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The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: Accelerating Cures Must Be a Priority
Date:4/1/2011

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., April 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Once again, the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer shows a continued decline in diagnoses and deaths for many types of cancers. This encouraging news can be attributed primarily to preventive measures such as cessation of smoking and improved diet, and early detection.

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But for many cancers, such as the blood cancers, early detection is rare, there are no measures that can be taken to prevent the onset of the disease, and they are still killing too many. In these cases, the only solution is continued research to find better treatments and cures once the diagnosis is made.

It is for this reason that many voluntary disease organizations have created programs to accelerate therapies from laboratories to patients. We recognize that funding research is costly and difficult, particularly in these trying economic times, particularly for orphan diseases such as blood cancers where producing these treatments may not always be cost-effective for drug companies.

We have to be more proactive and innovative in our approaches to funding drug development, not only funding laboratory research, but also partnering with biotechnology companies on high-prospect research projects, or by providing much needed expertise to help academics bring their discoveries to market.  We are continually searching for new ways to ensure that scientific discoveries are not stuck collecting dust on academic shelves, but are given the boost they need to cross the chasm that swallows so many promising findings.

The Federal government also recognizes this need to get more treatments to patients faster.  A key provision of the federal Affordable Care Act that has received little attention is the creation by Congress of the Cures Acceleration Network (CAN). This program, which would be administered by Frances Collins, Ph.D., director of the National Institutes of Health, would authorize grants to patient advocacy organizations, universities, biotechnology companies, research institutions or pharmaceutical companies, and would also provide the expert guidance necessary to move those discoveries forward.

The potential for these public-private partnerships to succeed is great, but only if there is real funding behind it. Congress is weighing drastic cuts to cancer research funding that would jeopardize this and other critical programs. Nonprofit organizations such as The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and Michael J. Fox Foundation have seen these partnerships bear fruit. If Congress gets on board and funds this program, there is no doubt that more lives will be saved.

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

Contact: Andrea Greif
914.821-8958
Andrea.greif@lls.org


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SOURCE The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
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