Cancer Research U.K. has launched a new biotherapeutics funding schemes to give new opportunities to scientists and clinicians to harness the power of biotherapeutic treatments. Applications for the award will be judged on the potential of turning the research findings into new preventative, diagnostic or therapeutic approaches for cancer.
Biotherapeutics research is based on normal biological processes in a cell which we can engineer to help fight cancer. This encompasses everything from protein and gene based treatments to using viruses and antibodies to hunt down and attack the tumor.
Harnessing the body’s immune system through immunotherapies is showing promise in clinical trials, while cancer-seeking antibodies are being developed that can deliver drugs direct to the tumor or interfere with how cancer cells communicate with each other.
Two funding schemes will be available: the Cancer Research U.K. Biotherapeutics Program Awards and the Cancer Research U.K. Biotherapeutic Drug Discovery Project Awards.
The Biotherapeutic Program Awards provide support for up to five years with total funding of $4 million for research aimed at all stages of biotherapeutics drug discovery and development.
Research to identify and validate new drug targets and the discovery and development of new treatments are the focus of the Biotherapeutic Drug Discovery Project Awards. These will offer funding of around $160,400 per year for projects lasting around two years.
To support these awards, Cancer Research U.K. has established an alliance with the pharmaceutical company MedImmune, giving access to their experience in antibody production and library of potential biological therapies.
Dr. Alexa Smith, head of translational funding at Cancer Research U.K., said, “Biotherapeutics already play an important role in the treatment of cancer, but there‘s huge potential to do more for patients. The technologies required to generate these medicines are well established and this scheme is designed to boost the efforts to identify and test new biotherapeutics.”