Cancer Is Tough, But The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) Is Tougher

Health

-LLS is leading the way to cancer cures, during Blood Cancer Awareness Month and beyond

 

Contributing to nearly every advance in blood cancer research and treatment in decades, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has invested more than $1.2 billion in cancer research, with groundbreaking results in immunotherapy, genomics and personalized medicine that are improving and saving lives of patients. These revolutionary new treatments are powering LLS’s efforts to attack cancer from every angle.

Blood Cancer Awareness Month – every September – provides the opportunity for LLS, the world’s largest nonprofit dedicated to fighting blood cancer, to educate and engage the public about the blood cancers – leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma – which are the third leading cause of cancer deaths among Americans. LLS is at the forefront of the fight to cure cancer, dedicated to finding cures for the nearly 1.3 million people in the U.S. who are living with, or are in remission from, leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma and other blood cancers.

“Cancer is not a one-size-fits-all disease. We prioritize research based on unmet medical needs, and are ushering in a new era of cancer therapy that centers on giving the right treatment to the right patient at the right time,” said Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., LLS president and CEO. “Further, we are seeing our vision for and approaches to treating the blood cancers now helping patients with other cancers, which is why we are proud to say that beating cancer is in our blood.”

Leukemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma – Latest Treatment Advancements

2017 was one of the most historic years on record for therapy approvals for blood cancers. In all, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved 18 therapies to treat patients with blood cancers, and LLS supported 15 of them. To date, we have seen 10 FDA approvals for blood cancer therapies in 2018, and LLS has supported eight of these at some point in their development.

Leukemia. In 2017, the FDA approved a revolutionary treatment called CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T-cell immunotherapy, a game-changing approach that involves genetically reprogramming a patient’s own immune cells to find and attack cancer cells. LLS supported the research leading to this discovery for more than two decades. The therapy, tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah®), was approved for children and young adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) who have relapsed more than once, marking significant progress for patients up to age 25 who have otherwise run out of treatment options.

After 40 years of little change in standard of care for patients with another deadly blood cancer, acute myeloid leukemia (AML), novel targeted therapies have been emerging at a rapid pace over the past year. Four therapies for AML, all supported with LLS investment, achieved FDA approval in 2017. Researchers are now able to home in on specific genetic drivers of the disease – opening to the door to a more personalized approach to treatment. In 2018 alone, the FDA approved two more new treatments for AML and several more are currently under FDA review.

Lymphoma. In 2017, the FDA approved a second CAR T-cell immunotherapy, axicabtagene ciloleucel (Yescarta®), bringing a new treatment option to adults with several types of relapsed and refractory large B-cell lymphomas. In May 2018, the FDA granted tisagenlecleucel its second approval, also for patients with several types of large B-cell lymphomas.

The FDA also approved another type of immunotherapy for a very rare subset of lymphoma called primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL) in June 2018. This immunotherapy, called pembrolizumab (Keytruda®), is known as a checkpoint inhibitor that works by releasing the brakes on the immune system so it can attack cancer cells. Pembrolizumab and another checkpoint inhibitor, nivolumab (Opdivo®), were also both recently approved for Hodgkin lymphoma patients who have relapsed from standard therapy.

Myeloma. Remarkable advances have been achieved over the past decade in treating myeloma. While a cure has not yet been achieved, survival rates have been dramatically extended with the median five-year survival rate improved from 34.6 percent in 2000 to 52.4 percent in 2015, thanks to a multitude of new therapies over the past decade. With so many new agents to work with, the next phase for physicians who treat patients with multiple myeloma is to optimize dosing and combinations.

CAR-T is now being tested in myeloma, targeting a protein on the surface of the cancer cells called BCMA. The data to date are encouraging, showing that the average median survival was extended for about a year with no significant safety risks. More than 95% of the 22 patients in the small early study responded; 50% had a complete response, meaning no cancer cells could be detected. While it’s not yet clear if cures are being achieved, the results are promising.

