SAN FRANCISCO and NEW YORK, Dec. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) today announced a major collaboration focused on neoantigens. The search for these unique cancer markers has become a robust area of research as scientists believe they may hold the key to developing a new generation of personalized, targeted cancer immunotherapies.
This new collaboration, the Tumor neoantigEn SeLection Alliance (TESLA), includes 30 of the world's leading cancer neoantigen research groups from both academia and industry. Because these tumor markers are both specific to each individual and unlikely to be present on normal healthy cells, neoantigens represent an optimal target for the immune system and make possible a new class of highly personalized vaccines with the potential for significant efficacy with reduced side effects. "Bringing together the world's best neoantigen research organizations to accelerate the discovery of personalized cancer immunotherapies is exactly the type of bold research collaboration that I envisioned when launching the Parker Institute," said Sean Parker, Silicon Valley entrepreneur and founder of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. "This alliance will not only leverage the immense talents of each of the researchers but will also harness the power of bioinformatics, which I believe will be critical to driving breakthroughs." The goal of the initiative is to help participating groups test and continually improve the mathematical algorithms they use to analyze tumor DNA and RNA sequences in order to predict the neoantigens that are likely to be present on each patient's cancer and most visible to the immune system. In support of this, Parker Institute and CRI have partnered with renowned open science nonprofit, Sage Bionetworks, to manage the bioinformatics and data analysis.