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Cancer remains one of the most formidable health challenges globally. Even though significant strides have been made in its treatment, especially with the advent of immunotherapies, many patients, notably those with rare cancers, are still yearning for effective solutions. Mitsunobu Tanimoto, Executive Vice President at ONO PHARMA USA, echoes this sentiment, underlining the continuous push for advanced treatments.
A Dive into Molecular Landscapes
At the heart of innovative cancer treatments is the deepened understanding of the disease's molecular landscape. Scientists now grasp how specific drugs interact with the intricate mechanisms of cancer, which has considerably enhanced the efficacy and safety of treatments, especially for the more challenging rare lymphomas and solid tumours. ONO PHARMA is at the forefront of these advances. Tanimoto emphasizes the company’s focus on mechanisms of action different from existing drugs, placing them in pioneering territories.
The Immune System: The Battlefield
The body's natural defenses play a crucial role in the war against cancer. Interestingly, while our immune system can fend off the disease, it can also be manipulated by it, potentially promoting cancer growth. Additionally, many cancers have mastered the art of evading or weakening the immune system's attacks. This understanding led ONO to develop the world’s first PD-1 inhibitor, nivolumab. This drug counters cancer's cunning ability to hide by helping the body detect and combat cancer cells. The journey of ONO PHARMA is remarkable. Starting as an apothecary in Osaka, Japan, in 1717, today it stands as a global entity driven to deliver innovative medicines to cancer patients.
Kunihiko Ito, President and CEO of ONO PHARMA USA, speaks of the company's dedication rooted in respect, perseverance, and creative thinking. With collaborations worldwide, their research covers a broad spectrum from molecular biology to AI-driven technologies.
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Revolutionizing Immunotherapy The immune system, with its intricate network of T and B cells, has a set of proteins known as checkpoint inhibitors (like PD-1) that maintain its equilibrium. Some cancers exploit these proteins, preventing T-cell attacks. ONO PHARMA, always on the lookout for novel treatments, explored targeting these checkpoint inhibitors. Their persistence resulted in the creation of nivolumab, a groundbreaking monoclonal antibody that revolutionized cancer treatment by freeing T cells to battle various cancer forms. Expanding the Arsenal ONO is now expanding its horizon, venturing into the domain of bispecific antibodies, which target two molecules simultaneously, enhancing their potential impact. The company's bispecific antibody, ONO-4685, is currently under clinical study for its efficacy against T-cell lymphoma. Apart from this, ONO has set its sights on the protease MALT1 as a promising target to address multiple blood cancers. Their phase I trial on ONO-7018, aimed at combating refractory NHL and CLL, is ongoing and has evoked much anticipation. Furthermore, ONO is directing efforts to make solid tumours more accessible to treatments. A promising route they're studying is EP4, a receptor linked to improved immune cell access to tumours. ONO-4578, an antagonist to this receptor, is being tested for its potential to revolutionize solid tumour treatment. Addressing Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma (PCNSL) PCNSL is a rare and challenging malignancy that affects around 1,500 new patients annually in the U.S. With limited treatment options available, ONO's investigational drug, tirabrutinib, has garnered the FDA's orphan drug designation, offering a glimmer of hope. This drug, which targets the B-cell receptor pathway, is under study in the U.S, with promising outcomes expected. A Vision for the Future ONO PHARMA USA is not just about treating cancer; it's about reshaping the future of cancer care. From innovative immunotherapies and small molecule inhibitors to targeted treatments, ONO PHARMA is committed to pushing the boundaries in oncology. As Ito concludes, their mission is clear: to continue pioneering in cancer immunotherapy and to empower their scientists in their relentless pursuit of groundbreaking solutions. From: https://www.nature.com/articles/d42473-023-00218-1?mvt=i&mvn=7fdeffc6e53e41a5abce23865cc1b23c&mvp=NA-NATUCOM-11239458&mvl=Fn-Homepage%20150%20%5BHome%20Layout%20-%20New%20Design%5D