[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 6-Jun-2013
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Contact: Teresa Herbert
teresa_herbert@dfci.harvard.edu
617-632-4090
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Dana-Farber to bring clinical trials to local communities

Partnership seeks to accelerate development of innovative therapies

IMAGE: This is Robert Soiffer, M.D.

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The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) today joined the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston to establish a network of sites for clinical trial testing of innovative blood cancer therapies in community oncology settings across the country.

This groundbreaking Blood Cancer Research Partnership (BCRP) will bring clinical trials closer to where patients live and help to address one of the primary bottlenecks in the development of new cancer therapies: the need for more patients to take part in trials.

"Having to travel long distances from home to a major medical center is a major deterrent to patients' participation in cancer clinical trials," said LLS Chief Mission Officer Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D. "Most cancer patients are treated by oncologists in their local community. This partnership will bring trials closer to where patients live. We are optimistic that this program will increase trial enrollment, more rapidly advance innovative blood cancer therapies and save lives."

Eleven potential sites have been identified for the trials in New York, Georgia, Colorado, Illinois, California, Florida, Texas, Kansas, Tennessee, New Jersey, and Washington State.

LLS is investing $1,050,000 in the three-year project. LLS will have two seats on the steering committee formed to determine which trials will be conducted by the network. The agreement requires that certain milestones be met, including the number of trials initiated and number of patients accrued for each trial. The trials will be either Phase I or II, with patient accrual taking place over an 18-month period.

Dana-Farber is the lead institute for the BCRP and each of the community sites will follow the clinical trial protocols established by one centralized agreement.

"This novel partnership between Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and LLS supports the mission of both organizations to bring cutting-edge clinical research to a wider spectrum of patients with blood cancers today in order to change the paradigms of clinical care for patients tomorrow," said Blood Cancer Research Program Co-Director Robert Soiffer, M.D., who is the chief of the Division of Hematologic Malignancies at Dana-Farber. "The BCRP consortium will provide the opportunity for the Division of Hematologic Malignancies to extend clinical research trials to patients who are outside our regional area and do not have the capacity to come to Dana-Farber."

IMAGE: This is Irene Ghobrial, M.D.

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A number of different clinical trial proposals are currently under consideration including several for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, myeloma and stem cell transplant.

"I believe this partnership provides a unique opportunity to deliver innovative clinical trials to patients closer to home," says Blood Cancer Research Program Co-Director Irene Ghobrial, M.D., who is a medical oncologist in the Division of Hematologic Malignancies at Dana-Farber. "It also creates a new pathway of collaboration between community oncologists, academic centers and foundations to improve cancer therapy for patients throughout the United States."

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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 and provides free information and support services.

Founded in 1949 and headquartered in White Plains, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit http://www.LLS.org. Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

About Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (http://www.dana-farber.org) is a principal teaching affiliate of the Harvard Medical School and is among the leading cancer research and care centers in the United States. It is a founding member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, designated a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute. It provides adult cancer care with Brigham and Women's Hospital as Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center and it provides pediatric care with Boston Children's Hospital as Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Dana-Farber is the top ranked cancer center in New England, according to U.S. News & World Report, and one of the largest recipients among independent hospitals of National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health grant funding. Follow Dana-Farber on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/danafarbercancerinstitute and on Twitter: @danafarber.



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