PHILADELPHIA – In August, The University of Pennsylvania(Penn) announced a major new strategic  alliance with a major pharmaceutical company  to further develop  novel immunotherapies using chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) technology developed in the laboratories of Carl June, MD, the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy in the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Perelman School of Medicine and director of Translational Research in the Abramson Cancer Center. Penn recognizes the major role played by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) in enabling these discoveries to be developed and tested in patients to the point that Penn was able to attract a commercial partner.

Since 2001, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has played a vital role in advancing the pioneering work of Dr. June and his team with investments of awards totaling over $20 million.

“Our early and ongoing results in patients treated with chimeric antigen receptors represent more than a decade of investment and support from LLS that has helped enable us to treat cancer in an entirely new way. The advancement of this highly targeted, cell-based therapy powered by the might of a patient’s own immune system is an early example of the power and potential of   precision and personalized medicine,” said, Carl June, MD.  “Our lab and Penn look forward to continuing our partnership with the LLS to transform the face of cancer, in general, and blood cancer in particular.”

LLS continue to support this important work, announcing in September that the Society has awarded a new 5-year, $6.25 million grant to Dr June’s team so they can continue to develop other innovative novel immune-based therapies.

“Accelerating promising therapies for patients with unmet need is among the chief aims of LLS,” said LLS Chief Mission Officer Louis DeGennaro, Ph.D. “Our goal is to bridge the drug development gap and bring promising therapies to the next level of funding."

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.