“Our long-term investment in research has resulted in significant breakthroughs leading to higher survival rates and lives saved, but at LLS, we do so much more,” DeGennaro shared. “To advance our mission we focus on cures and ensuring that patients have access to lifesaving therapies. We provide free information, education and support services for those who have been impacted by blood cancer. We fight for lifesaving policy changes at the state and federal level to ensure access to quality, affordable, coordinated care. We are committed to working tirelessly toward our mission every single day, until we find a cure.”

Cancer is a tough opponent, but at LLS, we are tougher.

While significant progress has been made, there is more work to be done. More than one-third of blood cancer patients still do not survive five years after their diagnosis. By funding the most innovative research, breakthroughs for patients who urgently need them can be achieved faster.

“Help raise awareness of blood cancer this month. Everyone can make an impact,” said DeGennaro. “Learn more about the LLS mission, volunteer and get involved in a fundraising campaign or donate to LLS directly. Join the fight this September, visit www.LLS.org to learn more. Beating cancer is in our blood.”

Singapore’s first clinical trial approval for T cell engineered (TCR) immunotherapy for treatment of Liver cancer

Health

Lion TCR Pte. Ltd., a Singapore-based Biotech company receives approval from Health Sciences Authority (HSA), Singapore, for its Phase I/II multicentre clinical study of its product candidate (LioCyx™) for treatment of relapsed liver cancer post-liver transplantation. The first such trial in Singapore and for the region that uses precision T cell receptor (TCR) immune cell therapy to target Hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related liver cancer, which forms at least 80% of liver cancers in Asia. 80% of the 800,000 new liver cancer cases in the world yearly are diagnosed in Asia Pacific, including ChinaVietnamThailandIndonesiaSouth Korea and Singapore. Liver cancer is the world’s third most deadly cancer with very limited treatment options and poor treatment outcome. There is currently no effective treatment available for liver cancer relapsed patients post-liver transplantation.

LioCyx™ is developed by Lion TCR’s scientific founder, Prof. Antonio Bertoletti, a world-renowned HBV-liver cancer clinician scientist. Several Investigator-sponsored trials of LioCyx™ in Singapore and China have showed results of good safety profile and encouraging signs of efficacy. “We are very delighted with the approval of Phase I/II clinical trial of our LioCyx™, the first engineered TCR-T cell therapy for treatment of liver cancer in Singapore. It is an utmost encouragement on the recognition of innovative therapy for patients in need. Singapore HSA has been very efficient, transparent and professional in reviewing our application for the clinical trial of this innovative immunotherapy”, said Dr. Victor Li Lietao, founder and CEO of Lion TCR.

Patients recruitment for the Phase I/II clinical trial will begin with National UniversityHospital (NUH), Singapore. Lion TCR is in the midst of including more medical centres in Singapore and China into the trial.

More than 6,300 Pan-Mass Challenge Cyclists Hit the Road to Raise Record Breaking $52 Million During 2018 Ride

Health

PMC Aims to Exceed $650 Million Raised for Cancer Care Advancements at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute with Most Ambitious Fundraising Goal to Date

 

Today, the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) commenced its 2018 ride, drawing in more than 6,300 cyclists from 43 states and ten countries to pedal varying routes across Massachusetts. On the heels of last year’s record-breaking fundraising campaign, in which the organization exceeded its goal by more than $3 million, this year’s participants will be riding with the hopes of collectively raising $52 million for cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Dana-Farber). The PMC, which raises more money for charity than any other single athletic event, is Dana-Farber’s largest single contributor, raising more than 53 percent of the Jimmy Fund’s annual revenue. If this year’s goal is reached, the PMC’s 39-year contribution to cancer research and care will exceed $650 million.

During Ride Weekend, the PMC unites cyclists ranging in age from 13 to 85 under the common mission of raising funds for cancer research and treatment. Designed to cater to all levels of cycling and fundraising abilities, the PMC offers riders the choice of 12 routes of varying distance, starting from 25 miles all the way up to the hallmark, two-day 192-mile ride passing through 46 towns from Sturbridge, Mass. through Provincetown that the organization is known for. Many ride in honor of a family member or friend lost to, or being treated for, cancer, as 100 percent of every rider raised dollar goes directly to Dana-Farber. At the cornerstone of the PMC community are more than 900 PMC riders and volunteers that are cancer survivors or current patients, considered “Living Proof” of the PMC spirit and mission to find a cure.

