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Partnering up to test radiation immunotherapy treatments

Friday, March 11, 2016

Silvia Formenti, M.D., is pioneering the use of radiation for immunotherapy in cancerSilvia Formenti, M.D. Weill Cornell Medicine has formed a strategic, preclinical research alliance with Janssen Biotech, Inc. (Janssen), one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, to develop new treatment approaches for certain types of cancer.

Led by Dr. Silvia C. Formenti, chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Weill Cornell Medicine and radiation oncologist-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, investigators will study the preclinical efficacy of combining external-beam radiotherapy with Janssen's immuno-oncology drugs with the ultimate goal of translating findings into clinical trials to benefit patients with various types of solid tumors, including prostate and lung cancers. A renowned expert in external-beam radiotherapy, a well-established and highly effective, non-invasive treatment for solid tumors and lymphomas, Dr. Formenti has pioneered a treatment strategy that combines localized radiotherapy with immunotherapy to control cancer cell growth, and potentially vaccinate patients against their own tumors.

"This collaboration will allow us to continue our work and collect important pre-clinical data using the sophisticated, state-of-the-art equipment in our department's new radiation biology lab, including a dedicated small animal irradiator (NCI# 1S10 RR0267619-01+ Formenti SC, P.I.)," Dr. Formenti said. "The information generated in tumor models has the potential to inform the design of clinical trials that combine radiotherapy with immunotherapy."

This research alliance was facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation. As Weill Cornell Medicine investigators conduct this translational research, Janssen and Weill Cornell Medicine's Office of Biopharma Alliances and Research Collaborations will look for ways to advance this promising work for testing in clinical trials and development of commercial applications. The end goal is to get this potentially life-saving treatment approach to patients as soon as possible.

The mission of Weill Cornell Medicine's Office of Biopharma Alliances and Research Collaborations is to proactively generate, structure and market translational research alliances with industry in order to advance promising research projects that have commercial potential.