AstraZeneca entered into a multi-year, strategic research collaboration with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to carry out multiple, parallel clinical and clinically-related studies in ovarian and other gynecologic cancers with the aim of improving patient outcomes. Officials at both organizations say the agreement represents a unique approach to research by focusing not just on clinical trials using investigational therapies to gain insights and information, but also epidemiological and outcomes studies.

“Through this approach, AstraZeneca and M.D. Anderson aim to re-think how industry and academia can collaborate in deeper and broader ways to help expedite the development of treatments for women with high unmet medical needs,” points out a cancer center spokesperson.

The data collected from these studies is anticipated to inform the development and utility of existing and future therapies. M.D. Anderson scientists will have access to AstraZeneca therapeutic agents and developmental compounds, and studies will be determined by the collaboration at a later date.

“AstraZeneca is committed to helping redefine the cancer treatment paradigm, beginning with our powerful clinical development program for ovarian cancer,” said Greg Keenan, AstraZeneca’s chief medical officer in the U.S. “Working to fully realize the potential of novel targeted therapies and immunotherapies, as well as novel combinations to drive improved outcomes, engages us in true partnerships to better understand the science. The collaboration with M.D. Anderson is ideal as it maximizes both our ability to explore these combinations through AstraZeneca’s agents while providing us with unique insights and data.”

The collaboration will draw on the expertise of M.D. Anderson’s Moon Shots Program, which aims to accelerate the conversion of scientific discoveries into clinical advances and significantly reduce cancer deaths. The effort also leverages resources such as M.D. Anderson’s Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy and novel agents from AstraZeneca.

“Ovarian and other gynecologic cancers remain areas of high unmet need,” says Gordon Mills, M.D., Ph.D., chair of systems biology, division of cancer medicine at MD Anderson. “Collaborations that examine new agents and explore disease epidemiology and outcomes have the potential to inform the development of novel and combination treatments, and MD Anderson has the ability and expertise required to provide data-rich, rapid trials to inform this combination strategy.”

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