“Each year, I am in complete awe of the commitment and drive that our riders, volunteers, sponsors, staff and donors demonstrate as we work together towards our common goal of contributing critical funds to support the incredible advancements in cancer treatment and care being made at Dana-Farber,” said Billy Starr, founder and executive director of the PMC. “It’s been almost four decades yet is still humbling to say that once again, we are on track to increase our impact by raising even more money for Dana-Farber than last year. I’d like to wish my fellow riders a safe and successful PMC, and thank our community for their unwavering support.”

“I’m honored to pedal alongside this incredibly dedicated group of riders in the PMC this weekend. All of us at Dana-Farber have enormous gratitude for the commitment of the PMC community – the impact their contributions make on the cancer community worldwide is truly immeasurable,” said Laurie H. Glimcher, M.D., president and chief executive officer, Dana-Farber, who will be riding the 85-mile route to Bourne, Massachusetts. “The unrestricted funding provided by the PMC is crucial to the life-saving work being done at Dana-Farber and beyond by world-class physicians in pursuit of one day eradicating cancer.”

One-day routes include rides from Wellesley or Sturbridge to Bourne, Wellesley to Patriot Place and Bourne to Provincetown. Two-day routes include Wellesley or Sturbridge to Provincetown, and Wellesley or Sturbridge to Bourne and back. The average cyclist trains for three months, solicits 40 sponsors, and raises more than $7,000.

Started in 1980 when Billy Starr and 35 of his friends rode across Massachusetts and raised $10,200 for cancer research, the PMC is now recognized as the pioneering event that connected athleticism to charitable fundraising. Today, athletic fundraising events annually raise more than $4 billion, funding crucial programs at health and human service organizations nationwide.

The PMC is presented by New Balance and the Red Sox Foundation. Each year, an additional 200 companies support the event by providing more than $7 million in goods and services, and more than 4,000 volunteers donate their time to support the organization during Ride Weekend and beyond. To make a financial contribution to a rider, visit www.pmc.org, or call (800) WE-CYCLE. Connect with #PanMass2018 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

About the Pan-Mass Challenge

The Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) is a bike-a-thon that today raises more money for charity than any other single athletic fundraising event in the world. The 39th PMC will take place on August 4 and 5, 2018. The PMC was founded in 1980 by Billy Starr, who remains the event’s executive director, an annual cyclist, and a fundraiser. The PMC has since raised $598 million for adult and pediatric patient care and cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund. The event donates 100 percent of every rider-raised dollar directly to the cause. The PMC generates more than 53 percent of the Jimmy Fund’s annual revenue and is Dana-Farber’s single largest contributor. The PMC has successfully melded support from committed cyclists, volunteers, corporate sponsors and individual contributors. All are essential to the PMC’s goal and model: to attain maximum fundraising efficiency while increasing its annual gift. The PMC’s hope and aspiration is to provide Dana-Farber’s doctors and researchers with the necessary resources to discover cures for all cancers. For more information on the Pan-Mass Challenge, log onto www.pmc.org.

Hyundai Hope On Wheels Presents Yale Cancer Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital With $100,000 Hyundai Impact Award To Support Pediatric Cancer Research

Health

Hyundai Hope On Wheels® 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization celebrates its 20th year in the fight funding pediatric cancer research and will present Dr. Shilpa Hattangadi of Yale Cancer Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital with a $100,000 Hyundai Impact Award. This institution is one of 21 recipients of this year’s award, which is given to pediatric oncology departments at select children’s hospitals nationwide. The $100,000 Hyundai Impact Award will be officially presented to Dr. Hattangadi and Yale Cancer Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital on Wednesday, July 25th at 10:00 a.m.

In 2018, Hope On Wheels will award over $15 million toward pediatric cancer research and programs. This brings the organization’s donation total to $145 million since Hyundai joined the fight against pediatric cancer 20 years ago in 1998. With this latest grant, Yale School of Medicine has received more than $1,000,000 from Hope On Wheels.

