A Promising Pipeline of Medicines for Blood Cancer Patients

A Promising Pipeline of Medicines for Blood Cancer Patients

04.24.13 | By Josie Martin

As I mentioned in a post earlier this week, the human toll of blood cancers is a very personal issue for me. I have witnessed first-hand the valiant struggle that patients endure, and the sad reality that despite tremendous progress to date, we cannot always stop disease progression. This is why – above all else – I am excited by the promising, innovative research reflected in a reported released today by PhRMA.

Our most recent Medicines in Development report reveals that America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are working on more than 240 medicines for leukemia, lymphoma and other blood cancers. These projects, all in either clinical trials or under review at FDA, hold the potential to extend or even save the lives of friends and loved ones.

Many if not most of these potential medicines will not make it to patients, but as my colleague, Matt Bennett, explained in a recent post, that is the reality of drug discovery and development. Biopharmaceutical company scientists, working in tandem with academic institutions, government researchers, groups like the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and other partners in the biomedical ecosystem, build on the knowledge of their predecessors, their peers and clinical practice.

Leveraging new scientific approaches and better understanding of the molecular and genetic characteristics of complex cancers, our scientists are working on new combination therapies, personalized or targeted therapeutics, treatments that could be less toxic or easier to deliver. Cancer, including blood cancers, is a complex, life-threatening cluster of diseases, and the clinical development process for oncology therapeutics is incredibly complicated.  Although potential first-in-class treatments are particularly exciting, progress is not typically driven by individual developments, but more commonly is the result of a series of improved treatments over time.

I encourage you all to check out the report and accompanying overview. I also invite you to join PhRMA for a related panel discussion on Monday, April 29 that will be webcast on PhRMA.org.

Featuring Dr. Rick Winneker, Senior Vice President, Research, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), Dr. Joe Camardo, Senior Vice President, Global Medical Affairs, Celgene, a blood cancer survivor, and our own Salvo Alesci, Vice President, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, PhRMA, the panel will explore the exciting promise of medicines in the pipeline for blood cancers, the incremental nature of cancer research and its role in improving patient health, barriers to future progress, and the importance of constructive partnerships to continued innovation.

We encourage all Catalyst readers to join us for the webcast Monday, April 29 at 1pm EDT.

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