June 3, 2019

New Center at University of Pennsylvania Launched

$12 Million Awarded to Study Radiation Therapy and Immune Signaling

NEW YORK – The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research announced today that it has awarded a grant of $12 million to establish The Mark Foundation Center for Immunotherapy, Immune Signaling, and Radiation at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Center will bring together cross-departmental teams of basic scientists and clinical researchers, who will focus on better understanding the interconnected relationships between advances in radiation therapy, important signaling pathways in cancer and immune cells, and the immune system’s ability to effectively control cancer.

“The results of this exciting project could have enormous significance for cancer patients,” said The Mark Foundation CEO Michele Cleary. “This multidisciplinary effort is well positioned for success, and we expect these leading researchers will uncover novel insights into cancer biology that will substantially expand the options for treatments with better efficacy and minimal toxicities. We look forward to working with this powerhouse team over the next 5 years and beyond.”

The new center at the University of Pennsylvania follows in the footsteps of The Mark Foundation’s establishment last summer of The Mark Foundation Institute for Integrated Cancer Medicine at the University of Cambridge, as well as previously announced collaborations with Cancer Research UK and Evotec. These awards all derive from the Mark Foundation’s commitment to funding interdisciplinary research that shows significant promise to transform how cancer is prevented, diagnosed and treated.

The Mark Foundation Center for Immunotherapy, Immune Signaling, and Radiation will be led by Andy J. Minn, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine.  The primary efforts of the center will comprise five key projects that converge on understanding the signaling pathways elicited by radiation therapy and how those pathways can be exploited therapeutically to enable the immune system to recognize and eradicate cancer.

“These projects have the chance to change the paradigm when it comes to cancer treatment,” said Minn. “Understanding important and potentially targetable mechanisms of immunotherapy resistance and how to use novel radiation therapies to enhance immunotherapies carries enormous benefits for patients.”

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