The Virtual Immunotherapy Connection (VITC) is a project initiated through the 2017 SITC Sparkathon class and the METIOR Incubator. Young investigators from multiple institutions and industries were challenged to address a major hurdle within the Immuno-Oncology field: Immunotherapy does not work in all patients, yet—Can you improve the outcome? Members of the CAR-T team determined that although ideas and innovation drive cancer research, progress cannot be achieved without availability and access to resources and technology.
The lack of an easily accessible centralized database that is open to all scientific and clinical investigators in the field of immune-oncology makes the procurement of clinical and preclinical samples exceedingly challenging. Therefore, we created a virtual database that will allow investigators across academia and industry to advertise the sample sets they have at their disposal, making it accessible to other researchers in the field thus providing an excellent resource that will nurture future collaborations and possible funding opportunities. Investigators only deposit information about samples or reagents that they maintain control of but allow other PI’s to view this information to directly contact and set up collaboration. This tool will optimize the utilization of existing resources, prevent duplication and allow new investigators to explore innovative ideas.
Founding members of VITC include:
- Nikhil Hebbar, PhD, St.Jude Children’s Research Hospital
- Bhanu Koppolu, PhD, BTG International, Inc.
- Shunichiro Kuramitsu, MD PhD, Pearlman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvannia
- Shannon Lange, PhD, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
- Katie McKenna, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine