The PCCI provides a voice and an intellectual base for the many investigators on the Penn campus committed to studying immune-mediated diseases. It provides the leadership and infrastructure to stimulate innovative multidisciplinary and translational research related to immune-mediated human disease processes and novel treatments thereof. The PCCI coordinates communications and resources and seeks to broker opportunities for potential collaborations. A major objective is to support the development of a critical mass of translational researchers, identify areas of faculty need, and serve as a magnet for attracting faculty recruits to fill the identified needs. Once fully capitalized, the PCCI will provide start-up funds to support new faculty embarking on careers in translational immunology and established investigators who are newcomers to translational immunology research. Funds will also be provided to support training of young-physician scientists who elect to combine careers in clinical research and patient care. In addition funds will be used to support the investigation of emerging scientific areas particularly by multi-disciplinary investigative teams.
Major programs within the Center focus on allergy, asthma, arthritis, atherosclerosis, autoimmune diseases (systemic lupus erythematosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, vasculitis, juvenile diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, blistering skin diseases) primary immune deficiency, tumor immunology and immunotherapy, solid organ and bone marrow transplantation, and vaccine. Scientists are applying state of the art technology to address basic questions relating to disease pathogenesis and development of therapeutic approaches that repair causal immune mechanisms. The knowledge gained from these studies is being translated in clinical trials ongoing in many of the areas of focus. Faculty take advantage of a number of core resources that are currently available on campus. These include facilities dealing with biomedical imaging, biosensor/interaction analysis, protein chemistry, DNA sequencing, nucleic acid synthesis, transgenic and chimeric mouse, stem cell biology, microarray, small animal imaging, human immunology core, and bioinformatics. The Human Immunology Core is of particular relevance to the PCCI since it provides high-thru-put analysis of blood and tissue specimens and provides support for immune monitoring of patients participating in clinical trials focused on immune interventions.