Four Dana-Farber Researchers to Join Parker Institute

October 23, 2017

Four researchers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute are joining the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy as a result of a collaboration between the 2 institutions: W. Nick Haining, BCh, BM; Catherine Wu, MD; Philip Kranzusch, PhD; and F. Stephen Hodi, Jr., MD.

Haining, a physician-scientist who is also affiliated with the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, is focused on understanding the mechanisms by which tumors evade the immune system. In his lab, he and his colleagues are studying why protective T-cell memory does not occur in cancer and with chronic viral infection.

Dr Wu is an associate professor of medicine at Dana-Farber and Harvard Medical School, he is also an institute member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. She is currently investigating the use of tumor-specific antigens that allow for the effective targeting of tumors without any added toxicity. She is also an expert in the testing and design of personalized cancer vaccines and immunogenomics.

Kranzusch researches the structural and biochemical approaches by which the immune system recognizes cancer cells in his lab. He is currently investigating the potential of using the cGAS-STING pathway as a way to control immune signaling. At Dana-Farber he is an assistant professor in the Department of Cancer Immunology and Virology, he’s also a part of the Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology at Harvard Medical School.

Hodi, an internationally recognized leader in immunotherapy and melanoma therapeutics is the director of the Melanoma Center and Center for Immuno-Oncology at Dana-Farber as well as a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is well known for leading the first human trial of ipilimumab (Yervoy), a CTLA-4 checkpoint inhibitor, and its FDA approval for patients with melanoma.

The Parker Institute has created a flexible model so that it could easily expand it network and gain world-class talent, such as the physicians from Dana-Farber who will collaborate with investigators from the Parker Institute to enhance and expand their research projects and clinical trials. One such research project at the Parker Institute includes work into checkpoint inhibitor resistance, immune activation and priming, and combinations of checkpoint inhibitors and cancer vaccines.

“Dana-Farber has been involved in the Parker Institute from the beginning, and president and CEO Laurie Glimcher played a critical role in the development of our model and our research strategy,” Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD, CEO and president of the Parker Institute, said in a statement. “Dana-Farber is a longstanding innovator in oncology and has a very strong history of collaboration. Its team of outstanding investigators will add immense value to our network and help accelerate the development of cancer immunotherapies with the greatest chance of impact on patients.”