Like many clinical trials across the U.S. and the globe, The Leukemia & Lymphoma’s Beat AML Master Trial has been dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and has had to make adjustments to continue to provide critical treatment to patients who were previously enrolled.
A Groundbreaking Trial
LLS has been leading this first-of-its kind collaboration since 2016 to simultaneously test multiple treatments for patients with acute myeloid leukemia. The Beat AML Master Trial was launched to address the 40-year practice of treating all patients with the same combination of chemotherapies which simply doesn’t work for many, especially older patients for whom the drugs are highly toxic.
AML is a fast-moving disease with multiple subtypes that needs to be treated quickly once diagnosed; using advanced technology we’ve shown we can rapidly analyze an AML patient’s genetics to identify the mutation driving their subtype of cancer. In Beat AML we’ve shown we can turn around the genetic analysis within an unprecedented seven days and safely make a treatment decision about the right therapy for the right patient.
To date, we’ve screened more than 900 patients, with many of them going on to receive a targeted treatment at one of the 16 cancer centers around the country hosting the trial.
Data shows that patients who were part of the Beat AML study had a lower early mortality compared to patients who elected standard of care, and superior overall survival. In one sub-study, patients’ median survival was 12.8 months vs. 3.9 months for patients with standard of care
Beat AML has set stage for how clinical trials using a precision medicine approach can be done in blood cancers in the future. The trial is changing the paradigm for how AML is treated using a precision medicine approach.
The trial was going strong until the COVID-19 crisis struck in early spring. We have been forced to halt enrolling new patients for now but hope to begin again soon, once labs begin to reopen. However, we’ve been able to continue providing treatment to patients already enrolled in the trial. And thanks to innovative technology platforms we’re using to manage the trial, we’ve been able to keep many of the functions of the trial moving, such as data sharing and monitoring of patients, despite the COVID-19 disruption.
A patient’s experience
Elleta Kennison of Newport, OR, one of the patients enrolled in the trial recently shared her experience of being in the trial, and what it was like to have to adjust due to the upheaval caused by the coronavirus in this powerful video.*
To learn more about LLS’s Beat AML Clinical Master Trial, check out this Q&A with Amy Burd, Ph.D., LLS VP or research strategy.
Dr. Burd also presented findings from the trial at the 2019 Annual American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting. Check out this interview with her from the meeting here.
* The patient experience depicted in this video does not predict what other AML patients treated in the Beat AML trial other other settings will experience.