Johns Hopkins University has announced gifts totaling $125 million to create a cancer research institute dedicated to the study of immunotherapy.
Launched with gifts of $50 million each from Bloomberg Philanthropies founder Michael R. Bloomberg and Kimmel Foundation founder Sidney Kimmel, as well as $25 million from more than a dozen other donors, the Bloomberg–Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy will focus on one of the most promising and rapidly advancing approaches to cancer treatment. According to researchers, immunotherapy, which redirects patients' immune systems to target, detect, and destroy cancer cells, has the potential to cure and end all forms of cancer. To that end, the institute will bring together more than a hundred experts in immunology, genetics, microbiology, and biomedical engineering from the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center and across Johns Hopkins, with a focus on melanoma, colon, pancreatic, urologic, lung, breast, and ovarian cancers.
"We believe the focused and collaborative research made possible through the Bloomberg–Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy will advance immunotherapies to the point where the immune system will ultimately be able to beat 100 percent of cancers," said Drew Pardoll, the institute's inaugural director. "The potential to control or cure even the most advanced, treatment-resistant cancers has been elusive until now."
Kimmel has contributed a total of $157 million to Johns Hopkins since 2001, plus an additional $2.4 million as part of his national Kimmel Scholars Program. Bloomberg ('64), who served as chair of the university's board from 1996-2002, has donated more than $1.2 billion. "Ending all cancer would rank among humanity's greatest achievements, and immunotherapy is bringing that dream within reach," said Bloomberg. "This new institute will build on the pioneering work that doctors and researchers at Johns Hopkins have done in immunotherapy and help fuel new advances and discoveries."