The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center recently announced a partnership with biopharmaceutical company Abbvie to explore studies focusing on the immune system's ability to fight cancer.
The three-year partnership creates a four-person joint scientific committee, with two members each from MD Anderson and Abbvie, that will select which type of projects the program pursues. The two initial projects are from AbbVie's center of innovation in the San Francisco Bay Area, AbbVie Biotherapeutics.
"AbbVie has both identified new molecules and developed novel technology to hit key targets, with the objective of designing new immunotherapy for the benefit of patients," Dr. Padmanee Sharma, immunotherapy platform scientific director and professor at MD Anderson, said.
The research will focus on exploring new immunotherapy drugs that can be used to fight cancer.
"Cancer immunotherapy drugs that remove two types of brakes on immune response are really just the tip of the iceberg for this field," Dr. Jim Allison, executive director of the immunotherapy platform and chair of immunology at MD Anderson, said. "Our agreements with companies such as AbbVie allow academic and industry scientists to work efficiently to move the science forward and extend this approach to more patients."
Research at the program includes preclinical modeling, clinical trials and monitoring the immune system before, during and after treatment to better understand drug mechanisms and identify biomarkers to guide treatment.
"Pairing MD Anderson's cutting-edge preclinical, translational and clinical capabilities with AbbVie's innovative discovery and development programs accelerates our ability to deliver new therapies that can help transform the lives of people affected by cancer," Dr. Michael Severino, chief scientific officer at AbbVie, said. "AbbVie is pleased to partner with MD Anderson's world-class experts so that together we can advance the science of cancer immunotherapy for the benefit of patients around the world."