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AstraZeneca Collaborates with U. of Cambridge, Cancer Research UK on Cancer Projects

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – AstraZeneca announced today announced a two-year collaboration with the University of Cambridge and Cancer Research UK on three preclinical and clinical oncology projects, including one focused on gaining a better understanding of the genetic makeup of a patient's cancer through their tumor DNA.

Overall, the collaboration aims to move cancer research forward by studying tumor mutations and new investigational therapies in prostate, pancreatic, and possibly other cancers.

In one project AstraZeneca will work with Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute and the University of Cambridge Department of Oncology to evaluate a new technology for monitoring tumor activity, including its progression, response to therapy, and the onset of drug resistance, AstraZeneca said. The technology uses blood sample and does not require biopsies.

The goal of the project is to use the tumor DNA present in a patient's blood to elucidate the genetic makeup of the cancer, and then choose the right therapy.

Another project is aimed at assessing the potential effectiveness of AstraZeneca's investigational therapies olaparib and AZD2014 for prostate cancer. The third project will evaluate new therapeutic approaches for pancreatic cancer patient with a focus on identifying the best drug combination for AstraZeneca's investigational compound selumetinib in preclinical models.

The collaborations follow AstraZeneca's announcement that it plans to create a new UK-based global R&D center and corporate headquarters at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

"All three of the collaborations we are announcing today advance our work in the area of personalized healthcare, helping us to understand and address the underlying mechanisms of disease so that we can find the right medicines for the right patients," Susan Galbraith, head of AstraZeneca's Oncology Innovative Medicines Unit, said in a statement.

Separately, Blackfield today said it is collaborating with AstraZeneca to support an oncology development program.