AstraZeneca, Pfizer Partner with Cancer Research UK for Personalized Medicine

By Pharma News - DCAT Publisher

April 18, 2014

Cancer Research UK is partnering with pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Pfizer to create a clinical trial for patients with advanced lung cancer using a personalized medicine approach.

The National Lung Matrix trial,  scheduled to open later this year at centers across the UK,  will give researchers access to libraries of drugs developed by AstraZeneca and Pfizer to allow several to be tested at the same time within one trial.

Researchers will use the genetics of each lung tumour to identify small groups of patients who, because of the specific genetic changes causing their cancer, are more likely to benefit from a certain drug. They will then look for signs of improvement, such as increased survival, tumor shrinkage or an alleviation of symptoms. Medicines that show promise in the small groups of patients may be fast-tracked into larger trials involving more patients with the same genetic changes. Additionally, new medicines can be added to the existing trial as new experimental treatments filter through from the laboratory.

Over the course of the trial, up to 14 medicines could be included; up to 12 from AstraZeneca and its biologics research arm MedImmune, and two from Pfizer. These medicines target very specific and often rare mutations, meaning they could offer hope for patients who would otherwise have very limited treatment options.

Cancer Research UK, AstraZeneca and Pfizer are jointly funding the programme, with support from the UK's National Health Service (NHS). In total this represents about £25 million ($42 million) worth of research.

The trial, led by chief investigator Professor Gary Middleton in conjunction with the Early Drug Development Team at the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit in Birmingham, will build on the first phase of Cancer Research UK's Stratified Medicine Program. This established a way for NHS hospitals to routinely test tumour samples and use this information to help match cancer patients to the most appropriate treatment.

Source: Cancer Research UK