To speed the development of new cancer drugs, Bristol-Myers Squibb and MD Anderson are teaming up to conduct clinical trials of several new immunotherapy drugs that stimulate the body’s own immune system to fight cancer.
“Collaborations between industry and academia can offer a faster and broader spectrum of clinical trials to benefit patients,” said Hagop Kantarjian, M.D., chair of Leukemia at MD Anderson. “We hope innovative collaborations such as this can help lead to a higher likelihood for success across the board and will speed up the clinical development of new compounds for delivery to the patients who need them.”
MD Anderson patients will enroll in up to 10 Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials of Opdivo (nivolumab), Yervoy (ipilimumab) and three early-stage pharmaceuticals manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb. All are being tested as potential treatments for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and myelofibrosis (MF). Drugs will be tested alone and in combination with each other. Trials will be conducted by MD Anderson.
Opdivo is currently approved in Japan for the treatment of inoperable melanoma, and Yervoy is approved in the U.S. and more than 40 countries for patients with inoperable or metastatic melanoma. Trials are expected to expand the drugs’ application in treating other cancers.
“Immunotherapy is an extremely promising area of research and a key area of focus for MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program,” said MD Anderson President Ron DePinho, M.D. “Partnerships between academia and industry have the potential to significantly advance the application of new discoveries to cancer treatment.”
Additional studies conducted by MD Anderson and Bristol Myers will be determined at a later date.