Dear Friend of LLS:
Because blood cancers are considered 'orphan diseases' with small markets and lower profit potential, there is little financial incentive for pharmaceutical companies to invest in new treatments, particularly at the preclinical or early clinical phase. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) (http://www.lls.org/), through its Therapy Acceleration Program (http://www.lls.org/#/researchershealthcareprofessionals/drugdevelopment/therapyacceleration/), provides vital support to advance investigations that show great promise for near-item benefit to blood cancer patients even if there is limited commercial value.
A prime example of how LLS bridges the commercial development gap is a partnership begun last year with Ascenta Therapeutics. The firm was developing a drug that neutralized the proteins that make cancer cells resistant to treatment in patients with cases of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) (http://www.lls.org/#/diseaseinformation/leukemia/acutemyeloidleukemia/)that are unlikely to be controlled by standard therapies.
LLS provided funding to test this drug in combination with standard AML therapy in a Phase I trial in adults. Further, LLS is helping to develop prognostic tests to determine which patients might respond best to the treatment. As a result of this early-phase funding by LLS, the drug is now positioned to advance to later phase clinical trials and Ascenta has successfully partnered with a Swiss Pharmaceutical company, Debiopharm, which has the financial capacity to commercialize this new treatment.
Without LLS investment at a crucial early stage, this drug might never have made it into clinial trial. Now, it's several steps closer to being developed into a commercial product that may bring real relief to AML patients. LLS is committed to moving potential treatments through the drug development pipeline.
Wishing you the best of health,
John E. Walter
President & CEO, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society