oncologists are leaders in developing new chemotherapy drugs that are safer and more effective than standard therapies. Increasingly, our medical oncologists employ sophisticated technologies, such as immunotherapies or vaccines, often in combination with chemotherapy, to more effectively treat cancer.
Memorial Sloan Kettering researchers have led the way in developing new ways to diagnose and treat cancer. We maintain one of the world’s most dynamic programs of cancer research, with more than 120 research laboratories that are focused on better understanding every type of the disease. Memorial Sloan Kettering is also home to more than 38 state-of-the-art core facilities, which provide our research community with the latest research technology and a wide range of expert services.
The extraordinary patient care we provide benefits from our innovative programs in basic, translational, and clinical research. In fact, between 1980 and 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration approved ten drugs developed in our labs for marketing — a success rate not matched by any other cancer center.
Research at the Sloan Kettering Institute (SKI) — Memorial Sloan Kettering’s basic research arm — is dedicated to understanding the biology of cancer through eight major research programs. Investigators at SKI collaborate with Memorial Hospital physician-scientists — a partnership that helps speed important research findings from the laboratory to the patient.
Memorial Hospital’s extensive research program includes areas that focus on basic laboratory research, translational research that bridges discoveries made in the laboratory and those made in the clinic, and mathematical and computational research directed at analyzing and interpreting biomedical data.
Memorial Sloan Kettering also conducts one of the largest clinical research programs in the world. Through these studies, physicians and scientists on our disease-focused research teams translate basic science findings into new treatment advances. In addition, Memorial Sloan Kettering actively initiates and participates in clinical trials to identify more-effective cancer therapies. In 2018, our physicians were pursuing than 1,000 clinical research protocols for pediatric and adult cancers.
Our researchers collaborate internally and externally to bring together laboratory investigators and clinicians from different disciplines to advance the current understanding of tumor biology and explore new ways to cure, control, and prevent disease.
Education is a vital part of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s mission. Our training programs prepare the next generation of physicians, scientists, and other healthcare professionals for leadership roles in the life sciences and medicine, especially as related to cancer.
Our educational collaborations with The Rockefeller University, Cornell University, and Weill Cornell Medical College offer PhD programs in chemical biology, computational biology and medicine, and the medical sciences. Memorial Sloan Kettering also partners with Weill Cornell Medical College and The Rockefeller University to offer an MD/PhD program for aspiring physician-scientists.
In 2004, we established a PhD program in cancer biology through the Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. This novel program, which offers a PhD degree in cancer biology and enrolled its first class in 2006, trains gifted basic laboratory scientists to work in research areas directly relevant to cancer and other human diseases. The first graduates completed the program in 2012.
We also offer postgraduate clinical fellowships to train physicians who seek special expertise in a particular type of cancer, as well as postgraduate research fellowships that provide physicians and scientists with advanced laboratory research training. With faculty appointments at the Weill Cornell Medical College, our clinical staff members train residents and medical students as well.
Memorial Sloan Kettering provides an excellent environment in which nurses can learn from professionals who are highly specialized in cancer care and nursing education. We are committed to improving the quality of care for cancer patients through the professional development of nurses at Memorial Sloan Kettering. We value their efforts to achieve advanced degrees and national certifications in their specialty practices, keep pace with technological and scientific advances in oncology nursing, and play leadership roles in the ongoing development of the profession. In addition, we offer a variety of educational and training programs for high school and college students who aspire to careers in medicine and science.