NEW YORK – The Gladstone Institute on Wednesday announced it has joined the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI) Network with the goal of launching a new research center focused on cancer genomics and CRISPR-based therapeutics.
The new center, dubbed the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Gladstone Institutes, will be led by Alex Marson, the director of the Gladstone-University of California, San Francisco Institute of Genomic Immunology. Within this new effort, San Francisco-based Gladstone will join other research centers in the PICI Network to explore the inner workings of cancer cells with genome editing and use that understanding to develop new cell therapies.
Marson and other collaborators in the PICI Network founded the cell therapy firm ArsenalBio, which is developing autologous CAR T-cell therapies for solid tumors. The startup launched in 2019 with an initial investment of $25 million from the PICI and earlier this month secured $220 million in Series B financing.
Members of the PICI Network, which also include Stanford Medicine and the University of California, Los Angeles, can tap into resources such as advanced bioinformatics, intellectual property, sequencing, immune monitoring, industry-owned drugs, cell manufacturing, genetic engineering, and clinical trials management.
"Our Gladstone team is working at the forefront of the exciting field of genomic immunology," Marson said in a statement. "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."
The center is also developing synthetic programs that Marson believes will help patients' immune systems fight their cancers more effectively.