Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre is joining forces with America’s Penn Medicine (University of Pennsylvania Health System), aiming to establish laboratory-clinical-research initiatives and open more clinical trials for Australian and American cancer patients.

A reciprocal agreement will see the two international leaders in cellular immunotherapy collaborate with an aim of providing greater access to new technologies and ultimately increasing opportunities for patients to benefit from cellular therapies.

Professor Simon Harrison, Director of the Peter Mac Centre of Excellence in Cellular Immunotherapy said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with Penn Medicine, a recognised global leader in cellular immunotherapy, to accelerate the development of new treatments for our patients.”

“Both institutions have exceptional clinical trial expertise and this partnership will further strengthen our capabilities in cellular therapies, for the benefit of all Australians.”

Peter Mac currently has 418 clinical trials underway with 40 per cent of those trials testing a new treatment in humans for the first time. 

“Our team at Penn is excited to partner with our distinguished colleagues at Peter Mac,” said David L. Porter, MD, Director of Cell Therapy and Transplantation in Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center and the Jodi Fisher Horowitz Professor in Leukemia Care Excellence in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine.

“We are excited about the opportunity to combine our expertise, to test important new therapies better and faster, and bring innovative cell therapies to many more patients than either group would be able to do alone.” 

Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center is one of the world’s top research institutions for cellular therapies, having led the development and clinical trials for the United States’ first approved CAR T-cell therapy.

CAR T-cell therapy is a relatively new approach to treating cancer that harnesses a patient’s own immune cells to recognise and attack cancer.

The treatment has shown remarkable results, with certain CAR T-cell products provided to blood cancers patients in the standard of care setting and is being trialled in the research setting to treat certain solid tumours in humans.

The long term results of the first CAR T-cell trial at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center were recently published, showing that two patients treated in 2010 both achieved and sustained remissions of their chronic lymphocytic leukaemia 10 years after initial treatment.

Penn Medicine currently has 16 CAR T-cell treatment trials underway.

The collaboration between Peter Mac and Penn Medicine aims to drive innovative clinical research collaborations and increase access to clinical trials and novel technologies, giving cancer patients hope for a better future.


For more information or to arrange an interview, call the Communications team on 0417 123 048.

About Peter Mac

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre is a world-leading cancer research, education and treatment centre and Australia’s only public health service solely dedicated to caring for people affected by cancer.