M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Collaboration With Drug Company Could Bring New Medicines to Market Faster

A new collaboration between M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and a major drug company has been formed to reduce delays in the drug approval and development process. Houston Public Radio's Ed Mayberry Reports.

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Typically, pharmaceutical companies bring FDA-approved investigational new drugs to cancer centers for clinical trial.ξ But a collaboration between M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and GlaxoSmithKline could help bring those drugs through the approval process faster, according to Dr. Robert Bast, M.D. Anderson's vice president for translational research.

"With the strategic alliance, we've developed legal agreements that take care of all of the legal details so that it's possible to just put a new protocal for a clinical trial or a new agreement for a laboratory study so that we cut months of red tape down to a day.ξ Also it's possible to have many of the approvals for a trial done ahead of time so that we can be poised to beginan immediate first in human trial just as soon as the FDA has signed off on the clinical trial."

The five-year, non-exclusive alliance establishes a partnership that could address key questions in the lab and translate those findings to the clinic and back to the lab.ξ

"With strategic alliances like that with GlaxoSmithKline, we have access to new drugs that are the most promising.ξ We also have the ability to work with those drugs even before they're administered to patients so that we can figure out how best to identify whether they're useful or not.ξ Also to identify what other drugs with them to have more effective combinations.ξ In addition, we really can work together with industry to try to take the delays out of the process on both sides."

Dr. Bast says this collaboration is a model for other research institutions.

"Clearly we see this as one of the ways that we can streamline the process, and also one of the ways that we can support research in the laboratory, as well as in the clinic to try to brings drugs to help cancer patients as promptly as possible, and try to identify whether they'll be useful in as short a time as feasible."

Dr. Bast says his team at M.D. Anderson and researchers at GlaxoSmithKline are looking forward to the collaboration, in their attempt to develop new medicines that help patients feel better and live longer.ξ Ed Mayberry, Houston Public Radio News.

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