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The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Announces Four New Drug Development Partnerships

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Thursday, June 09, 2011

With more than 320 academic science research grants currently in its portfolio, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has made it a priority to help move promising discoveries more quickly from the laboratory to clinical trial and to patients with cancer.

Bridging the drug development gap faced by our academic researchers by establishing business alliances with leading experts in contract research organizations (CROs) is the foundation of LLS' Academic Concierge Program, an important part of LLS's innovative Therapy Acceleration Program (TAP). The CROs provide LLS-funded researchers with essential preclinical support, facilitate interactions with the FDA for investigational new drug (IND) applications, and provide clinical trial support.

The LLS announces four new Academic Concierge partnerships:

Ari Melnick, M.D., located at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, will receive expert CRO support through preclinical development including the application for an IND for a novel peptide inhibitor of the B-cell lymphoma 6 (BCL6) protein aimed at treating patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. LLS support will enable Dr. Melnick to begin a Phase I clinical trial conditionally approved for support through the National Institutes of Health.

Christopher Cogle, M.D., located at The University of Florida, and his colleagues will lead a Phase I clinical trial for a targeted drug developed by the biotechnology company OXiGENE. This trial will enroll patients with relapsed and refractory acute myelogenous leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes. LLS will provide funding for the trial, while OXiGENE will supply drug product and provide clinical monitoring support.

Mark Frattini, M.D., Ph.D., located at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and his team, will receive expert CRO preclinical and Phase I clinical trial support to test a novel kinase inhibitor in patients with acute leukemia. This novel drug inhibits the activity of the CDC7 protein, a key regulator of DNA replication. Dr. Frattini will therefore be able to bridge the gap required to move this discovery from his laboratory to the clinic.

James DeGregori, Ph.D., located at The University of Colorado, and his colleagues will receive funding to support a Phase I clinical trial, conducted by Christopher Porter, M.D., in which a drug that has been used for indications outside of oncology, cyclosporin A, will be added in combination with dasatinib to treat a rare form of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) in which patients become resistant to therapy.

"Many exciting discoveries have emerged from academic laboratories supported with LLS funding," said Richard Winneker, Ph.D., Senior Vice President for Research. "Now, through our Academic Concierge program, LLS funding can go even further to bring new, much needed therapies to blood cancer patients faster."

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 or contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

Source: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)
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