Weill Cornell Medicine joins PICI network for collaborative cancer research effort

The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI), the largest concentration of immuno-oncology (IO) expertise in the world, announced it has added Weill Cornell Medicine to its network of preeminent academic and medical research institutions at the forefront of the fight against cancer. Under the agreement, Weill Cornell Medicine, with new PICI Network researchers, will establish a PICI immuno-oncology research center in New York City.

Since its inception, PICI has distributed $260 million to member researchers to support scientific research at its member research institutions, with Weill Cornell Medicine as the latest addition to its PICI Network. Dr. Jedd Wolchok, the Meyer Director of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine, and Dr. Taha Merghoub, Meyer Cancer Center deputy director, will co-direct the new PICI immuno-oncology research center.

Funding for PICI's centers supports bold, scientific research while bridging academia and biotech. PICI funds groundbreaking research and incubates, launches, and invests in new biotech companies. Its key focus is developing breakthroughs and technologies that can be translated quickly into curative treatments for patients. The expansion of PICI on the East Coast represents a new phase for the institute, enabling the development of more therapeutic approaches and technologies for cancer patients.

"We are proud to welcome Weill Cornell Medicine to the PICI Network under the leadership of Drs. Wolchok and Merghoub, who serve as center director and co-director," said Sean Parker, PICI founder and chairman, whose previous philanthropy includes a 2013 gift that established the Sean Parker Institute for the Voice at Weill Cornell Medicine. "Dr. Wolchok is one of the most distinguished researchers in the world, and his impact on the field of immunology has been immeasurable. His deep understanding of PICI's uniquely ambitious and collaborative approach and true passion for innovative scientific research form an incredible foundation upon which to build transformative patient impact at Weill Cornell Medicine."

Collaboration with Weill Cornell Medicine

Weill Cornell Medicine scientists target some of the most formidable health challenges of the 21st century, including cancer. PICI funding at Weill Cornell Medicine will facilitate the recruitment of world-class cancer immunology researchers; enable high-risk, high-reward cancer research studies to be conducted; support the training and development of the next generation of elite cancer clinician-researchers; and contribute to health equity and community outreach programs in the New York area.

The collaborative nature of the PICI Network and flexible nature of funding is critical for rapid progress. The PICI collaborative network has in the past decade helped facilitate advances in cancer research that I could not have imagined before. I am excited to continue my collaboration with PICI in my new role at Weill Cornell Medicine."

Dr. Jedd Wolchok, the Meyer Director of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine

Dr. Wolchok has been involved with PICI since its early days, having formerly served as Center Director for the PICI Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where he leveraged PICI funding to build out a top immunology research facility, was the primary investigator on PICI's MAHLER clinical trial, and mentored nine PICI Early Career Researcher Awardees. His leadership philosophy of promoting deep collaboration and driving innovation fully aligns with PICI's mission and vision.

A geneticist by training with expertise in immuno-oncology, Dr. Merghoub has been a Parker member researcher since its inception. Together, Drs. Wolchok and Merghoub lead a laboratory that is dedicated to improving and developing new approaches to cancer treatment, especially those that target the immune system.

Listen to Dr. Wolchok elaborate on the mission of the newly formed PICI Center at Weill Cornell Medicine, on PICI's Podcast, "From Bench to Fireside."


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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