The Colton Center at Penn

Founded in 2021 with a generous gift from Judy and Stewart Colton, the Colton Center for Autoimmunity at Penn unites research and patient care programs across Penn — including Penn's Institute for Immunology, the world's largest single-institution immunology community — to drive advances in autoimmune diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment.  The Colton Center at Penn joins the Colton Centers at NYU, Yale, and Tel Aviv to transform the landscape of autoimmune health. 

Under the leadership of Director E. John Wherry, PhD, the Center brings together researchers with expertise in a broad range of autoimmune diseases areas and experience that spans from the laboratory to clinical trials to patient treatment and care.  In gathering these diverse talents around Penn’s growing Immune Health platform, the Colton Center is opening the door to a new frontier in autoimmune health.

The goal of the Penn Colton Center is to become the transformative epicenter of autoimmune research: the best scientific minds pursuing the most visionary projects with the most powerful resources at their fingertips.  We envision that the Colton Center will increase awareness and drive major and sustained progress in the field of autoimmunity.

We have a war on cancer.  Why can’t we have a war on autoimmunity?

– Stewart Colton 

What is Autoimmune Disease? 

Autoimmune disease occurs when the body turns against itself. Yet despite this deceptively simple common denominator, autoimmune disease is not one disease but many, its forms seemingly as various as the individuals it afflicts—some 24 million Americans, according to the National Institutes for Health.

While medicine has made enormous leaps in the treatment of other diseases, innovative new treatments for autoimmune disease have lagged behind.  Patients are often diagnosed and treated based on their symptoms, rather than the underlying cause of their condition, and there has been little to no success on preventing autoimmunity before it develops.

Now, with the help of powerful new technologies, researchers are unraveling the mysteries of autoimmune disease. Advances in immunology data, bioinformatics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are bringing the before amorphous shapes of autoimmune disease into focus.  We now know that each individual has a unique immune fingerprint and that we can use that fingerprint to create personalized therapies—therapies that treat not just the symptoms but the underlying causes of disease.

Latest News

  • Press Release for $50 Million Gift Wednesday, September 28, 2022

    $50 Million Gift to Accelerate Colton Center for Autoimmunity at Penn Medicine

  • Philadelphia Inquirer Wednesday, September 28, 2022

    $50 million gift to Penn is aimed at new treatments for autoimmune disease

  • Forbes Wednesday, September 28, 2022

    $50 Million Gift To University Of Pennsylvania For Autoimmune Disease Research

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