NCCN receives $2M grant to evaluate effectiveness of volasertib in treatment of hematologic malignancies

Published on May 23, 2014 at 2:00 AM · No Comments

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) Oncology Research Program (ORP) has been awarded a $2-million grant from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to develop a program to scientifically evaluate and define the safety and clinical effectiveness of the investigational compound volasertib* in the treatment of hematologic malignancies.

"The ongoing collaboration between the NCCN ORP and Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals is a true testament to the advancement of oncology research," said Diane E. Paul, MS, RN, Vice President, NCCN ORP. "This grant will afford investigators at NCCN Member Institutions the ability to be at the forefront of groundbreaking clinical research in hematologic malignancies."

The first phase of the program will involve the establishment of an NCCN Volasertib Request for Proposals Development Team to evaluate existing data and to discuss and define the data and type of studies necessary to further characterize the safety and clinical effectiveness of volasertib in hematologic malignancies.

Volasertib is an investigational compound that inhibits enzymes called Polo-like kinase (PLK). PLK1 is the best characterized kinase of the PLK family. Plk1 regulates cell division (mitosis). This inhibition can result in prolonged cell cycle arrest, ultimately leading to cell death (apoptosis). Volasertib is currently being evaluated in clinical trials for various solid tumors and hematological cancers.

"Boehringer Ingelheim is honored to partner with such a prestigious organization as NCCN which is known for their high quality cancer research," said Berthold Greifenberg, MD, Vice President, Clinical Development and Medical Affairs, Oncology, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. "We hope this grant will contribute to the understanding of the potential of volasertib to treat hematologic malignancies, including acute myeloid leukemia."

The NCCN ORP draws on the expertise of investigators at NCCN Member Institutions and the NCCN Affiliate Research Consortium (ARC) to facilitate all phases of clinical research. This research is made possible by collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in order to advance therapeutic options for patients with cancer.

The NCCN ORP will utilize the grant from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to support investigator-initiated clinical and correlative studies at NCCN Member Institutions and their affiliate community hospitals for volasertib. To date, this successful research model has received approximately $26 million in research grants and supported more than 115 studies that have produced a number of publications in peer-reviewed journals.

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