The Cooksey report of 2006 called for a greater functional collaboration between industry and academia if we are to fully realise the promise offered by Translational Medicine to the benefit of patients.
The MCRC has such an innovative, science based collaboration with AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals (AZ). Our joint goal is the discovery, development, and clinical implementation of predictive, prognostic and pharmacodynamic biomarkers to optimise patient benefit from cancer therapy leading to the right dose of the right drug to the right patient.
CEP plays a significant role within this over-arching MCRC Alliance with AZ. Fundamental to the AZ/MCRC Alliance is the joined up thinking and working between The Christie’s Derek Crowther Early Clinical Trials Unit and the translational science research laboratories in the MCRC and at AZ. These studies are performed to Good Clinical Practice for Laboratories (GCP-L) standards in CEP.
The AZ/CEP Serological Alliance exemplifies by our joint work on serological biomarkers to provide an evaluation of blood borne markers in a range of AZ clinical trials accompanied by funding for ‘blue sky’ biomarker discovery projects (currently 12 AZ funded posts within CEP).
The Serological Alliance was established in 2006 and analyses, reports and advises on data obtained from a range of cell death, angiogenesis and project specific ELISAs performed on clinical samples from Phase I, II and III trials. In the first 4.5 years over 60,000 GCP-L assays have been performed.
Circulating Tumour Cell Technologies were established in CEP during 2007 and were subsequently incorporated into the Serological Alliance in 2008 to support a 200 patient European Phase II ovarian cancer trial. The successful management of this trial has lead to AZ taking samples for CTC analysis from many of its Phase I/II trials. Samples are now shipped globally to CEP for CTC analysis under the Serological Alliance remit. Project specific CTC characterisation work is also performed within CEP to help further understanding in this field.
The Serological Alliance, in conjunction with the AZ/CRUK Clinical Fellow scheme within CEP, should deliver substantial benefits to AstraZeneca’s oncology portfolio over the coming years.
This Alliance of CEP with AstraZeneca is one example of how CEP interacts with the Pharmaceutical Industry.