THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY Comprehensive Cancer Center–Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC– James) announced the formation of the Pelotonia Institute for Immuno-Oncology (PIIO), a comprehensive bench-to-bedside research initiative focused on harnessing the body’s immune system to fight cancer at all levels—from prevention to treatment and survivorship.
Pelotonia, a grassroots cycling event that has raised more than $190 million for cancer research initiatives at the OSUCCC–James, has pledged more than $102 million over the next 5 years. The largest portion of the pledge—$65 million—will directly fund the PIIO, with the remaining dollars continuing to support well-established initiatives such as Pelotonia Fellowships, Idea Grants, statewide research initiatives, and equipment. The OSUCCC–James is also supporting the new institute with a $35 million commitment to grow and sustain modern research infrastructure.
Zihai Li, MD, PhD
Zihai Li, MD, PhD, a physician scientist and elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and Association of American Physicians, has been recruited to lead the new institute. Dr. Li joins The Ohio State from the Medical University of South Carolina Hollings Cancer Center, where he served as the Sally Abney Rose Endowed Chair in Stem Cell Biology and Therapy, Co-Leader of the Cancer Immunology Program, and Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.
Plans to Expand
The OSUCCC–James expects to add up to 32 additional faculty over the next 5 years to work within the PIIO. Multiphase laboratory renovations will take place during this time to create advanced cellular laboratory facilities, immune monitoring and discovery platforms, immunogenomics, systems immunology, and other research areas for startup initiatives and national collaborations with other academic centers and industry partners. Dr. Li’s appointment as the Founding Director of the PIIO will help The Ohio State build upon existing endeavors in immunotherapy. ■