Cell therapy 'jigsaw puzzle' fits together in $250M UCSF initiative

UCSF is launching a broad initiative spanning its research, clinical and newly created manufacturing infrastructure aimed at producing cutting-edge cell therapies against a range of cancers, autoimmune diseases and rare genetic diseases.

The Living Therapeutics Initiative unveiled Thursday is a longtime dream of University of California, San Francisco, Chancellor Sam Hawgood, but it covers vast programs that over the past 15 years have focused on the promise of re-engineering cells into life-saving therapies. The LTI puts those independent efforts, supported by $250 million in UCSF support and philanthropic gifts over the past few years, under a single umbrella organization.

It will launch a $50 million donor-supported grant program this fall to fund UCSF faculty living therapeutics projects.

"We purposely chose 'initiative' so it could be a big umbrella for any existing entity," Hawgood said. "If we're successful with this collaborative environment, it could be something where one plus one equals five instead of two."

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