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UChicago Advances Cancer Research Through Partnership with AbbVie

Attendees network during the 2018 UChicago-AbbVie Oncology Symposium held in the Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery on Friday, July 20, 2018. Photo by Eddie Quinones.

On campus and beyond, the University of Chicago community is constantly striving to innovate and drive discovery through research and development. In the field of oncology, there is no exception. To advance its cancer research and search for a cure, UChicago partnered with biopharmaceutical powerhouse AbbVie.

Chicago-based AbbVie is a leading biopharma company with 29,000 employees around the world who research treatments for a wide variety of diseases.

Over the course of five years, UChicago and AbbVie’s joint steering committee is aiming to select a series of projects in particular areas of oncology, such as breast, prostate, or lung cancer, to research during the span of the partnership. Throughout this partnership, UChicago doctors and researchers have access to AbbVie compounds, researchers, funding, and other scientific resources. And the partnership has already resulted in various valuable educational and programmatic engagements between AbbVie and UChicago researchers and students.

Launched in 2016, the UChicago and AbbVie partnership is currently in its third year of operation and the number of ongoing joint research projects and scope of various engagement efforts is continuously growing. To date, UChicago and AbbVie have initiated seven joint research projects spanning new technology platforms and approaches to predict, detect, and overcome therapy resistance; new immuno-therapeutic approaches and platforms; innovative combination therapies; new cancer stem cell-targeting approaches, and more.

“The partnership with AbbVie has been a very natural fit,” Polsky’s director of industry relations and strategic alliances Alan Koncarevic remarked. “Considering the complimentary expertise and resources, history of productive one-off relationships, common interest in promoting the local research ecosystem and partnerships, and most importantly their shared deep passion for transformational discoveries and care for patient lives, it was very natural that the two organizations would join their efforts.”

Furthermore, to announce milestones and important discoveries resulting from the ongoing projects noted above, UChicago and AbbVie hold annual symposiums during the summer, at which researchers from both organizations come together to discuss their progress and research, as well as to ideate for potential future projects. This past symposium was held in July, and it provided an opportunity for the two institutions to assess progress and discuss the outlook and goals for the ongoing and future joint efforts.

This strategic partnership between UChicago and AbbVie is advancing cancer research and bringing new collaboration models to the forefront in the Midwest. There has been significant positive evolution of partnership models, and growth in overall engagement between academia and industry over the past years. Through this collaboration of research, resources, and knowledge, both parties bring us closer to understanding cancer and to treating these life-altering illnesses.

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