The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is the latest institution to join Bristol-Myers Squibb's (BMS) Immuno-Oncology Rare Population Malignancy (I-O RPM) program, through a new collaboration whose value was not disclosed.

I-O RPM is a multi-institutional effort focused on developing immuno-oncology treatments for patients with high-risk, poor prognostic cancers. BMS and Dana-Farber agreed to conduct early-phase clinical studies, with the pharma giant also agreeing to support the training of young investigators for the I-O RPM program at Dana-Farber.

“Recent advances in scientific research have shown the great potential of immuno-oncology agents in hematologic cancers, including myeloma,” Paul G. Richardson, M.D., clinical program leader and director of clinical research of Dana-Farber’s Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center, said in a statement. “We look forward to expanding on these findings through the support of the I-O RPM program with the goal of further improving patient outcomes.”

Dana-Farber joins other institutions in I-O RPM. One is the Moffitt Cancer Center, which joined the program last September. Other institutions include the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and the Northwestern Medicine Developmental Therapeutics Institute, and Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

I-O RPM builds on BMS’ establishment in 2012 of the International Immuno-Oncology Network (II-ON), a global collaboration between the company and academic partners focused on facilitating the translation of scientific research findings into clinical trials and, eventually, clinical practice. Immuno-oncology and oncology are two of BMS’ eight core therapeutic areas, along with cardiovascular, fibrotic diseases, genetically defined diseases, immunoscience, metabolics, and virology.

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