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Collaboration to Further Novel Cancer Immunotherapy Approach

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 31 Mar 2014
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A new immunotherapy program has been established to drastically slash cancer deaths by targeting eight cancers with the support of several new research platforms that provide infrastructure, technology, and know-how.

MedImmune (Gaithersburg, MD, USA), AstraZeneca’s (Cambridge, UK) global biologics research and development arm, has entered into a three-year translational and clinical research collaboration with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, TX, USA) to evaluate therapies that trigger patients’ immune systems to attack their cancers through MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program.

MedImmune is conducting clinical trials using a new therapeutic concept that targets immune cells to improve their tumor-fighting ability, rather than targeting the tumor cell itself. Through the collaboration, MD Anderson will evaluate several of MedImmune’s immunotherapy molecules in a clinical setting to better determine how these molecules elicit immune response in patients.

The scientists hope that data gathered from these studies will provide new clues on treatment-related changes to tumors, with the ultimate goal of identifying the best combination therapies and developing biomarkers to guide and assess the safety and effectiveness of MedImmune’s immunotherapy molecules.

“We are excited to work with MD Anderson in the Moon Shots program, pairing their unique immunotherapy platform with our innovative portfolio of immune-mediated cancer therapies,” said Dr. Ed Bradley, senior vice president and head of MedImmune’s oncology innovative medicines unit. “Our partnership will provide MedImmune with an invaluable opportunity to evaluate the biological impact of our immune-mediated cancer agents, both as monotherapy and combination therapy.”

“Our collaboration with MedImmune, a leader in the field of immunotherapy, will draw on the strengths of both institutions to push ahead for more effective treatments for cancer patients,” said Jim Allison, PhD, executive director of the moon shots immunotherapy platform and professor and chair of immunology at MD Anderson.

MedImmune is the worldwide biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialization of small molecule and biologic prescription medicines. MedImmune is conducting novel research and exploring pathways across key therapeutic areas, including respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity; cardiovascular and metabolic disease; oncology; neuroscience; and infection and vaccines.

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University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

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