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Lymphoma Research Foundation announces recipients of CLL/SLL Research Initiative grants
Date:10/28/2009

New York, NY The Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF) is pleased to announce that David Frank, MD, PhD of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Thomas Kipps, MD, PhD, Moores Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego are the recipients of the second round of funding under the Foundation's Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)/Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma (SLL) Research Initiative.

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) and Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma (SLL) are the same disease with slightly different manifestations. Where the cancerous cells gather determines whether it is called CLL or SLL. When the cancer cells are primarily found in the lymph nodes, lima bean shaped structures of the lymphatic system, an essential part of the body's immune system, it is called SLL. When most of the cancer cells are in the bloodstream and the bone marrow, it is called CLL.

John Balan, founder of the CLL Information Group with membership of approximately 1000 patients and caregivers, expressed the group's delight with these two awards. "We have a great deal of respect for the work that Drs. Kipps and Frank have been doing with CLL. These two awards will only augment what they have already done and add to the arsenal of treatments available to patients."

The purpose of Dr. Frank's, A Clinical Trial of STAT3 Inhibition in Patients with CLL, will be to evaluate the benefits of targeted therapy for CLL/SLL patients. Through prior research, Dr. Frank and his team found that CLL/SLL cells are characterized by an abnormality in a protein called STAT3, which regulates genes controlling the abnormal proliferation of lymphocytes in patients with this disease. They further identified a drug that inhibits STAT3, and, with the two-year $300,000 grant from LRF, Dr. Frank will carry out a clinical trial to test its safety and effectiveness in CLL/SLL patients. This is Dr. Frank's second LRF grant supporting his efforts to discover more effective CLL/SLL therapeutics.

Dr. Kipps' "Gene-Chemoimmunotherapy for Intractable Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia" will focus on developing a treatment option for CLL/SLL patients with refractory disease who have limited treatment options. Dr. Kipps and his team have found that gene-immune therapy can render drug-resistant cells sensitive to chemotherapy. With this two-year $200,000 grant, Dr. Kipps will examine the mechanism(s) of drug-resistant disease and will pursue a clinical trial examining the use of gene-immune therapy to improve the capacity of patients with CLL/SLL refractory disease to respond to chemotherapy. Dr. Kipps is a member of the Foundation's Scientific Advisory Board.


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Contact: Marion F. Swan
mswan@lymphoma.org
347-920-6680
Lymphoma Research Foundation
Source:Eurekalert  

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