Johns Hopkins Medicine said today it will use a $125 million gift from Michael R. Bloomberg, Jones Apparel Group founder Sidney Kimmel, and others to establish a new institute studying immunology.

The new Bloomberg–Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy reflects the $50 million each in gifts from its two namesake benefactors—Bloomberg, the entrepreneur-philanthropist and former New York City mayor, and Kimmel, another entrepreneur-philanthropist for whom the existing Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins is named.

The new institute will also be funded with an additional $25 million contributed by more than a dozen supporters, none of them named. The new institute was officially announced by Vice President Joe Biden, whom President Obama has named to lead the national effort, or “moonshot,” aimed at developing cures for cancer.

“We are grateful for these tremendous gifts which will help us accelerate the already rapid pace of discoveries in immunotherapy,” Paul Rothman, M.D., dean and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, said in a statement.

Research at the institute will focus particularly on melanoma and colon, pancreatic, urologic, lung, breast, and ovarian cancers.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the institute will strengthen the institution’s top-tier program in cancer immunology, uniting more than 100 scientists and clinicians from the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center with experts in immunology, genetics, microbiology, and biomedical engineering throughout Johns Hopkins.

While funds for the new institute will primarily support research, they also will be used to recruit additional scientists; provide additional infrastructure for engineering cellular products related to immunotherapy research; enhance partnerships with the private sector, including biotech and pharma; and invest in critical technology development, such as new ways to profile the immune response inside the tumor.

“We believe the focused and collaborative research made possible through the Bloomberg–Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy will advance immunotherapies to the point where the immune system will ultimately be able to beat 100 percent of cancers,” added Drew Pardoll, M.D., Ph.D., the institute’s inaugural director.

Bloomberg, a 1964 alumnus of The Johns Hopkins University and chairman of its board of trustees from 1996 to 2002, has given more than $1.2 billion to the university and the Johns Hopkins Health System since graduating.

Since 2001, Kimmel has contributed $157 million, as well as $2.4 million to support 12 young cancer scientists at Johns Hopkins as part of his national Kimmel Scholars Program.

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