A potential new therapeutic approach for blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (BPDCN), a very rare form of blood cancer with no standard treatment, continues to show promise as it moves through early clinical trials.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has a long history of supporting the development of SL-401, a targeted therapy that has shown significant anti-tumor effects. The current trials by Stemline Therapeutics are being sponsored in part by over $3 million in LLS funding through the Therapy Acceleration Program (TAP). TAP is a strategic initiative to partner with biotechnology companies and speed the development of new therapies.
BPDCN is a rare aggressive disease of the bone marrow and blood cells that has few effective treatment options. The disease is frequently misdiagnosed and under-reported and its overall incidence is extremely low, accounting for 0.44% of all hematologic malignancies.
Because there is no widely accepted protocol for BPDCN, patients are often treated as leukemia or lymphoma patients. Those who relapse after chemotherapy have a particularly poor prognosis. LLS considers its support critical to the development of this therapy.
Survivorship Series: Fifteen years after being diagnosed, Laura reflects on getting back to "normal."
I am glad to be here. Literally.
Being a survivor is a good thing. I could have been six feet under, after being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) on December 16, 2000. I was 40 years old, raising two children with my husband Ron. Our daughter was almost 4 years old and our son was 16 months.
After I was diagnosed, I spoke with a survivor through The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s First Connection program. Hearing her voice on the phone gave me so much hope. She was seven years post-diagnosis. I told her, “I can’t wait to be on your side of the fence.” About two years later, I was, having gone through training to be a First Connection volunteer. It makes me feel good to help others. When I was in the hospital, my mother said to me, “Who knows? Maybe you will be a spokesperson for the cause someday.” I responded by telling her no way, I just wanted to get back to my life - I did not want to be a member of this club.
In Jon Christoffersen’s house, important occasions - such as the end of chemotherapy - are worthy of great celebration. First it was a tattoo to mark the beginning and end of his treatment, and now, on his 10-year anniversary of being cancer free, it’s time to party.
A house party complete with toast in his honor and a “%&#%$# Cancer” cake marked the occasion in December for Christoffersen, who had acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) when he was a teenager. He's now 29. Although he never needed a bone marrow transplant, he and his wife, Kelly, were aware of how important that option is for many survivors and included a representative from Be The Match. They told their guests how easy it was to be a marrow donor and the only people who didn’t sign up were those who were too old, had an extreme needle issue or a pre-existing blood condition.
While Christoffersen appreciated the party, he noted that it doesn't take much for him to remember his cancer experience as he had his first and last dates of chemo tattooed on his left forearm.