IN THE JUNE 2008 ISSUE OF "HEMATOLOGIC CANCER NEWS" PUBLISHED BY THE LEUKEMIA & LYMPHOMA SOCIETY I FIND PROMISING NEWS FOR THE TYPE OF LYMPHOMA THAT MY HUSBAND HAS. WE ARE PRAYING THAT THE STEM CELL TRANSPLANT WILL CURE CHARLIE'S MANTLE CELL LYMPHOMA OR PUT IT IN A LONG TERM REMISSION, BUT IF THE LYMPHOMA COMES BACK THERE IS ANOTHER ALTERNATIVE THAT COULD BE USED. THAT IS ENCOURAGING TO ME. THE FOLLOWING IS THE ARTICLE THAT APPEARED IN THE MAGAZINE.
Promising News from ASCO
From targeted therapies to tailored medicine, the recent American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting featured the latest in potentially lifesaving blood cancer therapies.
The Chicago conference drew thousands of the world's top oncologists and researchers, and they weren't disappointed. The science of cancer is evolving quickly - with LLS-funded researchers in the lead, said Barton Kamen, M.D., Ph.D., LLS chief medical officer.
"The scientists are giving us tsunamis of data," Dr. Kamen said. "Our job now is to find and interpret the most useful information. Clearly the thrust of the ASCO presentations was how we can best tailor therapies to the individual patient."
Meeting highlights included:
A Phase I clinical trial of the drug ABT-263, which accelerates cell death, was particularly promising among patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and small lymphocytic lymphoma. Researchers included Owen O'Connor, M.D., Ph.D., of Columbia University, and John Leonard, M.D., of Weill Medical College of Cornell University, both recipients of LLS funding.
In clinical trials, the drug dasatinib (Sprycel®) was shown to produce complete cytogenetic remissions in 53 percent of patients with chronic phase chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and 46 percent in lymphoid blast phase.
New strategies to destroy the stem cells that cause CML and other leukemias.
Positive reports on a class of drugs that target a molecule called mTOR, which seems to be involved in many cancers, including blood cancers. One of these drugs, temsirolimus, appears effective against mantle cell lymphoma and other forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).
LLS-funded John Timmerman, M.D., of UCLA School of Medicine, John Byrd, M.D., of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, and John Pagel, M.D., Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, led a trial that evaluated a new lymphoma treatment that combined Rituxan® with an IL-21 molecule that activates immune cells, enhancing Rituxan's anti-lymphoma activity. Side effects were few and a third of the patients showed signs of improvement.
A study showed that a drug cocktail of lenalidomide (Revlimid®) and low-dose dexamethasone was superior in increasing overall survival than lenalidomide and high (standard) dose dexamethasone. Using less dexamethasone also cuts down on side effects.