Pittsburgh – November 13, 2018 – The Mario Lemieux Foundation has once again pledged support for UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, this time with a $5 million gift for groundbreaking immunotherapy research and treatment.

The new Mario Lemieux Immunotherapy Center at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center will expand and enhance innovative immunotherapy treatments for patients with certain types of solid tumors, both through research and personalized patient care.

“Our foundation is committed to cutting-edge research and patient care, and we are pleased to support UPMC with this new center,” said Mario Lemieux, chairman of the Mario Lemieux Foundation.

“UPMC has a long-standing relationship with Mario and Nathalie Lemieux, their family and the Mario Lemieux Foundation, which has been responsible for funding several successful programs and groundbreaking research at UPMC Hillman,” said Stanley M. Marks, M.D., chairman of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. “Now as our cancer researchers embark on the newest immunotherapy treatment breakthroughs for solid tumors, this new center will revolutionize the way our patients are treated.”

Immunotherapy is the treatment of a disease by using a person’s own immune cells. This novel treatment strengthens or regulates a person’s immune response faster and more efficiently than routine therapies and can enhance the body’s own defenses to fight cancer and other diseases.

Cancer experts at UPMC Hillman have been leaders in the field of immunotherapy for decades, successfully developing effective therapies for several cancers. In the recently launched UPMC Immune Transplant and Therapy Center, researchers are accelerating the pace at which medical teams are developing this next generation of care.

“UPMC has successfully improved immunotherapy treatments for a wide range of cancers, including melanoma, head and neck cancer, hematologic cancers and lung cancer,” said Robert Ferris, M.D., Ph.D., director of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. “Now we are exploring genetically engineered T cells – or immune system cells that may help fight cancer – so they can find and kill solid organ cancers.”

The Mario Lemieux Foundation Immunotherapy Center at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, will be located on the second floor of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. Just as the Lemieux Center for Blood Cancers at UPMC Hillman brought the latest discoveries and treatment options in a patient-centric environment, this new center for immunotherapy will bring the same level of care to patients with solid tumors.