$102 Million Donation Funds New Immuno-Oncology Research Center

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Ohio-based Pelotonia, an organization dedicated to raising funds for cancer research, ponied up more than $102 million to fund research into immuno-oncology therapies at a new institute established at The Ohio State University.

Pelotonia provided $102,265,000, the largest donation in its history, to support the opening of the Pelotonia Institute for Immuno-Oncology (PIIO) at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. The funds will be donated over the course of five years to support the launch of the research. The PIIO has a mission to focus exclusively on immuno-oncology research and will be helmed by Dr. Zihai Li of the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. The PIIO will build upon current immuno-oncology efforts that are already underway at the OSUCCC – James, including the treatment of a variety of cancers with immunotherapies, including CAR-T cell therapy, cytokine therapy, monoclonal antibodies, adoptive cell transfer, vaccines and drug therapy. In addition, there are more than 40 immuno-oncology clinical trials being conducted at the OSUCCC – James.

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Doug Ulman, president and chief executive officer of Pelotonia, said conquering cancer is one of the greatest challenges of this lifetime, particularly with nearly 2 million Americans diagnosed with a form of the disease each year.

“The recent explosion of discoveries in immuno-oncology has energized this effort and we know that momentum will build exponentially through an even bigger partnership with Ohio State. As we open the Pelotonia Institute for Immuno-Oncology – backed by a dedicated community united in our mission, we are entering the next generation of cancer care – a time in which many cancers may become curable,” Ulman said in a statement.

OSU President Michael V. Drake touted the existing cancer research conducted at the university, calling it a “pillar of strength” for the community.

“Through the cancer center, we conduct multi-disciplinary research spanning medicine, engineering, food science, public health and other disciplines in the health sciences. This transformative Pelotonia gift will allow for an entirely new level of collaboration, research and discovery at our university – a level only possible at a comprehensive institution like Ohio State,” Drake said in a statement.

The PIIO will initially be housed in the Biomedical Research Tower on the OSU campus. With the $102 million funding for the PIIO, there will be an expected 32 new positions filled to support the PIIO’s mission. The PIIO’s new digs are expected to undergo multi-phase renovations over the next five years to “to create advanced cellular laboratory facilities, immune monitoring and discovery platforms, immunogenomics, systems immunology and other research areas for start-up initiatives and national collaborations with other academic centers and industry partners.”

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