Tuesday, March 4, 2014

2013 Annual Report: Research Milestones

The 2013 Annual Report for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has been released.  In this series of blogs, a number of key advancements and developments will be highlighted.  This report is an in-depth look at how your fundraising dollars are being spent and the medical breakthroughs and partnerships you are so crucial in creating.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is passionate about finding a cure for blood cancers because they are not preventable.  A cure really is the only option.  LLS' investment in research ($70 million in the last year alone) is indicative of its dedication and below are thrilled to introduce you to some of its research milestones from the last year.

Celator.  The LLS Therapy Acceleration Program passed an important milestone in January 2013 when Celator announced enrollment of the first patient in the phase 3 clinical trial of a novel drug formulation, CPX-351, for older patients with especially high-risk cases of acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

CPS-351 employs a novel technology to ensure that the most effective ratio of two standard drugs gets directly to the leukemia cells, and that leukemia cells are preferentially killed.  This is an example of a promising therapy that might otherwise not be developed because it benefits a small patient population.  LLS hopes that the phase 3 trial will ultimately support approval of a much-needed treatment option for AML patients, for whom there have been few advances over the past three decades.

Curis, Inc., a drug development company seeking to develop next-generation targeted anti-cancer drugs, announced that the first patient has been treated in a phase 1 clinical study of a new drug, CUDC-907, for patients with relapsed or refractory lymphoma or multiple myeloma.

CUDC-907 is a first-in-class oral drug designed as a dual inhibitor of two enzyme classes that are both abnormally active in many cancers, known as phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) and histone deacetylase (HDAC).

Constellation Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is focused on the emerging area of "epigenetics," i.e. non-mutation changes to genes and gene-binding proteins that, like gene mutations, can promote cancers.  The company announced that it has initiated phase 1 clinical trial of CPI-0610, a novel inhibitor of the :BET" family of gene-binding proteins, in patients with previously treated and progressive lymphomas.

This first-in-human trial is currently open at The Sarah Cannon Research Institute in Nashville, TN and at the John Theurer Cancer Center in Hackensack, NJ.  Additional US study sites will join the trial over the next several months.  Studies of CPI-0610 are also planned in patients with multiple myeloma and in patients with acute leukemias or myelodysplastic syndromes.

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