WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced Thursday it will team up with 11 leading biopharmaceutical companies to accelerate research of cancer immunotherapy, a pioneering therapy involving the use of patients' own immune system to fight cancer.
The five-year public-private research collaboration, known as the Partnership for Accelerating Cancer Therapies, will "identify, develop and validate robust biomarkers -- standardized biological markers of disease and treatment response -- to advance new immunotherapy treatments that harness the immune system to attack cancer," the U.S. leading funder of medical research said in a statement.
The 215-million-U.S.-dollar partnership, billed as "a significant step" forward in the battle against cancer, was part of the Cancer Moonshot, an initiative launched in 2016 by former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden after the death of Biden's son, Beau, from brain cancer.
"We have seen dramatic responses from immunotherapy, often eradicating cancer completely for some cancer patients," NIH Director Francis S. Collins said.
"We need to bring that kind of success -- and hope -- for more people and more types of cancers, and we need to do it quickly. A systematic approach like PACT will help us to achieve success faster."
The partnership will be managed by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH).
The 11 partner organizations will contribute up to one million per year for five years through the FNIH for a totally private sector contribution of 55 million dollars. The NIH will contribute 160 million dollars over the five years of the partnership.
The companies participating include AbbVie, Amgen, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene Corporation, Genentech, Gilead Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen of Johnson & Johnson, Novartis and Pfizer.