Burlington Stores and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) 14th consecutive year of partnership in the fight against blood cancers was a huge success. As LLS’s #1 national corporate partner and honored friend, Burlington, the national off-price retailer, beat its $3 million goal for its annual Light The Night Walk campaign by a long shot, raising an astonishing $3.35 million. This marks one of the retailer’s most successful and longest running philanthropic campaigns.
Funds were raised through a national 12-week in-store promotion, where customers were encouraged to donate to the cause at check-out. All donations are used to invest in life saving research and breakthrough treatments for blood cancer patients.
This year’s campaign launched in September, Blood Cancer Awareness Month and concluded last week. Donations were especially high during the fall and holiday shopping season, when millions of customers could donate to the cause at check out. Burlington Stores and LLS believe in the power of teamwork, and have proven that each and every donation helps in the fight against blood cancer.
Yesterday we learned the exciting news that the FDA has granted Breakthrough Therapy designation for an investigational immunotherapy LLS is supporting through our Therapy Acceleration Program (TAP).
The therapy, KTE-C19, being developed by Kite Pharma, is another example of a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR), an approach that genetically engineers patients’ immune T cells and reintroduces them into the body to kill cancer cells. KTE-C19 is crafted by removing patients' T cells and genetically engineering them to home in on the protein CD19, expressed by a variety of blood cancers. The FDA conferred its breakthrough designation to KTE-C19's Phase II non-Hodgkin lymphoma program, which LLS is supporting.
The breakthrough designation expedites the review of therapies for life-threatening conditions.
Kite has presented data from earlier phase clinical trials this week during the American Society of Hematology (#ASH15) Annual Meeting in Orlando that shows some encouraging preliminary findings.
John Byrd, M.D., of the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, is one of the world’s renowned scientists in the field of blood cancer. LLS has been supporting his work for the better part of two decades. While Byrd has, of late, turned his attention to the problem of finding better therapies for patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), it is in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) that he has made his mark.
Byrd defined the mechanism of action in rituximab, the antibody that targets the CD20 protein expressed on the surface of B-cells. Rituximab was the first therapy to extend lives of patients with CLL. Further, Byrd led the Phase 3 clinical trial that led to the FDA approval in 2014 of ibrutinib, a therapy that targets the BTK protein found on the surface of B-cells. Ibrutinib has changed the standard of care for patients with CLL. Byrd currently leads an LLS Specialized Center of Research (SCOR) grant, a major collaborative effort bringing together an interdisciplinary team of investigators to undertake groundbreaking research.