Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

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Team Members

Team Awards

INFORMS Prize: Winner(s)
2012 - Winner(s)

The 2012 INFORMS Prize is awarded to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) for the outstanding widespread use and influence of operations research throughout the company. MSKCC is the oldest and one of the largest cancer hospitals in the world, treating over 25,000 patients per year. In 2003, MSKCC's first O.R. position was created. In 2006, MSKCC created the operations research specialty group "QuantStrat", which has grown and has future growth plans.

The most impressive application of O.R. at MSKCC is the Edelman Award-winning work (2007) of MSKCC's Dr. Marco Zaider in collaboration with Eva Lee of the Georgia Institute of Technology using optimization modeling to create more effective prostate cancer treatment.

However, the role of O.R. is as pervasive in administrative decisions. For example, O.R. has improved the utilization of expensive radiation oncology equipment called linear accelerators-avoiding capital expenditure and construction and operation costs of over $20 million. O.R. methods were used in determining improved strategies for building a new leukemia center. O.R. has also been integral in improved patient forecasting and improved staffing decisions.

Because of the success of operations research in these projects, O.R. has continued to gain importance and influence at MSKCC to the point that now the role of operations research in the organization has taken hold in most major decisions. MSKCC continues to work with leading software providers to extend the use of O.R. as a central capability in hospital administration and cancer treatment. As testimonial, MSKCC's president, Dr. Craig B. Thompson, has termed operations research as "institutional priority number one."

By awarding the 2012 INFORMS Prize to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, INFORMS recognizes the extensive and growing role of operations research at that organization.

2012 INFORMS Prize was presented to (left to right: sitting) Wendy Perchick, Nick Kastango, Ari Caroline, Jeff Keesing (left to right: standing) Isaac Wagner, Howard Thaler, Larry Norton, M.D., Alex Grigorenko, Sasha Bartashnik, Michael Gormon

Franz Edelman Award: Winner(s)
Winning material: Operations Research Advances Cancer Therapeutics

A key researcher from the Georgia Institute of Technology worked with Memorial SloanKettering Cancer Center to reduce substantially the effects of treating prostate and breast cancer with radiation. The system saved an estimated $459 million per year on prostate cancer alone. Quality of life was improved by delivering less radiation to healthy organs.

Access the winning project’s companion paper