Friday, September 17, 2010

VIC: Accelerating results from bench to bedside

VIC Founders and Team: From left, Wendy Drinkwater, Brown, Cynthia Croatti, Gene Hill, Poznansky, Rachel Ingraham, Elda Righi and Udo

Working to accelerate the development of novel preventive and curative vaccines and immunotherapies for cancer and infectious diseases, the MGH Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center (VIC) brings together a diverse network of medical and business professionals who understand the path from research to medical use. This bench-to-bedside collaboration recently was celebrated Aug. 26 at Davios restaurant in Boston, where VIC researchers and senior advisors from academia and industry met with benefactors who have supported the program.

"The event was a wonderful way to celebrate the first year of the center and inform our supporters of the significant progress we already have made," said Mark C. Poznansky, MD, PhD, director of VIC. Among the updates was news of a request for proposals for two pilot projects focusing on significant domestic or global needs; establishment of an advisory committee that includes two Nobel Laureates and leaders in the field of vaccine development and immunotherapy; and development of a support structure for focused vaccine projects with the Renee Hope Center for the Homeless in Cambridge and Partners in Health in Haiti.

In his closing remarks, Poznansky specifically thanked the Croatti and Hill families --some of whom attended the luncheon --for their generous support of the center and acknowledged VIC staff. "We are grateful to have the commitment of Frances Toneguzzo in MGH Ventures and Licensing who is facilitating the collaboration among our scientists, project leaders and industry," he said. "In addition, our work would not be successful without the wonderful team comprising Sam Brown, David Hill, Idaresit Udo and Leah Fine. All are excited by the exponential growth of the center in its inaugural year."

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