Dr. Louis J. DeGennaro, who is the CEO and President of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, has recently contributed a blog post on the organization’s website. In this post, Dr. DeGennaro highlights some of the major advances that have been made in treating rare lymphoma and leukemia as well as cancer in general during 2018.
About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is a nonprofit organization which is committed to curing blood cancers like leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and other related illnesses. The society is also committed to improving the lives and providing support for patients and their families. Over the years, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has also helped financially support many of the most important treatment and research discoveries that have led to major improvements in outcomes for these blood cancers.
Celebrating The Latest Advances
One treatment innovation this year that the society has helped support is CAR-T cell therapy. The first of these therapies gained approval in 2017, and in 2018 a swathe of research and clinical trials surrounding this type of treatment has made a major impact in the world of cancer treatment.
We have talked about CAR-T cell therapy before on our site, and it is a truly remarkable development in the field of immunotherapy, which are treatments that activate the body’s own immune system to attack cancer. CAR-T cell works by extracting T-cells from the patient. These cells play a central role in the destruction of harmful foreign agents in the body, but they normally fail to recognize cancer cells as harmful. These cells are modified so that they are able to detect and target cancer cells. They are then proliferated in the laboratory setting and reintroduced into the body of the patient, providing new hope for rare cancer patients that would otherwise be out of options.
Dr. DeGennaro also specifically points out the progress that has been made in treatments for rare blood cancers. From the beginning of 2017 until writing of the blog post in November, 2018, the FDA has approved 37 new therapies for blood cancers. Some of these treatments also help treat many of the rarest blood cancers, like mycosis fungoides, Sézary syndrome, acute myeloid leukemia, and hairy cell leukemia.
The rare disease field can often feel like a cascade of challenges and obstacles, but it is important for the community to take stock of the progress that is being made.