Science Market Update

Berkeley Researchers Team Up for $7.5M Immunotherapy Initiative

Posted by Laura Braden on Thu, Apr 21, 2016

Immunotherapy and cancer and infectious disease research.

The University of California, Berkeley is a leading research institution, producing promising research in all divsions of the life sciences. To help further research in immunotherapy and cancer, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley have recently teamed up with the Berkeley-based biotech company, Aduro Biotech Inc., for a $7.5 million immunotherapy initiative. This Immunotherapeutics and Vaccine Research Initiative (IVRI) will provide three years of funding to infectious disease researchers studying new techniques for combating both infections and cancer.  

Aduro Biotech Inc. works to discover, develop and commercialize transformative therapies to treat challenging diseases. Aduro already uses some technology created at UC Berkeley that they have since further refined. With part of the funding that Adura is providing, UC Berkeley researchers participating in the IVRI will have access to technology at Aduro such as LADD and STING Pathway Activators, which have the ability to harness the natural immune system. 

Aduro Biotech chairman and CEO Stephen T. Isaacs explained, “Through this unique collaboration, there is tremendous opportunity to improve our understanding of the immune system’s potential to serve as an important weapon in treating cancer and infectious disease. By combining UC Berkeley’s leading research and academic resources with innovative technology platforms, such as those developed by Aduro, we are confident that this initiative will lead to an improved understanding of, and potential treatments for, some of the most devastating diseases."

UC Berkeley researchers have been making breakthroughs in immunotherapy studies for many years. Notable contributions to this research include:

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  • As a professor at UC Berkeley from 1985 to 2004, James Allison found a way to use the immune system to fight melanoma by using antibodies to block the immune suppressor CTLA4, which has led to the discovery of other immune suppressing antibodies that work as cancer treatments.  
  • Head of the UC Berkeley Cancer Research Laboratory, Russell Vance, discovered that the chemical structure of cyclic di-nucleotides (CDN) plays a significant role in their ability to work in humans, and Aduro found that injecting CDN into mice tumors caused them to shrink.    
  • Sarah Stanely, who is associated with the IVRI and an assistant professor of public health at UC Berkeley, has discovered that CDNc are able to improve some of the vaccines currently available for fighting tuberculosis. 

David Raulet, director of the IVRI and a UC Berkeley molecular and cell biology professor explained, "We’re increasingly finding that immune stimulants associated with disease-causing microbes work as cancer therapies, and conversely, that immunotherapies for cancer may have application in fighting infectious disease. Bringing infectious disease and cancer researchers together in a synergistic research effort at UC Berkeley and Aduro Biotech is an exciting and unique idea, and could be where the next generation of therapies will come from.”

The $7.5 million Aduro Biotech Inc. funding will currently cover research for the next three years, but has the potential to be renewed for an additional three years.   

University of California, Berkeley.

The University of California, Berkeley is a highly funded public research center that is constantly making great progress in the fields of life science and medicine. Each year, millions of dollars are awarded from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), and other public and private institutions to help fund research at this leading California institution. In the 2015 fiscal year, UC Berkeley received $122,383,589 in funding from the NIH. Departments at the university receiving substantial amounts of this funding include: 

  • Biochemistry - $38.2 million
  • Public Health and Preventative Medicine - $14.5 million
  • Chemistry - $6.3 million
  • Neurosciences - $6.08 million
  • Internal Medicine/Medicine - $5.3 million

Because these amply funded science professionals are constantly hunting for new research tools, Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. will be holding a life science trade fair at the Berkeley campus this June.

The 19th Annual BioResearch Product Faire™ Event at the University of California, Berkeley, an event that more than 100 life science researchers are expected to attend, will be held on June 8, 2016. 

Biotechnology Calendar has been producing highly reputable life science trade shows at more than 50 research universities across the U.S. for over twenty years. These shows bring top lab supply companies together with hundreds of researchers to help them find the best new products. To learn more about participating at this upcoming Berkeley event, visit the link below: 

Exhibit at UC Berkeley

 

Researchers in Berkeley can visit the link below to learn more about attending this free event, and save time at the door by registering online:

Researchers: Attend Berkeley Event

 

Tags: CA, University of California Berkeley, immunotherapy, cancer research, vaccine research, Southwest, researchers, UC Berkeley, new funding, UCBerk, 2016, BioResearch Product Faire, Aduro Biotech

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