A Reason to Give Thanks this Holiday Season
- December 7, 2017
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Uncategorized
Decades of funding and research may finally be paying off for critically ill lymphoma patients and young leukemia patients now that gene therapy has been approved in the United States. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) has played an integral role in these life saving accomplishments.
What’s referred to as CAR T-cell immunotherapy was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for two pharmaceutical companies. The personalized cell therapy supercharges the immune system to find and kill cancer cells. It’s being heralded as a new era in cancer treatment.
Kymriah is a gene therapy developed by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis. It’s available to patients up to 25-years-old with the most common type of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) who are not responding to treatment or have suffered a relapse.
LLS backed the medical experts who pioneered Kymriah for decades. Through multiple grants, LLS awarded more than $20 million to the research team at the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
LLS President and CEO Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D. has expressed pride in the organization’s foresight. “We first began to see remarkable outcomes for some of these patients in 2010 leading us to increase our funding of CAR T therapy by supporting more than 10 major laboratories developing this method.”
Yescarta is another CAR T therapy approved this year and treats several types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), among patients who have not responded to previous treatments. It was developed by Kite, a Gilead Company and LLS supported the clinical trial leading to Yescarta’s approval. In that clinical trial, 51 percent of patients had a complete response with no detectable cancer remaining.
Our firm’s association with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Palm Beach Area Chapter has allowed us to see first-hand the commitment of healthcare professionals battling blood cancers and community volunteers assisting families in turmoil. The organization offers support groups for patients and their loved ones and education programs that explore treatment options and coping skills.
Of course, the overriding mission of LLS is to raise money for research with the goal of advancing treatments and saving lives. In recognizing the promise of CAR T therapy drugs and investing millions in research and development, LLS has carried through to its goal. We are thankful for their perseverance.