Published on February 10, 2014 at 12:46 AM
Moon Shots platform advances clinical and translational research
Allison developed an antibody that blocks the CTLA-4 1mmune checkpoint, unleashing a T cell attack. Ipilimumab (Yervoy®) became the first drug to extend survival for patients with late-stage melanoma. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of metastatic melanoma in 2011.
Since then, additional immune checkpoints and drugs to target them have been discovered and are advancing in clinical trials. At MD Anderson, clinical trials of ipilimumab and other drugs individually or in combination target melanoma, lymphoma, lung, breast, gastric and prostate cancers.
MD Anderson's Moon Shots Program is an ambitious effort to dramatically reduce cancer deaths, starting with six moon shots that target eight cancers and are backed by several platforms - infrastructure, technology or expertise - that support research efforts. The immunotherapy platform has increased and enhanced the institution's capabilities in preclinical and clinical research since Allison's arrival from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York in 2012.
In December, MD Anderson signed collaborative agreements with Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson to develop immunology-based approaches to cancer treatment through the immunotherapy platform.
Allison also is deputy director of the David H Koch Center for Applied Research of Genitourinary Cancers and holds the Vivian L. Smith Distinguished Chair in Immunology at MD Anderson.
Last year, Allison received a Breakthrough Prize for Biosciences from the Breakthrough Foundation, The Economist's 2013 Innovations Award for Bioscience and the first AACR-CRI Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology of the American Association for Cancer Research. The journal Science named cancer immunotherapy its 2013 Breakthrough of the Year.
Source: University of Texas