NEW YORK & BOSTON—Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have announced the establishment of a research collaboration agreement as part of the Immuno-Oncology Rare Population Malignancy (I-O RPM) program in the United States. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is the latest leading, academic-based cancer center to join the program, which is a multi-institutional undertaking focused on the clinical investigation of immuno-oncology therapeutics as potential treatment options for patients with high-risk, poor-prognostic cancers, defined as a rare population malignancy.
I-O RPM expands on Bristol-Myers Squibb’s formation of the International Immuno-Oncology Network in 2012. That initiative is a global collaboration between Bristol-Myers Squibb and members of academia with the goal of facilitating the translation of scientific research findings into clinical trials and clinical practice.
“Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Bristol-Myers Squibb have a shared commitment to patients and to continuing to advance the science in Immuno-Oncology research,” remarked Dr. Laura Bessen, head of U.S. Medical at Bristol-Myers Squibb. “We look forward to working with them as part of the I-O RPM program.”
As part of this program, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute will conduct a range of early-phase clinical studies. Additionally, Bristol-Myers Squibb will support the training of young investigators who contribute to the I-O RPM program at Dana-Farber.
“Recent advances in scientific research have shown the great potential of immuno-oncology agents in hematologic cancers, including myeloma,” Dr. Paul Richardson, clinical program leader and director of Clinical Research of the Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, said in a press release. “We look forward to expanding on these findings through the support of the I-O RPM program with the goal of further improving patient outcomes.”
The I-O RPM research program focuses on significant areas of high unmet need marked by poor outcomes among patients with rare population malignancies. A rare population malignancy is a subpopulation within a higher incident disease population. Patients that fall into these subpopulations have aggressive disease with an increased potential for early metastasis to multiple sites and/or are initially refractory or subject to early recurrences with conventional cancer therapies.
The I-O RPM research program is a multi-institutional initiative, and Dana-Farber now joins Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and the Northwestern Medicine Developmental Therapeutics Institute, Moffitt Cancer Center and the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in the program.
In other recent news for Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation began February—and National Cancer Prevention Month—with the announcement of eight grants totaling nearly $11.5 million. The grants will help make lung and skin cancer screening programs, care and patient support more accessible to underserved populations, and were awarded through the Foundation's Bridging Cancer Care and Specialty Care for Vulnerable Populations initiatives.
Among the recipients were the Association of Community Cancer Centers, which received a three-year, $4.1-million grant; the Anne Arundel Medical Center, which was awarded a three-year, $1.25-million grant; the American Cancer Society, which received a three-year, $1.25-million grant to partner with three federally qualified heath centers; the Patient Advocate Foundation, which received a three-year, $1.36-million grant; the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention, in partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, which was awarded a two-year, $604,582 grant; and Farmworker Justice, which received a two-year, $750,000 grant. The Foundation also awarded two program support grants totaling almost $2 million were awarded to FSG and The Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School.
SOURCE: Bristol-Myers Squibb press release