Bloomberg, others give $125 million for immunotherapy cancer research

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg attends a meeting during the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, December 5, 2015. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

(Reuters) - Billionaire Michael Bloomberg and other philanthropists are donating $125 million to Johns Hopkins University for a new institute devoted to immunotherapy cancer research, the Baltimore school said on Tuesday.

Bloomberg, founder of the business and market news firm bearing his name and a former New York City mayor, and Sidney Kimmel, founder of Jones Apparel Group, have each agreed to donate $50 million. Another $25 million was contributed by more than a dozen supporters, Johns Hopkins said in a statement.

The Bloomberg–Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy will be at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center in Baltimore. It will draw on experts in cancer, immunology, genetics, microbiology and biomedical engineering.

Immunotherapy seeks to redirect patients’ individual immune systems to target and destroy cancer cells. Researchers have called immunotherapy the most rapidly advancing approach to cancer treatment and one of the most promising avenues of research, the statement said.

Research at the institute will focus on melanoma, colon, pancreatic, urologic, lung, breast and ovarian cancers.

One high-profile cancer patient to undergo immunotherapy treatment was former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. He began treatment in August for melanoma and said in December that he was cancer free.

Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Dan Grebler