Please note that some translations using Google Translate may not be accurately represented and downloaded documents cannot be translated. Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund assume no liability for inaccuracies that may result from using this third-party tool, which is for website translation.
Please note that some translations using Google Translate may not be accurately represented and downloaded documents cannot be translated. Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund assume no liability for inaccuracies that may result from using this third-party tool, which is for website translation.

Investment in infrastructure accelerates immunotherapy development

Massachusetts Life Sciences Center logo

Spring 2024
By Robin Orwant

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) has granted Dana-Farber $2.78 million to build crucial infrastructure for developing immunotherapies—novel treatments that leverage the immune system to fight cancer.

Co-principal investigators Eric Smith, MD, PhD, director of Translational Research for Immune Effector Cell Therapies; William Hahn, MD, PhD, the William Rosenberg Professor of Medicine; and Xin Zhou, PhD, received the grant through the MLSC’s Research Infrastructure Program. The funds will be used to purchase state-of-the-art equipment that will significantly expand Dana-Farber’s capacity to bring more of these lifesaving therapies to patients as quickly as possible.

Over the past few decades, the FDA has approved more than 100 immunotherapies, which have improved survival for many patients and have even induced complete remissions in certain advanced, previously intractable forms of cancer. Recent technological advances promise to accelerate unprecedented progress in the development of these transformative therapies. However, because the use of these new technologies requires highly specialized knowledge across several different fields of expertise, scientists have found it difficult to establish the cross-disciplinary collaborations needed to capitalize on these technological breakthroughs.

“The MLSC grant will significantly expand IMPACT2’s capacity to support multiple projects in parallel from various Massachusetts academic and industry groups.”

Eric Smith, MD, PhD
Eric Smith, MD, PhD

This challenge is being addressed through a new Immunotherapy Platform for Antibody and CAR Therapeutics Discovery and Translation (IMPACT2) research program, led by Smith and his colleagues, including IMPACT2 head of research Anusuya Ramasubramanian, PhD. Housed in a newly constructed space at the Institute, IMPACT2 focuses on providing centralized, accessible, cross-disciplinary expertise and infrastructure required to engineer, test, and optimize new cancer-fighting immunotherapies.

“The MLSC grant will significantly expand IMPACT2’s capacity to support multiple projects in parallel from various Massachusetts academic and industry groups,” said Smith. “Ultimately, this will enhance our ability to rapidly and robustly develop new immunotherapies that could revolutionize treatment for patients with many different types of cancer.”

The MLSC is an economic development and investment agency whose multi-pronged mission is to serve as the hub of the Massachusetts life sciences ecosystem; encourage innovation through investments in good science and business; strengthen and protect Massachusetts’ global leadership position in the life sciences; accelerate the commercialization of promising treatments, therapies, and cures that will improve patient care; create jobs; and drive economic and workforce development in science and technology. Its Research Infrastructure Program provides grants for capital projects that enable and support life sciences research and development in the Commonwealth.  “The MLSC invests in the scientific infrastructure required to bring cutting edge diagnostics and therapies to patients,” said Carla Reimold, PhD, MLSC’s vice president of industry strategy and investments. “By leveraging the expertise of the Dana-Farber team, this grant will enable new discoveries and improve patients’ lives.”

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