The Parker Institute: A Better Model for Cancer Research

The Goals


Discover the next generation of immunotherapies by asking and pursuing the most important questions

We focus on the key questions that are holding us back. And seek their answers no matter how long-term, ambitious, or risky the pursuit.

Provide all the resources necessary for success

We provide researchers with the funding, resources, operating frameworks, data, and technology they need to accelerate breakthroughs in cancer immunotherapy.

Coordinate, cooperate, collaborate

We are a deep network of leading cancer scientists, research centers, and industry partners to remove barriers to major breakthroughs.

Make science more efficient

Our model can be replicated and adapted by others to accelerate advances across medical research.

Stand resolute in the face of challenges

We combine science, capital, public policy, philanthropy, and private sector partners in order to address the problem holistically.

Deliver cures for everyone

We are committed to reducing cancer to a manageable disease with readily affordable and available treatment around the world.

The Institute

The Parker Institute is an unprecedented collaboration between the country’s leading immunologists and cancer centers:  Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Stanford University, University of California, Los Angeles, University of California, San Francisco, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Our network brings together the world’s best. We are 6 centers, over 40 labs, and over 300 of the nation’s top researchers, all working together to cure cancer.


Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: A world-renowned center for cancer treatment and research, pioneering immunotherapy research since the 19th century.

Stanford Medicine: A world class leader in research and information technologies empowering the development of the next generation of immunotherapies.

University of California, Los Angeles: Renowned for cancer research treatment & prevention.

University of California, San Francisco: A basic-research powerhouse – the genetic drivers of cancer were discovered here – and home to one of the world’s top medical centers.

University of Pennsylvania: One of America’s foremost academic medical centers, and the world leader in T cell-based cancer immunotherapy.

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center:

One of the world’s most respected cancer centers, instrumental in the development of cancer immunotherapy based on checkpoints, blockades.

Barriers To Breakthrough

Traditional medical research models have not effectively or speedily delivered next-generation technologies to patients, quickly. Over the past forty years, billions of dollars and countless efforts have been spent on cancer research. Yet we still haven’t found a cure, and survival rates have increased incrementally, at best. The system itself is partly to blame — it has evolved to reward smaller discoveries and research done in isolation, and researchers are forced to spend huge amounts of their time writing grant proposals, often for projects that can more easily get funding, but not their most ambitious ideas.


The Parker Institute Model

A New Model for Breakthrough Medical Research

The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy operates differently. We facilitate and accelerate cutting-edge cancer research and turn that research into real-life treatments for actual patients.

A New Model for Breakthrough Medical Research

Empowering Scientists for Better Patients Outcomes

We’re here to build a system that serves scientists for the good of patients. That all begins with people. We recruit and empower extraordinary scientists in the fight against cancer, and we’re committed to training the next generation of those scientists.

Our leadership team is composed of the leading experts in the field, who together shape a common scientific agenda. The leadership team identifies the most urgent and important scientific problems in the field of cancer immunotherapy, and then work in teams to solve those problems.

Coordinate, Cooperate, Collaborate

Key to the Parker Institute model is sharing resources, research, and technology, and forging partnerships across the field. By combining forces with six of the nation’s top cancer research centers — MD Anderson, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Penn Medicine, Stanford, UCLA, and UCSF — the Parker Institute is able to assemble a coordinated all-star team of the best scientists in the field of cancer immunotherapy. Then we empower them with the funding, technology, drug access, and administrative support they need. For example, bioinformatics uses powerful new computing resources to let scientists gather, store, and analyze biological and genetic information Solving “big data” problems and providing focused computational resources is critical in driving breakthroughs. And we are focused on attracting the best computer scientists to bring their expertise to bear on these problems.

Translating from the Bench to the Bedside

Our objective is to translate breakthrough research into actual treatments. Our work in the lab should inform our treatments in the clinic, and our experiences with patients should define our research priorities. We leverage research discoveries, apply those discoveries to real patients, and translate thoseresults into marketable treatments that further support the research.

A Common Framework

Researchers have long talked about sharing, working together, breaking down barriers. What keeps it from becoming a reality is that each institution operates differently, based on its own internal rules, policies, and procedures. To address this, the Parker Institute and its partners create a common framework across the entire network, covering:

Standardization of data and procedures: Common laboratory processes and standardized
sample collection and tissue banking facilitate efficiency and interoperability across the entire network.

Intellectual property: Our network centrally manages the administration of intellectual property. So a discovery by one research team can be shared, applied, and monetized across the entire network.

Clinical trials: The unprecedented number of leading research centers and large number of patients means clinical trials can be coordinated with greater ease and lower costs.

An Evergreen Model

For scientists to concentrate on the hard work of discovery, a research lab needs a steady stream of funding. Few options exist: an endowment, relentless fundraising for finite grants, or partnerships with industry in exchange for the licensing of intellectual property. All these options are time-consuming and difficult, and none are evergreen. Our model is.

We will have a fundamentally different funding model: all revenue from licensed intellectual property flows directly back to the research priorities of the Parker Institute and its member sites. The fruits of innovative research are fully committed to pushing research further.


Experts at the Helm

Key to the collaborative success of the Parker Model is our structure of governance and coordination. The Parker Institute Scientific Advisory Board acts as a network of advisers available to leadership to review and refine research strategies. Our Scientific Steering Committee develops the scope of our research strategy and full portfolio of projects, and reviews all technological investment. The Technology Transfer Committee has representatives from the tech transfer offices at each center to oversee the development and commercialization of the Parker Institute IP portfolio. The Strategic Advisory Group has deep expertise in crucial related industries.

Broad Partnerships for Maximum Impact

The Parker Institute has forged partnerships with more than thirty key companies and nonprofits to share knowledge, systems, and data; harness the latest technologies and platforms; and connect more clinicians and patients.

Research Challenges Ahead

The opportunity is enormous, and PICI will be leading the field forward.

In just the last 5 years, the field has made major progress. But there is still much research and translation needed in order to dramatically increase the numbers of immunotherapies and of patients receiving them – this will require extraordinary coordination, collaboration, and technological advancement.

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