The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society inked a collaboration with Ensemble Discovery to use the company’s DNA-Programmed Chemistry to identify cells responsible for minimal residual disease (MRD)—the low levels of cancer cells that remain even after remission is achieved, which can result in relapse. The goal of the project is to create a sensitive test to detect the protein (BCR-ABL kinase) central to the development of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).
The potential clinical benefit of the test, according to the Society, is to develop a better understanding of the disease remission process. The test will allow the isolation of MRD cells and may lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms of resistance. The Society believes that this work will enable the appropriate selection of subsequent therapy based on the patient's disease status.
The contract with Ensemble Discovery is the first agreement undertaken as part of the Society's new Therapy Acceleration Program (TAP), which supports private sector and academic-based projects, with the goal of moving more blood cancer therapies into the development pipeline. The Society will continue to invest in research at the early stages of discovery, but this new initiative is directed at driving development and regulatory approval of new blood cancer therapies at the critical clinical stage.
The Society is committed to funding the proof-of-concept phase of the Ensemble Discovery project. If the concept is proven to work, the Society will provide additional funding to help with the creation of the product.