US-based pharmaceutical firm Second Genome has entered four separate partnerships to support its research and development (R&D) programme exploring the effect of gut microbiota on cancer immunotherapies.

The collaborators include Stanford Cancer Institute, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, John Theurer Cancer Center and Germany’s Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg.

Through its R&D programme, the firm aims to study numerous patients before and after receiving different treatments under multiple cancer settings to investigate the impact of gut microbiome on individual response to oncology drugs such as immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Findings from these studies are expected to aid the firm’s drug discovery programme designed to detect molecules from immune-active microbes in immuno-oncology.

Second Genome president and CEO Glenn Nedwin said: “As we advance our pipeline into and through clinical studies in multiple fields, we continue to explore disease areas such as immuno-oncology and autism spectrum disorders in which our platform can bring new therapeutic modalities.

“These discoveries have the potential to fuel our pipeline and create meaningful impact for various patient communities.”

“These discoveries have the potential to fuel our pipeline and create meaningful impact for various patient communities.”

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The firm has already recruited subjects for two studies in collaboration with John Theurer Cancer Center to assess the gut microbiome effect on response and progression of multiple myeloma, lymphoma and leukaemia in those treated with checkpoint inhibitors after stem cell transplantation.

With Stanford Cancer Institute, Ruprecht-Karls University and Roswell Park Cancer Comprehensive Cancer Center, the firm will study early and late-stage melanoma patients who are eligible to be treated with checkpoint inhibitors.

Separate studies with Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and John Theurer Cancer Center will involve microbiome profile of patients with triple negative cancer receiving standard of care treatment.

These will identify human microbiota associated with therapeutic response in breast cancer neoadjuvant settings.