Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have entered into a strategic clinical research collaboration to evaluate Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, Keytruda (pembrolizumab), in combination with other treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and/or novel antitumor medicines.
Collaborative studies will be conducted in gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma, pancreatic adenocarcinoma and hepatocellular carcinoma over the three-year period of the collaboration. The first studies are scheduled to start enrolling later this year.
The agreement aims to define what combination modalities will work best with Keytruda in these types of tumors by exploring new alternatives. The studies will be conducted in parallel in order to determine optimal regimens.
MD Anderson is an academic research institution that was a key contributor to early investigations exploring the use of Keytruda in the treatment of multiple tumor types. Past research collaborations with Merck and MD Anderson helped achieve FDA approval of Keytruda as a treatment for unresectable or metastatic melanoma.