“Throughout the country, talented doctors are working tirelessly to help kids fight cancer by conducting research or providing bedside care,” said Scott Fink, chairman, Hyundai Hope On Wheels Board of Directors. “Our goal at Hope On Wheels is to provide these doctors with the grant funds they need to perform their lifesaving work.”

During the event, children being treated at Yale Cancer Center’s who are battling cancer will participate in the program’s signature Handprint Ceremony, in which they’ll dip their hands in paint and place their handprints on a white canvas. Their colorful handprints on the canvas will represent their individual and collective journeys, hopes and dreams.

For more information about Hyundai Hope On Wheels and to view a complete list of this year’s grant winners, please visit HyundaiHopeOnWheels.org/research. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram at facebook.com/HyundaiHopeOnWheels, twitter.com/HopeOnWheels or instagram.com/HyundaiHopeOnWheels.

Microsoft and Partners Showcase a New ‘Molecule’ for Better Health Outcomes

Health, Technology

At the Intelligent Medicines’ Future Decoded event co-hosted by Microsoft, Indegene and PAREXEL, life sciences leaders reunited at the Microsoft Research Lab in Cambridge and showcased digital advances in their industry. CIOs, CMOs, Digital Strategy, Medical Affairs and Clinical Research leaders from AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, Shire Teva, Takeda, UCB and others discussed the commencement of a new era and the opportunity to work with a new ‘molecule’ to accelerate transformation.

The new ‘molecule’ combines data, intelligence, trust and innovative digital empowerment at a time when there is an unprecedented ability to reason over vast genomic, clinical, personal health and commercial data. It infuses intelligence everywhere to drive insights for health care professionals (HCPs), generates new care experiences and creates preventative pathways. It focuses on trust as a gatekeeper to adoption with enhanced levels of privacy, security and compliance by design. It brings forward new governance approaches with data-sharing models such as data donation and interoperable yet accessible data platforms. Finally, it delivers innovative digital empowerment to effectively engage the industry’s customers.

Innovations highlighted included Omnipresence, a solution developed by Indegene and Microsoft, which adds predictive algorithms to interactions with HCPs through intelligent actions and content for sales reps, MSLs, KAMs (learn about Omnipresence here). DNAnexus showcased how Microsoft’s cloud computational pipeline is used at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital to accelerate research and power scientific collaboration in the search for cures to pediatric cancer (read the full case here).

Captario, PAREXEL and digitalECMT (Digital Experimental Cancer Medicine Team) shared innovations built on Microsoft Azure Cloud to accelerate drug development. Captario SUM is a leading decision analysis tool for drug development. Novartis uses Captario SUM for the evaluation of its entire portfolio. PAREXEL’s Perceptive Cloud® helps improve how sponsors perform clinical trials, control and share data, track and report patient outcomes, manage regulatory information and capture real-world evidence for payers. The digitalECMT is based within the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Manchester Institute, part of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre. This clinical research group is developing new ways of conducting early clinical trials and in collaboration with AstraZeneca delivers the iDecide research programme to  transform decision-making and the patient’s role (see the video summary here).

“Empowering health to achieve more with technology relies on a human-centric vision for better outcomes. Data, intelligence, trust and new forms of governance make up the new molecule to decode the future of pharma and unlock digital advantages,” said Elena Bonfiglioli, EMEA Lead for Health and Life sciences, Microsoft, on the occasion. “Indegene Omnipresence creates so many opportunities to empower life sciences organisations through modern innovations such as deep customer graphs, conversational AI, medical bots…it is a very exciting time,” added Sanjay Virmani, EVP, Indegene.

About Indegene 

Indegene (http://www.indegene.com ) enables global healthcare organisations to address complex challenges by seamlessly integrating analytics, technology, operations and medical expertise and drives better health and business outcomes. Indegene’s IP-based solutions help clients drive revenues and productivity by making transformational leaps in digitalisation of customer engagement, health reform, healthcare cost reduction and health outcomes improvement.

Entrepreneur Teams Up with Leading Psychiatrist to Address Depression, Anxiety, and Suicide

Health

Russell Pike, a successful entrepreneur and sports handicapper, is collaborating with renowned forensic psychiatrist Dr. Sanjay Sahgal in addressing the scourge of anxiety, depression, and suicide in our modern-day lives.

