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John Theurer Cancer Center Joins Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotheraphy and Cancer Research Institute in Groundbreaking Collaboration on Cancer Antigens
Story Number is : 121416115
The John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center

The John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center, a member of Hackensack Meridian Health, is partnering with the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and the Cancer Research Institute as they launch a major collaboration focused on neoantigens, unique cancer markers that researchers believe may hold the key to developing targeted cancer immunotherapies. The John Theurer Cancer Center will be providing critical tissue necessary for the research to begin.

"We are thrilled to work with the Parker Institute and the Cancer Research Institute as they embark on this groundbreaking research project to accelerate the development of breakthrough immunotherapies that can effectively combat cancer," said Andrew L. Pecora, M.D., FACP, CPE, chief innovation officer and president of Physician Services at Hackensack Meridian Health, who is recognized as an international expert in blood and marrow stem cell transplantation. "We are ready and eager to work with the top researchers and pioneers in the field to turn data into viable patient treatments."
This new collaboration, the Tumor neoantigEn SeLection Alliance (TESLA), includes 30 of the world's leading cancer neoantigen research groups from both academia and industry. The project's goal is to help participating groups test and continually improve the mathematical algorithms they use to analyze tumor DNA and RNA sequences in order to predict the neoantigens that are likely to be present on each patient's cancer and most visible to the immune system. In support of this, the Cancer Research Institute and the Parker Institute have partnered with renowned open science nonprofit, Sage Bionetworks, to lead the bioinformatics and data analysis.
"As one of the largest centers of cancer care in the nation, the John Theurer Cancer Center is engaged in many of the leading combination immunotherapy trials built around a collaborative model of innovation," said Andre Goy, M.D., chairman and director of the John Theurer Cancer Center. "This is a transformative time in cancer research, and our participation in this collaboration further illustrates our deep commitment to immunotherapy research that will ultimately lead to better care and treatments for cancer patients."
The neoantigen collaboration is the latest example of the groundbreaking work that the John Theurer Cancer Center is involved with in the field of immunotherapy. The cancer center has been a leader in the development of many new immunotherapies that are currently available and several different immunotherapies that are still in development. Through a joint discovery program called the Regional Immunotherapy Discovery Program, an alliance between the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and the John Theurer Cancer Center, the cancer center has been able to contribute to the advancement of immunotherapy research in an effective and purposeful manner. The Regional Immunotherapy Discovery Program is at the forefront of producing clinical evidence that the immune system can harness to eradicate malignant cells, improve overall survival and potentially cure patients with otherwise incurable cancer.
The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy was launched in April 2016 to encourage collaboration between many of the nation's best scientists, clinicians and industry partners to lead an unprecedented cancer immunotherapy research effort. The Parker Institute's goal is to accelerate the development of breakthrough immunotherapies capable of turning cancer into a curable disease by ensuring the coordination and collaboration of the field's top researchers and quickly translating their findings into patient treatments.

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