Newswise — (New York, NY – May 9, 2019) — The Tisch Cancer Institute and the Precision Immunology Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have launched the Center for Computational Immunology, a hub that will help researchers studying cancer, genomics, machine learning, and immunology collaborate to find better targeted immunotherapies for patients. Benjamin Greenbaum, PhD, Assistant Professor of Oncological Sciences, Pathology, and Medicine (Hematology and Medical Oncology), will serve as Director.
Immunotherapy, which unleashes the body’s immune system to fight cancer, has had miraculous success in some patients, including former President Jimmy Carter, whose metastatic melanoma had threatened to take his life. But only 20 percent of patients have any response at all. The mission of this Center, the first of its kind, is to find ways to increase the number of patients who benefit from immunotherapy drugs that kill cancer.
“Our focus is on trying to utilize Mount Sinai’s already-established broad expertise in immunology, cancer, and computational sciences to move forward immunological studies in cancer,” Dr. Greenbaum said. “We want to understand how to model interactions between cancers and the immune system to help more people benefit from the life-saving potential of immunotherapy.”
The Tisch Cancer Institute recently recruited two top computational scientists: Marta Luksza, PhD, from the Simons Center for Systems Biology at the Institute for Advanced Study, as an Assistant Professor of Oncological Sciences, and Genetics and Genomic Sciences, and Paz P. Polak, PhD, from the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, who is now Assistant Professor of Oncological Sciences, Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Pathology and Medicine (Hematology and Medical Oncology) at the Icahn School of Medicine. Both will play an integral role in the development of the center.
“The Center will fuel the bench-to-bedside culture already finding great new innovations at The Tisch Cancer Institute,” said Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD, Director of The Tisch Cancer Institute, Ward-Coleman Chair in Cancer Research, and Chair of Oncological Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “This cross-disciplinary team is working to find answers in some of the most promising therapies for cancer patients today.”
“The Precision Immunology Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is excited about this new venture that allows us to look further into the tumor microenvironment for answers,” said Miriam Merad, MD, PhD, Director of the Precision Immunology Institute, Director of the Mount Sinai Human Immune Monitoring Center (HIMC), and Mount Sinai Professor in Cancer Immunology. “We are at a critical juncture of really understanding why patients respond or don’t respond to immunotherapy.”
About the Mount Sinai Health System
The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City’s largest integrated delivery system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai’s vision is to produce the safest care, the highest quality, the highest satisfaction, the best access and the best value of any health system in the nation. The Health System includes approximately 7,480 primary and specialty care physicians; 11 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 410 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. The Icahn School of Medicine is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Medical Schools”, aligned with a U.S. News & World Report’s “Honor Roll” Hospital, No. 12 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding, and among the top 10 most innovative research institutions as ranked by the journal Nature in its Nature Innovation Index. This reflects a special level of excellence in education, clinical practice, and research. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 18 on U.S. News & World Report’s “Honor Roll” of top U.S. hospitals; it is one of the nation’s top 20 hospitals in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Nephrology, and Neurology/Neurosurgery, and in the top 50 in six other specialties in the 2018-2019 “Best Hospitals” issue. Mount Sinai’s Kravis Children’s Hospital also is ranked nationally in five out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked 11th nationally for Ophthalmology and 44th for Ear, Nose, and Throat. Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s, Mount Sinai West, and South Nassau Communities Hospital are ranked regionally.