Top: (From left) Dr. James Allison, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Dr. Antoni Ribas, UCLA; Dr. Jedd Wolchok, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Parker Institute board member Peggy Hamburg; Sean Parker, president of The Parker Foundation; Dr. Jeffrey Bluestone, CEO/president of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy; Dr. Crystal Mackall, Stanford School of Medicine; Dr. Lewis Lanier, UC San Francisco; and Dr. Carl June, the University of Pennsylvania. Bottom: Sean Parker with journalist Katie Couric during a press conference to announce the launch of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, an unprecedented collaboration between the country’s leading immunologists and cancer centers.
UCLA, already a national leader in cancer immunotherapy, has joined forces with five of the nation’s leading cancer centers and the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy to maximize the potential of research in cancer immunotherapy. The Parker Institute was created through a $250-million grant from The Parker Foundation; it is the largest single contribution ever made to the field of cancer immunotherapy. The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Center in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA will receive $20 million, with initial funding of $10 million and an additional $10 million over four years.
UCLA scientists, led by Dr. Antoni Ribas (FEL ’98, ’01), professor of medicine and director of the tumor immunology program at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, will collaborate with other leading researchers, clinicians and industry partners from across the nation to harness the power of the body’s own immune system to speed the path toward immunotherapies that have the potential to turn cancer into a curable disease.
“Cancer immunotherapy is one of the most important medical advances of our time, and there is now widespread scientific consensus that the immune system is a powerful mechanism to defeat cancer,” says Dr. John C. Mazziotta (RES ’81, FEL ’83), vice chancellor of UCLA Health Sciences and CEO of UCLA Health. “With the pioneering work being done at UCLA and the Parker Institute’s paradigm-shifting research model, we can dramatically accelerate the development of new treatments and potentially save the lives of millions of people.”
In addition to the UCLA entity, the Parker Institute comprises new centers at UC San Francisco, New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Stanford Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy unites more than 40 laboratories and more than 300 researchers from the six institutions. Each Parker Institute affiliate receives funding and will have access to dedicated research, clinical resources and the key technologies it needs to fuel discovery in cancer immunotherapy. In a unique agreement among the consortium members, the administration of intellectual property will be shared, granting investigators direct access to a broad set of core discoveries.
“This is an exciting time for cancer immunotherapy research,” Dr. Ribas says. “Now, through this initiative between UCLA and the Parker Institute, we have the potential to broaden immunotherapy’s benefits to help more patients. Working with our colleagues from across the nation, we hope to be able to develop the next generation of cancer immunotherapies and test them in the clinic.”
For more information, contact Stephanie Witte at: (310) 206-3878