“When all of the noise of life was stripped away I began to hear God’s words in my heart and mind. It’s life-changing and redemptive,” says entrepreneur and author Russell Pike. “That’s certainly worth sharing with folks.”

Pike, who has penned several inspirational books and psychiatrist Sanjay Sahgal, MD have teamed up to begin the creation of a series of multi-media projects to address the increasing problem of depression, anxiety, and even suicide.

Dr. Sahgal, a Board-Certified Psychiatrist, and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at USC Keck School of Medicine believes that psychiatry often doesn’t bring relief to people suffering from depression and anxiety. “I believe that there is a deeper need in people suffering from these maladies, that medicine can’t alleviate,” says Dr. Sahgal. “Russell Pike’s books and counsel have had a tremendous impact on my life and I am positive that his books will have a major impact on the lives of those that are battling depression and anxiety. I’m excited about working with him on these ventures.”

Pike began penning his first two books, Reminders From Heaven, Volumes 1&2, in 2012 while incarcerated at a federal prison camp. They are both now available at Amazon.com. Over the last five years Pike has written five sequels, all spiritual based books that provide inspiration and encouragement. While Reminders From Heaven are more biblically based in their sourcing, his subsequent books, Your Spiritual Reminders, Volumes 1-4 are for readers who are not as familiar with the Bible. In these subsequent books he shares the thoughts, insights, and encouragement from spiritual writers, thinkers, and leaders over the course of history. Every nugget on every page in every book is relevant to our everyday existence.

Russell Pike believes that regardless of the rollercoaster ride that life affords, it’s God’s truth and love that provide clarity and light in what is often a dark world. No one knows that better then him.

Pike’s entrepreneurial efforts brought him to the pinnacle of success as the founder of the popular energy drink company XYIENCE. The company sold for $200 million, but the conduct of his partners, and subjected IRS issues, resulted in late tax filings and his incarceration.

“If it wasn’t for a highly difficult period in my life I would never have been blessed with the opportunity to write these books and share the message with others, so that they can be encouraged every day,” says Pike. “Dr. Sahgal and I are of the same mind that our world is plagued by depression, hopelessness, and suicide, and that chemistry oftentimes is not the answer. I suffered from these conditions even when I was at the top of my game and they continually physically affected me with migraines and arthritis.”

The author makes it clear throughout his writing that it’s time we begin to immerse ourselves in words of light and love that give us hope and healing. Pike’s story also makes it clear that despite our mistakes, God is a God of Second Chances.

Russell Pike makes it even easier for his readers to benefit from these inspirational words by offering a free reminder app called Reminders From Heaven that is currently available in the Google Store and iTunes.

Internet Brands’ WebMD Acquires Jobson Healthcare Information

Business, Health

WebMD Health Corp., an Internet Brands company and the leader in health information services for consumers and physicians, today announced that it has acquired Jobson Healthcare Information (JHI), a leading provider of information, education and marketing services in key healthcare markets.

Owning brands that have been leaders for over 50 years, JHI has long been recognized for its diversified portfolio of healthcare information, education and marketing services targeted to a broad segment of the healthcare industry, including physicians, pharmacists and eye care professionals. Through its comprehensive product offerings and platforms, JHI can reach more than one million healthcare professionals.

“JHI’s commitment to delivering quality information and services to the healthcare industry makes them an excellent addition to the WebMD network,” said CEO Steve Zatz, M.D.  “They complement our existing capabilities and contribute very strong positions with pharmacists and the eye care community.  JHI will help expand and deepen our relationships with health care professionals and enable us to leverage our combined strengths to increase our value to our customers.”

“WebMD is an exceptional fit for JHI,” said JHI CEO Jeff MacDonald.  “In addition to sharing our passion for helping health care professionals improve the quality of patient care, WebMD’s substantial digital resources will enable us to bring more critical data, communications and information to health care professionals.  We look forward to all we can accomplish together.”

Also headquartered in New York City, JHI will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary of WebMD. JHI was represented by JEGI in the transaction.  Terms of the transaction were not made public.