The Cancer Center promotes interdisciplinary coordination, cooperation, and collaboration among its members through a variety of seminars, meetings, and other events. The Center’s size and physical organization also encourage formal and informal interactions of faculty, staff, and research trainees and students.
The Cancer Center’s success in interdisciplinary collaboration is evidenced by the number of Wistar publications featuring co-authors from multiple research programs, as well as a number of joint federal grants for research in areas including melanoma, aging, and many types of cancer, including lung, prostate, ovarian, and esophageal cancer. Wistar scientists also collaborate extensively with cancer researchers locally, nationally, and internationally.
The Wistar Institute has also established a Science Discovery Fund, an internal peer-reviewed grant award mechanism specifically designed to supportcollaborative, multi-investigator and multi-disciplinary projects with clear translational and commercial potential.
The Power of Partnership
The Institute and the Cancer Center benefit from Philadelphia’s rich intellectual environment and the many opportunities for collaboration with neighboring academic institutions. Wistar is located in West Philadelphia and enjoys extensive collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.
Melanoma Research: A Success Story
Wistar’s melanoma research program – one of the largest and most prestigious in the world – is a leading example of the success of Wistar's partnership efforts. Conducted in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania, the program has brought biologists, immunologists, and geneticists together with clinical experts in pathology, oncology, and surgery. In 2001, the program was recognized as a skin cancer SPORE (Specialized Programs of Research Excellence) by the National Cancer Institute. With the support of this highly prestigious grant, Wistar investigators have pioneered novel approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of melanoma.
Partnerships to Support Disease Site-Specific and Patient-Oriented Cancer Research
In 2011, the Wistar Cancer Center entered a historic partnership with the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center (HFGCC). The Graham Center is an ideal clinical partner, and a major provider of cancer research in the region. The Wistar-HFGCC partnership has produced impressive collaborative progress over the last several years including numerous collaborative publications in the premiere scientific literature, characterization of novel molecular pathways in primary patient samples, joint philanthropic fundraising, and collaborative funding through both federal funding agencies and private foundations.
Expansion of the Molecular Screening and Protein Expression Shared Resource was made possible as part of the Wistar-HFGCC partnership. Gene editing services offered through the Gene Editing Institute at HFGCC have been added to the core's capabilities.
Philadelphia Drug Discovery Forum (PDDF)
Led by members of the Wistar Cancer Center’s Gene Expression and Regulation program, this initiative brings together several academic institutions in the greater Philadelphia area with an interest in early-stage drug discovery, including the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, Drexel University, Lankenau Medical Research Institute and Fox Chase Chemical Diversity Center. The PDDF has provided an important collaborative network for partnering institutions to share resources, knowledge, and complementary skills related to early-stage drug discovery, identification of new cancer targets, development of joint intellectual property portfolios, partnership with the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, and advancement of existing assets for further commercialization.,