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MD Anderson announces immunotherapy collaboration with GSK
Date:4/8/2014

pports its Moon Shoots Program, the institution's 10-year commitment to more rapidly develop therapies and other interventions to significantly reduce cancer deaths.

"We welcome the opportunity to work closely with GSK to build upon the early successes of immunotherapy by extending this approach to many types of cancer and exploring ways to improve treatment effectiveness," said Jim Allison, Ph.D., MD Anderson chair of Immunology and executive director of the immunotherapy platform.

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 stop an immune attack. He created an antibody to the checkpoint CTLA-4, which became the first drug of any type approved for use in late-stage melanoma. Additional checkpoints have since been identified and new drugs to treat them are under development.

"Unlike other cancer drugs that treat certain cancer types or specific molecular targets on a tumor, immune checkpoint blockade treats the immune system, freeing it to attack any type of cancer," Allison said.

Other immunotherapy platform leaders include co-director Patrick Hwu, M.D., chair of Melanoma Medical Oncology, and scientific director Padmanee Sharma, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Genitourinary Medical Oncology.

Hwu is one of the leading tumor immunologists in the country, whose work in the development of novel vaccines and T-cell therapies explores new ways of treating cancer. He and Allison will work closely with GSK scientists to quickly bridge the gap between discoveries in the lab and drugs that will benefit patients.


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Contact: William Fitzgerald
wbfitzgerald@mdanderson.org
713-792-9518
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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