Milestones :: Perspectives
December 12, 2018
Seeded by $125 million donation by the late Paul G. Allen, the Allen Institute for Immunology will study human immune health, cancer, and autoimmune diseases
The Allen Institute today announced the launch of the Allen Institute for Immunology, a new division of the Institute that is dedicated to studying the human immune system. Seeded by a generous commitment of $125 million by Allen Institute founder, the late Paul G. Allen, the new Institute will work to understand the dynamic balancing act of the human immune system, how it senses friend from foe and what goes wrong when we’re ill.
“Paul Allen always challenged us to go after the really hard problems, to do work that would have a significant impact in our scientific fields,” said Allan Jones, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of the Allen Institute. “Understanding the human immune system in detail and figuring out what goes wrong in disease is an incredibly complex but solvable problem. I’m thrilled to see us launch into this new area of complexity in biology with a real opportunity to directly impact human health.”
The Allen Institute for Immunology’s goal is to improve human immune health and lay the groundwork for better ways to diagnose, treat and prevent immune-related diseases. In its initial phase, the Institute will focus on studies of two cancers, multiple myeloma and melanoma, and three autoimmune disorders, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, specifically, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. The researchers will also take a deep dive into the immune systems of healthy volunteers with the goal of understanding what makes a “normal” immune baseline and how to help patients return to that healthy state.
Thomas F. Bumol, Ph.D., is the Executive Director for the Allen Institute for Immunology. Bumol joins the Institute from Lilly Research Laboratories where he worked for more than 35 years, most recently as Senior Vice-President of the Biotechnology and Immunology Research component and the Site Head of Lilly’s Biotechnology Center of San Diego. His work at Lilly focused on drug discovery and early clinical development of treatments for many disease areas including diabetes, pain and immune-related diseases such as psoriasis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
“By unraveling the mysteries of the dynamic immune system in healthy individuals and focusing the same cutting-edge tools on patients in various disease states, we believe we will find new ways to diagnose and ultimately treat disease,” Bumol said. “We are looking at problems that have large unmet needs. Patients are not only suffering from these immune-based illnesses, patients are dying from some of these disorders, and we would like to change that.”