Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has a lauded history of important discoveries about the immune system. In fact, the Institute’s late president, Baruj Benacerraf, MD, was a Nobel Laureate whose scientific discoveries transformed our basic understanding of how the body fights disease—laying the groundwork for today’s immunotherapy treatments for cancer and other diseases. With support from The Ambrose Monell Foundation over the past several years, Dana-Farber researchers have moved the field of immunotherapy forward to better match patients with the treatment most appropriate to their cancer. Now, with a renewed commitment of $1.5 million from the foundation, Dana-Farber scientists can capitalize on the momentum of their work and extend the impact of immunotherapy to the youngest, most vulnerable patients worldwide.
Immunotherapies trigger the body’s own immune system to detect and attack cancer cells. For 25% of cancer patients overall, these treatments have been lifesaving. But for the remaining 75%, they simply do not work. Dana-Farber is dedicated to changing this by developing new strategies within immuno-oncology, including researching how immunotherapies can be used to treat pediatric patients. This commitment from Dana-Farber is so significant that immunotherapy is a key priority of The Dana-Farber Campaign, the Institute’s multiyear, comprehensive fundraising effort.
Leveraging this new support from The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Dana-Farber will direct its efforts to bring the promise of immunotherapy to bear on pediatric cancers. Led by the Department of Pediatric Oncology and the Center for Precision Immuno-Oncology at Dana-Farber, the team of researchers will utilize this transformational gift to focus its work on determining how a child’s immune system responds to cancer, studying how the immune system recognizes cancer cells, and developing novel approaches for CAR T-cell therapies.
“The generous and continued support of The Ambrose Monell Foundation has provided the team at Dana-Farber the opportunity to greatly advance the field of immunotherapy,” said Laurie H. Glimcher, MD, Dana-Farber president and CEO, the Richard and Susan Smith Professor of Medicine, and a world-renowned immunologist. “Now, we can turn the attention of this work to pediatric oncology. With full lives ahead of them, our young patients deserve to have effective treatments that spare them so many of the toxic and late effects of traditional treatment.”
Established in 1956, The Ambrose Monell Foundation has a longstanding commitment to aiding and contributing to scientific, cultural, and other charitable initiatives. “We are proud to continue our partnership with Dana-Farber,” said Ambrose K. Monell, president, director, and treasurer of the foundation. “We are inspired by the dedication the clinicians and researchers have for their patients. Not only are they working to treat their patients in Boston, but they are committed to changing the lives of cancer patients everywhere.”