The Hackensack Meridian Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI) has formed a new institute aiming to fight infections, cancer, and inflammatory diseases by finding a better way to restore and bolster the human immune system in its responses to disease.
The Institute for Immunologic Intervention (or “3i”) is searching for ways to unleash new advances in immunology to beat disease and save lives. The expert scientists in this new institute include basic researchers, physician-scientists, and leading clinicians who are working seamlessly to tackle major health problems of our time.
The Institute is dedicated to advancing the understanding of fundamental mechanisms of infectious immunity, tumor immunity, alloimmunity, and autoimmunity within clinical contexts. By fostering collaborations with the CDI, the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center and its consortium partner Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, and beyond, the 3i strives to apply this knowledge towards innovative strategies that enhance the effectiveness of cancer immunotherapy, interventions for autoimmune and alloimmune conditions, and the prevention of infections.
“We have recruited world-class talent to give this Institute critical mass,” said David Perlin, Ph.D., chief scientific officer and executive vice president of the CDI, and professor of medical sciences at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. “These scientists are tackling disease at the basic level of discovery – but with an eye toward finding real-world solutions in the near future. This is what the CDI is all about.” Perlin is also a professor at Georgetown University.
“We are excited about the possibilities – and also about the collaborations already happening among this group of scientists,” said Binfeng Lu, Ph.D., the director of the 3i.
The research cores supporting the 3i include flow cytometry, microscopy, tissue biorepository bank, bioinformatics and statistical analysis, gene-editing, computational chemistry, and clinical immunology assays, among other expertise.
“The expertise brought together in this one Institute at the CDI is a thrilling development,” said Ihor Sawczuk, M.D., FACS, president of Academics, Research and Innovation for Hackensack Meridian Health, the founding chair of the Hackensack Meridian Health Research Institute (HMHRI) of which CDI is part, and also associate dean of clinical integration and professor and chair emeritus of urology at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. “Working across an ecosystem like this is what will drive our science forward.”
The 3i laboratories are all supported by federal grants. Most recently, in support of this mission, the 3i received a philanthropic grant in the amount of $500,000 to support the Institute’s work in immunology and multiple myeloma research from the D’Aloia Family Foundation, led by G. Peter D’Aloia, an accomplished business executive who previously worked at several large national corporations, and his wife Marguerite. Mr. D’Aloia previously made a major gift to Hackensack Meridian Ocean University Medical Center.
“I believe that the CDI has a great approach to finding cures for some of today’s most difficult diseases, in particular its work on using the body’s immune system to fight cancer and its focus on treatment and cures for multiple myeloma,” said Peter D’Aloia. “It is my hope that this gift provides meaningful help in allowing the CDI to continue the good work being done within the organization.”
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