LLS is leading the offensive against acute myeloid leukemia, one of the most deadly blood cancers that has seen little change in the standard of care in 40 years and impacts 21,000 Americans annually. LLS is taking a multi-faceted approach with a paradigm-shifting clinical trial as its centerpiece. The Beat AML® Master Clinical Trial builds upon an earlier genetic study commenced in 2013 to better understand the underlying drivers of the disease.
In October 2016, LLS launched an innovative precision medicine Beat AML® Master Clinical Trial to test targeted therapies for acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The unprecedented collaboration includes multiple leading cancer centers and pharmaceutical companies, a clinical research organization, and a genomics analysis company. The protocol for the trial was developed with input from the FDA, which is eager to see new models for cancer clinical trials.
AML is extremely complicated to treat because it is not a single disease, but a group of more than 10 different major subtypes and other rare mutations. With advances in genomics, we can now identify and target specific types of AML. This precision medicine approach is the key to new therapies for patients.
The trial employs advanced genomic technology to identify each patient’s individual cancer-driving genetic mutations, and then matches that patient to the most promising, targeted treatment.
“It’s the ultimate precision medicine – matching a specific targeted therapy to the specifics of a person’s individual leukemia,” says one of the trial’s co-lead investigators, Ross Levine, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
LLS is the first nonprofit health organization to sponsor a cancer clinical trial. To date, LLS’s trial has exceeded all milestones.
“LLS is the absolute right organization to lead the Beat AML effort because LLS is all about patients,” says co-lead investigator John Byrd, MD, of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. “LLS is best positioned to bring this group together toward a common goal.”
A tribute by his daughter, Cristina Kellenyi
My dad, one of LLS’s most dedicated volunteers, lost his battle to cancer this July. My dad ran a total of 40 marathons in his lifetime. In 1999, he began volunteering for LLS and ran several Team In Training marathons and half marathons. He even learned to swim in order to participate in his first Ironman.
His physical efforts were matched by his fundraising efforts. Prior to becoming so passionately committed to LLS, he was a successful hedge fund manager and research analyst on Wall Street. He applied much of the same acumen he used during his career in finance to his involvement with the local New Jersey chapter. He served as chapter president and as a long-time board member.
My dad also served as National Vice-Chairman for LLS’s Beat AML Master Clinical Trial. In addition to his huge efforts for Beat AML toward the end of his life, my father was also heavily involved in fundraising for the first significant advance in AML treatment in 40 years, in addition to many other contributions.
My dad was highly recognized by LLS, receiving the prestigious Spiral of Life award in his final days. He continues to inspire so many people by his determination, heartfelt energy, humility, generosity, selflessness, and hard fought achievements. My dad is greatly missed by LLS and the family that he loves so much.