Collaboration in cancer research (Guest blog)
The potential to boost the body’s immune system to fight cancer has produced some of the most remarkable research in decades. Excitement in the Immuno-Oncology (I-O) sector is palpable, as many researchers and developers are seeking potential ways to help more patients.
The progress in the I-O sector to date is the result of the combined efforts of many scientists, academic researchers, clinicians and patients who participated in clinical trials. There are hundreds of scientists who can claim a very important role in the research of I-O compounds.
Bristol-Myers Squibb has more than 75 active partnerships and collaborations with academic research centers, laboratories, clinicians, clinical trials organizations and biotech firms. We are committed to working with a broad range of multidisciplinary experts in hopes of advancing translational research within I-O.
One example of this is the International Immuno-Oncology Network (II-ON), which we launched in 2012. The II-ON is a global peer-to-peer collaboration with 15 academic cancer research centers that aims to advance I-O science and translational medicine through innovation. With member organizations in North America, Europe, the United Kingdom, Japan and Australia, the II-ON is one of the first networks to bring industry and academia together in this area.
Within the II-ON, more than 250 investigators are focusing on three scientific pillars to advance I-O discovery and development: understanding the mechanisms of resistance, identifying the patient populations most likely to benefit and exploring novel combinations that may enhance anti-tumor response through complimentary mechanisms of action.
To date, the II-ON has produced data from more than 150 research projects and launched 12 biology-driven clinical trials across 20 different tumor types. Insights from that data have led to several published papers and some of the earliest findings on a number of biomarkers, as well as target identification and validation.
The II-ON is an excellent example of people working on linking the understanding of tumor biology to improve patient outcomes. This link is critical as we continue to look at investigational compounds and advance the science of I-O for patients.