The UChicago Medicine has received a $10 million gift to establish the David and Etta Jonas Center for Cellular Therapy to support research to find personalized therapies for difficult-to-treat cancers. Michael Bishop, MD, Professor of Medicine (Section of Hematology/Oncology) will serve as director of the new Jonas Center. He will be working with Amittha Wickrema, PhD, Professor of Medicine (Section of Hematology/Oncology), as well as Hans Schreiber, MD, PhD, in the Department of Pathology, and other colleagues to expand cell therapy to solid tumors and expand the number of patients who can benefit from the treatment.
The center — named after David Jonas, CEO of JVC Investment Partners, and his late wife — brings together experts who will be focused on improving the effectiveness of CAR T-cell and other cellular therapies, which are an emerging form of cancer treatment. CAR T-cell therapy works by supercharging patients’ white blood cells to seek out and destroy cancer cells. Although this therapy has, in some cases, led to complete remission, it is not always successful and is currently limited to treating certain blood cancers. The new center will help researchers overcome these challenges and realize the therapy’s full potential.