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May 7, 2021

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Immune therapy institute launched

Shanghai has accelerated its pace of immunological research to take the lead in boosting China’s innovation in the prevention and treatment of immunological diseases.

The newly launched Shanghai Immune Therapy Institute is the latest example of the city’s efforts to build world-class immunology research hubs.

Established at Renji Hospital under Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, the institute will focus on three research areas: tumor immunotherapy, chronic inflammatory diseases and transplantation immunology, and infectious diseases and vaccines.

It aims to become a frontier research and development center with global talent by 2025, and one of the world’s leading institutes in the fields of new drug targets, new mechanisms, antibody-drug development, immunotherapy and other major immune-related diseases by 2035, according to a hospital statement.

Jointly developed by the municipal government and the university, the institute is also expected to be a core element of Shanghai’s world-class biomedical industry cluster.

Immunology is highly relevant to the prevention and treatment of major diseases such as tumors, infectious diseases and metabolic diseases.

“Each breakthrough in immunology can lead to leap-forward development in medicine and the biomedical industry,” said Fan Xianqun, head of the university’s School of Medicine, at the launch of the institute last week.

Fan noted the institute’s researchers would look to make groundbreaking discoveries to promote China’s innovation and competitiveness in immunological disease prevention and control.

Dong Chen, director of the institute and an academician with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that China has made progress in the immunological field in recent years, but there is still a gap between basic research and clinical practice.

“The institute will help solve the problem,” said Dong, adding that establishing a research institute at a hospital can help in the process of taking a research concept from “the (laboratory) bench to the bedside.”

The institute will allow researchers to work closely with clinicians, bringing research advances from the lab into the clinic and taking clinical observation back to the bench for evaluation, which will benefit patients, Dong explained.

The director also stressed the importance of talent cultivation and said the main force of the institute will be young scientists under the age of 35.


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