At Novartis Oncology, we believe in courageous science that drives understanding of the genetic causes of cancer and ways to make the immune system more responsive in the face of cancer challenges – ultimately leading to better patient outcomes.
We see great potential for the future of cancer research and new treatments on the horizon by targeting cancer pathways, harnessing the power of the immune system, and the benefit of a combination approach. Our work is primarily focused in five key cancer areas where we’ve identified patient needs and promise in our portfolio – breast cancer, lung cancer, melanoma, renal cell carcinoma, and hematology.
Targeted Therapy As a targeted therapy innovator with a broad and deep pipeline, we look to the genetic signatures of cancer to drive our research. This approach is grounded in identifying the pathways most commonly associated with cancer, screening compounds to identify ones with greatest potential to impact these pathways, and targeting patients most likely to benefit from therapy.
Immuno-oncology Greater understanding of the immune system has spurred recent advances in cancer research. Novartis Oncology has made investments in our immuno-oncology (IO) research program, including through collaborations with biotechs on new targets and mechanisms. We have seven investigational IO medicines in clinical trials in 2016 which target different key phases of the immune response cascade. We are also working with other large pharmaceutical companies on combining their currently-marketed IO products with our targeted therapies. And, our investment will continue in this increasingly-important and rapidly-evolving area of treatment.
We have the capability to engage and capitalize on existing expertise in several tumor focus areas where IO agents can be explored through our strategic partnerships and our own extensive portfolio.
Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell Therapy CAR T-cell therapies represent an individualized “immuno-cellular” approach to cancer treatment which is being investigated by the Novartis Cell & Gene Therapies Unit. With CAR technology, T cells are drawn from a patient’s blood and reprogrammed in the laboratory. These T cells are infused back into the patient and become a new part of the patient’s immune system specifically designed to attack cells expressing a target protein, including cancerous cells.
Novartis has an exclusive collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) to research, develop and commercialize targeted CAR T-cell therapies for the treatment of cancers. The collaboration was initiated based on pioneering research conducted by Dr. Carl June and his team at Penn.
Combination Therapy Finding the right combinations for patients living with cancer, knowing that cancer can develop through multiple pathways and/or at multiple points within a pathway is an essential arm to our research approach. Our researchers are investigating the potential benefits of IO therapies combined with other IO therapies, IO therapies combined with targeted therapies, and targeted therapy combinations in areas such as melanoma, breast and lung cancer, among others, with the hope of providing even more effective treatments for patients.
With our current portfolioof targeted therapies, the partnerships in place today and our IO portfolio, Novartis is exploring potential therapies to fight cancer.