LLS CEO and President Louis J. DeGennaro speaks out about coming off a “phenomenal” year and what we can look forward to in 2016. He shares his optimism about a future with no chemotherapy, the use of the word “cure,” the increasing promise of immunotherapy, and the potential of having hundreds of compounds in development.
Six top topics that will be important for blood cancer patients and families:
Precision Medicine. We’re continuing the track toward precision medicine, which means “the right treatment for the right person at the right time.” People may actually be able to forego toxic chemotherapy and instead benefit from targeted drugs prescribed based on one’s individual genetic make-up in the not-too-distant future. This is the goal of LLS’s groundbreaking BEAT AML initiative, which you’ll be hearing more about in coming months.
Cures. At the recent American Society of Hematology meeting, where leading researchers shared their most recent advances, it was very encouraging to hear experts using a four-letter word when it comes to blood cancers -- “cure”! That was a word people shied away from for years but now we are starting to see it as a real possibility for many diseases.
Pediatric hematologist/oncologist Deepa Bhojwani shares her insight on the latest developments in the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
Discovery of high-risk subtypes of ALL
Historically, a subtype of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) known as Philadelphia-chromosome positive ALL had been difficult to treat, but the addition of new drugs like imatinib has resulted in improved cure rates. Recently, by genomic studies, another high-risk subtype of ALL was discovered, called “Philadelphia-chromosome-like ALL” (Ph-like ALL). The frequency of this subtype increases with age, and is more common in adolescents and young adults. Researchers are unravelling several genetic alterations associated with Ph-like ALL, some of which may be targeted by drugs that are already available. The development of widely accessible tests to identify Ph-like ALL is ongoing. By understanding the biology of different types of ALL, treatment can be individualized, which will ultimately lead to improved outcomes.
Survivorship Series: New Jersey musician shares his story and the song he wrote to thank his brother for saving his life
Well, times were dark indeed
Feeling my body betrayed me
Life was good. My wife Bonnie and I were settling into a lifestyle that was becoming less demanding and more fun. Our only son was about to graduate college. My son and I were making music together and playing some local clubs and bars. I was physically active and worked out regularly.
I had recently made changes to my diet due to a history of slightly high cholesterol and was curious to see what effect (if any) it would have. A routine blood test told me that my cholesterol was well within normal range, but my red, white and platelet counts were all low. I was convinced the lab had somehow screwed up the test. I felt fine. After a repeat test, same result. I was referred to a hematologist. When I called they answered something like "Cancer Center." Uh Oh. Not good.