September 10, 2015
New partnership to test immuno-oncology on solid tumors
BY Ron Gilmore
Merck and MD Anderson have announced a strategic clinical research collaboration to evaluate Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, KEYTRUDA®å (pembrolizumab), in combination with other treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and/or novel anti-tumor medicines.
Under the terms of the agreement, collaborative studies will be conducted in the following tumor types over the three-year period of the collaboration: gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma, pancreatic adenocarcinoma and hepatocellular carcinoma. The first studies are scheduled to start enrolling later this year.
The agreement aims to define what combination modalities will work best with KEYTRUDA in these types of tumors by exploring promising new alternatives. The studies will be conducted in parallel in order to determine optimal regimens in the most efficient manner possible. All studies will feature state-of-the-art monitoring protocols and built-in flexibility to take advantage of the very latest information available.
“Through these types of collaborations, we are able to engage in larger, more comprehensive studies that aim to accelerate the pace of discovery,” said Patrick Hwu, M.D., head of Cancer Medicine. “We believe that this new agreement will help to speed delivery of new cancer treatments that our patients expect and deserve.”
MD Anderson been instrumental in researching breakthrough cancer therapies, and was a key contributor to early investigations exploring the use of KEYTRUDA in the treatment of multiple tumor types. Past research collaborations with Merck and MD Anderson were pivotal in achieving the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of KEYTRUDA as a treatment for unresectable or metastatic melanoma.
Read more about this collaboration in the Newsroom section of MD Anderson’s website.
Photo of metastatic melanoma is courtesy of National Human Genome Research Institute.