New immunotherapy initiative

30 Jan 2008

The Cancer Research Institute announced yesterday that it has brought together the The Cancer Vaccine Consortium , a program of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and the cancer vaccine collaborative, a program of the Cancer Research Institute and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research to form the leading initiative on cancer vaccines.

This joint effort establishes a unified voice in the cancer vaccine field and provides a major new resource to academia, industry, and governmental agencies involved in cancer vaccine discovery and development.

The Cancer Vaccine Consortium administered by the Cancer Research Institute, is an international association of 67 pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and academic institutions engaged in cancer vaccine and immunotherapy research and development. The Cancer Vaccine Collaborative is a coordinated global network of 22 academic clinical and laboratory centres with strong immune monitoring capabilities and the capacity to conduct early-phase clinical trials.

Linking these programs under a single organisation offers great synergism for academic and industrial collaboration and provides improved capabilities for all its members. Together, the two programs aim to address the needs of the immunotherapy community with the goal to accelerate discovery and development, and facilitate regulatory discussions about cancer vaccines and other immunotherapies.

The objectives and activities of the new Cancer Vaccine Consortium will encompass:

- Hosting scientific conferences and workshops on cancer vaccines and other immunotherapies to facilitate knowledge exchange;

- Forming alliances with academic and industrial organisations across the globe to further accelerate progress;

- Facilitating ongoing dialogue with regulatory bodies to help develop needed standards for evaluating cancer immunotherapies;

- Developing and standardizing methodologies for measuring the immune response to cancer vaccination and establishing surrogate biological markers for therapeutic benefits; Managing the production and acquisition of reagents for clinical trials of cancer vaccines;

- Continuing support of the existing international network of academic laboratory and clinical investigators conducting early-phase cancer vaccine trials aimed at learning how to effectively immunize against cancer.

Lloyd J. Old, M.D., chairman of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, will also serve as director of the CRI Cancer Vaccine Consortium and chairman of its Executive Committee. Axel Hoos, M.D., Ph.D., medical lead in Immuno-Oncology at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and former president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute's Cancer Vaccine Consortium, will serve as co-chairman of the Cancer Vaccine Consortium Executive Committee.

"The time is ripe for stronger alliances between academia and industry," says Dr. Old. "Integrating the clinical trials network of the CRI/LICR Cancer Vaccine Collaborative with the strengths of the pharmaceutical, biotech, and academic membership of the Sabin Cancer Vaccine Consortium will allow the Cancer Research Institute to present a single, united front on cancer vaccines to the scientific and medical communities. This alignment strengthens the overall position of all of its participants and establishes a unified voice that can represent the needs of a broader constituency."