Alex Marson, director of the Gladstone-UCSF Institute of Genomic Immunology and director of the new PICI Center at Gladstone

Alex Marson will serve as director of the new Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Gladstone Institutes aiming to accelerate cures for the world’s gravest cancers.

 

Gladstone Institutes has partnered with the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI), the leading network of immuno-oncology expertise in the world, to establish a new research center focused on using genomics and CRISPR technology to program the human immune system to treat cancer.

Through the partnership, Gladstone scientists will collaborate with other preeminent research centers in the PICI Network to explore how genome editing could accelerate fundamental insights into how immune cells are “wired,” which could potentially lead to a new generation of cell-based cancer immunotherapies.

Alex Marson, MD, PhD, director of the Gladstone-UCSF Institute of Genomic Immunology and a professor of medicine at UC San Francisco, will serve as director of the new Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Gladstone Institutes. Members will also include Gladstone Assistant Investigator Karin Pelka, PhD, and Ansuman Satpathy, MD, PhD, affiliate investigator at Gladstone and assistant professor in the Department of Pathology at the Stanford School of Medicine.

Investigator Karin Pelka in the lab at Gladstone Institutes

Karin Pelka (left), shown here in her lab talking with Isabelle Young (right), is a member of the new PICI center at Gladstone.

“Our Gladstone team is working at the forefront of the exciting field of genomic immunology,” Marson said. “We are pioneering new CRISPR genome-editing technologies that may offer faster, cheaper, and more precise ways to rewrite DNA programs in human immune cells. We are also developing novel synthetic programs to help the immune system fight cancer more effectively. As a long-time member of the PICI community, I'm thrilled to join forces with other leading institutions to bring the next generation of immunotherapies to cancer patients quickly and efficiently.”

In 2019, backed by an initial investment of $25 million from PICI, Marson and PICI Network scientific leaders from UCSF, the University of Pennsylvania, Broad Institute, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute co-founded cancer cell therapy developer ArsenalBio. This successful endeavor exemplifies the collaborative work between researchers brought together by PICI.

“We are thrilled to welcome Gladstone to the PICI Network, with Alex Marson as director of the newly established center. He deeply understands PICI’s unique model and our commitment to make all cancers curable diseases.”

John Connolly, PhD

Funding for PICI centers is intended to support bold, high-risk scientific research and bridge academia and biotech through the potential formation of companies founded on next-generation therapies for cancer.

“We are thrilled to welcome Gladstone to the PICI Network, with Alex Marson as director of the newly established center,” says John Connolly, PhD, PICI chief scientific officer. “Having collaborated with distinguished fellow researchers in the Network, providing significant contributions to PICI studies and scientific retreats, and successfully proving our bench-to-market-to-patient approach, Alex deeply understands PICI’s unique model and our commitment to make all cancers curable diseases.”

The PICI Network was established to promote collaboration between leading-edge research institutions and scientists in the field of cancer immunology. Encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration and sharing research advances enables the network to maximize the scientific value of discoveries and catalyze the development of more effective cancer immunotherapies.

Organizations in the PICI Network are offered resources to support tomorrow’s scientific leaders as part of PICI’s Early Career Researcher program. PICI also facilitates access to advanced bioinformatics, intellectual property, sequencing, immune monitoring, industry-owned drugs, cell manufacturing, genetic engineering, and clinical trials management.

Other research institutions in the PICI Network include Stanford Medicine and the University of California, Los Angeles.

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About Gladstone Institutes

To ensure our work does the greatest good, Gladstone Institutes focuses on conditions with profound medical, economic, and social impact—unsolved diseases. Gladstone is an independent, nonprofit life science research organization that uses visionary science and technology to overcome disease. It has an academic affiliation with UC San Francisco.

About the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy

The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI) is radically changing how cancer research is done. Founded in 2016 through a $250 million gift from Silicon Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist Sean Parker, the San Francisco-based nonprofit is an unprecedented collaboration between the country’s leading immunotherapy researchers and cancer centers. Partner research institutions include Gladstone Institutes; the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Stanford Medicine; the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of California, San Francisco; the University of Pennsylvania; The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. PICI also supports top researchers at other institutions, including City of Hope, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Institute for Systems Biology and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. By forging alliances with academic, industry and nonprofit partners, PICI makes big bets on bold research to fulfill its mission: to accelerate the development of breakthrough immunotherapies to turn all cancers into curable diseases. Find out more at parkerici.org and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter @parkerici

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