Geert Kersten of Cel-Sci Corporation On The 5 Things Everyone Needs To Know About Cancer

An Interview With Savio P. Clemente

Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine
Published in
6 min readNov 2, 2021


I have always wanted to make the world a better place, but I also wanted to earn enough money to maintain my family. I had this simplistic vision in my mind that we could help cancer patients and that others would flock to our side to help. Then I learned that the world does not really want change and everything turned out to be a lot harder than I had expected.

Cancer is a horrible and terrifying disease. There is so much great information out there, but sometimes it is very difficult to filter out the noise. What causes cancer? Can it be prevented? How do you detect it? What are the odds of survival today? What are the different forms of cancer? What are the best treatments? And what is the best way to support someone impacted by cancer?

In this interview series called, “5 Things Everyone Needs To Know About Cancer” we are talking to experts about cancer such as oncologists, researchers, and medical directors to address these questions. As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Geert Kersten.

Geert Kersten is the CEO of CEL-SCI Corporation where he has served in his current leadership role since 1995. Mr. Kersten has been with CEL-SCI from the early days of its inception since 1987 and has been involved in the pioneering field of cancer immunotherapy for almost two decades. Mr. Kersten provides CEL-SCI with significant expertise in the fields of finance and law and has a unique vision of how the company’s Multikine product will change the way cancer is treated.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

Thank you for having me. I was raised in Munich, Germany, finished high school in England and came to the US for studies. I was accepted at Columbia for college, but my father felt that I would be too distracted in New York. Therefore I went to George Washington University in Washington, DC and spent my weekends in New York. Despite all of the distractions I graduated with a BA in Accounting in 3 years, an MBA in Finance in 1 year and subsequently graduated from law school. In fact, the law school part is what got my wife interested in me. She figured that law school was hard enough, but an American law school for someone who is not a native speaker? I earned her respect.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

I have always wanted to make the world a better place, but I also wanted to earn enough money to maintain my family. I had this simplistic vision in my mind that we could help cancer patients and that others would flock to our side to help. Then I learned that the world does not really want change and everything turned out to be a lot harder than I had expected.

This is not easy work. What is your primary motivation and drive behind the work that you do?

Cancer is in desperate need for better treatments. Usually the first treatments are surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. The new medicines are used after the tumor has recurred. Surgery was used by the Egyptians 4,000 years ago, radiation was developed by Madame Currie at the end of the 19th century and chemotherapy is derived from Mustard gas used in WW I. We need to do better! With our novel treatment our goal is to increase your chance of surviving the cancer by making the first cancer treatments more successful. In our 10 year Phase 3 study in head and neck cancer we proved this goal when we had great survival benefit for patients. Survival at 5 years was improved by 29% from about 48% for the patients getting surgery and radiation to about 62% for the group that received our cancer drug plus the same treatments.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

We have developed the first immunotherapy designed to fight cancer BEFORE surgery, radiation and chemotherapy have destroyed the immune system. It is difficult to do because you are not allowed to delay the surgery. That leaves you only about 3 weeks for treatment. Most cancer drugs require months of treatment. Our Phase 3 study lasted almost 10 years because we had to wait for a certain number of deaths to occur. Since we had a very significant survival benefit it took much longer to get there. That was hard to finance, but we are very happy to be able to help these patients. It is also important to note that our study showed no safety issues and that advanced primary head and neck cancer is a very prevalent cancer that is classified as a severe unmet medical need since the last FDA approval in this indication was over 50 years ago. Regulators generally want to approve drugs that help patients with unmet medical needs.

For the benefit of our readers, can you briefly let us know why you are an authority about the topic of Cancer?

We think differently and our goal is to create something completely novel to help cancer patients. We are authorities in that one area. We believe that our Phase 3 study, with 928 patients and taking 10 years, is the largest and longest head and neck cancer study ever done. From that study we know things that the whole cancer community will be very interested in. It will all be presented in peer reviewed journals as is expected of any serious researcher and drug developer.

Ok, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. Let’s start with some basic definitions so that we are all on the same page. What is exactly cancer?

Cancer is a disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body.

What causes cancer?

Different cancers have different causes and potentially multiple causes. In head and neck cancer smoking and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol cause cancer, as does the HPV virus.

What is the difference between the different forms of cancer?

What we call cancer is in fact many different diseases from the same basic family. That is why cancer drugs are approved for certain cancer indications, not for cancer in general.

I know that the next few questions are huge topics, but we’d love to hear your thoughts regardless. How can cancer be prevented?

It does not seem that we can prevent cancer. Therefore our goal is to make the first cancer treatment more successful so that the cancer does not come back and kill you.

How can one detect the main forms of cancer?

It is not easy, but in some cancers you can check yourself by feeling for tumors. Finding a tumor early is always best.

Cancer used to almost be a death sentence, but it seems that it has changed today. What are the odds of surviving cancer today?

Cancer is not one disease. Even the same type of cancer can have different outcomes. There is no simplistic answer to this question.

Can you share some of the new cutting-edge treatments for cancer that have recently emerged? What new cancer treatment innovations are you most excited to see come to fruition in the near future?

Cancer immunotherapy is the new frontier. We want to bring cancer immunotherapy to be used as a first treatment, when your immune system is still strong.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

We started with our idea over 30 years ago and we hope that we have started a movement. “Activate the immune system to fight cancer before the immune system is severely weakened by the current treatments.” Imagine the application of our product to many different cancers. We could save so many people.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Our website, on Twitter @CelSciCorp, and LinkedIn

Thank you so much for these insights! This was very inspirational and we wish you continued success in your great work.



Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine

Board Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC), Journalist, Best-selling Author, Podcaster, and Stage 3 Cancer Survivor