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Dream Team Project Dedicated to Cancer Immunology has Goal of Controlling and Preventing Cancer

Administrators, researchers and physicians at the MD Anderson Cancer Center have declared war against cancer, and they are doing everything they can to eradicate the disease.  Now, one of the Center’s physicians has been selected to lead a Dream Team formed to conduct immunotherapy research “aimed at making marked progress in the treatment, control and prevention of cancer.”

The Dream Team was formed through a collaboration between Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) and the Cancer Research Institute (CRI), and will be led by James P. Allison, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Immunology, Director of the Immunotherapy Platform, Co-Director of the David H. Koch Center for Applied Research of Genitourinary Cancers of the Genitourinary Medical Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

According to the American Association for Cancer Research, the team will receive $10 million in funding over three years for “this translational cancer research project that will unite laboratory and clinical efforts leading to the immunological treatment, control and prevention of cancer.”

The researchers hope to capitalize on the unique characteristics of the body’s immune system to develop novel therapies to treat all cancers, including rare cancers such as mesothelioma.  Immunotherapy, as defined by the American Cancer Society, is a “treatment that uses certain parts of the immune system to fight diseases such as cancer.”

“Cancer immunology, a field which the Cancer Research Institute pioneered and has led for sixty years, is a high-potential area of medical research that is producing some of today’s greatest breakthroughs in cancer patient treatment, and I am confident that this Dream Team is going to succeed in making the next great advance,” said Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D., chief executive officer and director of scientific affairs at CRI, according to AACR.

The Dream Team is comprised of researchers from the following eight institutions: MD Anderson Cancer Center, UCLA, The Johns Hopkins University, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, California Institute of Technology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Netherlands Cancer Institute.

“This Dream Team brings together a group of people who have made incredible contributions to the world of immunotherapy,” said Allison in a press release from MD Anderson. “For the first time we will be joined in our research to concentrate on this important goal.”

The “Immune Checkpoint Blockade and Adoptive Cell Transfer in Cancer Therapy” project is estimated to start in March, with the first clinical trials scheduled to open in early 2014.

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Nancy Meredith is a blog and web content writer with more than 20 years of professional experience in the Information Technology industry. She has been writing about Mesothelioma for 4 years. Follow Nancy on Google+