White Plains, NY – December 3, 2015 – The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) further solidifies its leadership role in finding cures and ensuring access to treatments for patients with blood cancers, with the announcement of significant research advances and patient support programs:
- More than 100 LLS-funded researchers will share their findings at the 57th American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting in Orlando this week, attended by more than 20,000 of the world’s leading blood cancer experts.
- LLS and Pfizer this week announce a major $3 million collaboration to support education programs for blood cancer patients and their caregivers, and to support blood cancer research projects.
- Also this week, LLS and Rising Tide Foundation for Clinical Cancer Research, a Swiss-based nonprofit dedicated to patient-centered cancer research, announced an inaugural collaboration for an international competitive research grant to accelerate breakthrough immunotherapies for blood cancers.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Research Highlights at ASH
“With more than 1.1 million Americans living with or in remission from a blood cancer, and someone diagnosed with a blood cancer every three minutes, we are at a pivotal moment in our quest to change the cancer landscape, ” stated Louis J. DeGennaro, LLS’s president and CEO. “The annual ASH meeting provides the most significant platform for LLS to share its work to advance cures and treatments. LLS has invested more than $1 billion in our 66-year history and we are seeing the impact of the fruits of our labor.”
The LLS-funded research at ASH spans the blood cancer arena from leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma, and showcases the most novel, cutting-edge new science on the verge of becoming breakthrough therapies, including immunotherapies, targeted therapies and increasingly personalized approaches to treatment.
LLS Satellite Symposium
To kick off the ASH meeting proceedings, LLS will host a Satellite Symposium: “Molecularly Targeted Therapies for Hematologic Malignancies.” LLS will host the program on Friday, Dec. 4, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. The program features renowned experts focused on different aspects of targeted therapies.
LLS Experts Available for Comment
LLS experts will be available throughout the ASH meeting to comment on the implications of these and other new research findings for the treatment of patients with blood cancers. To arrange interviews in advance or during the conference please contact Andrea Greif (914) 772-3027 (Cell).
Pfizer Sponsorship of LLS Education and Research
Pfizer’s $3 million sponsorship aims to elevate the science of therapeutic innovation for hematological malignancies to a new level and increase the cancer community’s understanding of this formidable and complex set of diseases. This important partnership will explore a broad range of therapies that leverage select pathways and mechanisms of action to address acute and chronic leukemias, myeloproliferative disorders, myeloma and lymphoma. It will also support patient and caregiver education programs. Already, Pfizer has contributed to new therapies for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and is poised to advance new therapies for acute leukemias.
“We are confident that this partnership with LLS, an organization with a longstanding history of supporting cutting-edge research for blood cancer, will bring us closer to our common goal of combating these diseases and finding cures,” said Liz Barrett, global president and general manager, Pfizer Oncology. “Pfizer is honored to be a part of such an important initiative and is committed to funding research that improves lives for patients with blood cancers.”
Rising Tide Foundation for Clinical Cancer Research Joins Forces with LLS to Accelerate Immunotherapy Research
LLS and Rising Tide Foundation for Clinical Cancer Research are partnering together for the first time to launch an international $1.8 million competitive grant to advance breakthrough immunotherapies for blood cancers. The grant is focused on four critical topics related to developing novel immunotherapies and testing them in clinical trials. The two organizations officially inaugurated the call for proposals today and are seeking interested researchers to submit their Letter of Intent applications by January 25, 2016. Only the most promising research projects with the highest potential for patient impact will be invited to submit a full grant application to be received by March 15, 2016. Winners will be announced by June 30, 2016; 3 grants will be awarded up to $600,000 each.
“The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society funds research across the continuum, from basic laboratory research to clinical trials; often we act as the convener of collaborations with industry, government, academia and medical centers, to help accelerate therapies through the development pipeline,” stated DeGennaro. “The advances showcased this week at ASH, and our latest partnerships with influential organizations in the cancer space are further testament to the impact we are having in helping patients live better, longer lives.”
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)-funded ASH Highlights
More than 120 LLS-funded researchers will be among the thousands of presenters at the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting in Orlando, December 5-9, 2015. Following are a few examples of research they will present:
- Members of Beat AML -- a collaboration between LLS, Oregon Health & Sciences University, and other partners to improve outcomes for patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) -- will present more than a dozen abstracts throughout the meeting highlighting findings from the initiative.
- Roland B. Walter, M.D., Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, is presenting results of early phase testing of a therapy that joins an antibody with a toxin to deliver the cancer- killing agent directly to the malignant AML cells.
- Celator Pharmaceuticals, a partner in LLS’s Therapy Acceleration Program (TAP), will present preliminary data for CPX-351, a novel formulation of the standard two drugs for treating AML. Phase III data on overall response rates from the trial are anticipated some time during the first quarter of 2016.
- Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell immunotherapy and checkpoint inhibitors are among the novel approaches researchers are testing to harness the body’s immune system to fight cancer. LLS-funded researchers from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania will discuss durable remissions of children treated with CAR-T for relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Pembrolizimab, the checkpoint inhibitor that blocks the PD1 protein, is being tested for Hodgkin lymphoma and results from those trials are on the schedule.
CLL - Ibrutinib and Venetoclax
- Since receiving breakthrough designation and accelerated FDA approval for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), mantle cell lymphoma, and Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia, researchers continue to test ibrutinib in different combinations, to establish the most efficacious treatment. The investigational therapy, venetoclax, is also showing promise for CLL, and more data from these studies will be part of the ASH program this week.
HCL - Vemurafemib
- Studies have shown this drug to be highly effective in treating patients with hairy cell leukemia (HCL). LLS-funded Jae Park, M.D., of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, will present updated data on this drug for HCL patients.
- Three new therapies to treat patients with multiple myeloma were FDA approved in just the past two weeks and two others were approved earlier this year. The stunning pace of new therapies for myeloma is creating buzz ahead of this week’s meeting. LLS-supported work in myeloma on the agenda includes LLS’s TAP partner OncoPep’s investigational vaccine for patients with smoldering multiple myeloma. TAP partner Acetylon is also developing a therapy for myeloma, ACY1215. Data from a Phase 1/2 clinical trial will be presented at ASH.
About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care.
Founded in 1949 and headquartered in White Plains, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit LLS.org. Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.
(914) 821-8958 (o)