"The strengths of both organizations in the rapidly growing field of cancer immunotherapy can exploit opportunities to develop more effective treatments for cancer patients," said
MD Anderson's Moon Shots Program is an ambitious effort to dramatically reduce cancer deaths, starting with six moon shots that target eight cancers and are backed by several platforms - infrastructure, technology or expertise - that support research efforts.
The 3-year translational research agreement brings together the scientific and clinical capabilities of MD Anderson and Johnson &
The collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Innovation is the second such arrangement made through the moon shots immunotherapy platform. Only a few companies will be selected to become partners to the platform.
"Our new collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotech companies through our immunotherapy platform are different from traditional agreements, because they allow both parties to work on any project they deem appropriate without additional budgets," said
"We provide our pharma and biotech collaborators access to state-of-the-art facilities, novel research protocols for clinical trials open to our large and diverse patient population, and an opportunity to work with leaders in the field of immunotherapy," Prat said.
Prat said this collaboration will explore oncology focus areas of interest to
Allison's basic science research on T cell biology led to an entirely new method of treating cancer called immune checkpoint blockade, which blocks receptors on the surface of T cells that tumors use to turn off immune attack.
Allison created an antibody to one such checkpoint, called CTLA-4, and worked in its development as the drug ipilimumab (Yervoy), the first drug of its kind and also the first to be approved by the
In December, the journal Science designated cancer immunotherapy as its 2013 Breakthrough of the Year, noting Allison's leadership in the field, The Economist named Allison winner of its 2013 Innovations Award for Biosciences and he received a
MD Anderson's immunotherapy platform has enhanced and increased the institution's capabilities in expertise, technology and techniques since Allison's arrival in November of 2012.
MD Anderson has invested
Since approval of ipilimumab in 2011, additional immune checkpoint receptors and drugs to target them have been discovered and are in clinical trials. At MD Anderson, clinical trials of ipilimumab and other agents target melanoma, lymphoma, lung, breast, gastric and prostate cancers, with more planned.
MD Anderson researchers also are working on a variety of ways to enhance T cell attack on cancer cells. For example, one method involves harvesting a patient's own cancer-targeting T cells, expanding their number in the lab, then reinfusing them in the patient. Another involves customizing a patient's T cells via gene transfer to more efficiently attack tumors and then giving them back to patients. Both methods are in clinical trials.
Therapeutic vaccine development also is under way for melanoma, lymphoma and breast cancer.
Keywords for this news article include: Biotechnology, Oncology, Immunology, Cancer Vaccines, Clinical Trials and Studies,
Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2014, NewsRx LLC
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