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The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and The University of Kansas Cancer Center Announce Innovative Partnership to Accelerate Drug Development
Date:1/7/2009

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. and KANSAS CITY, Kan., Jan. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and The University of Kansas Cancer Center have announced a partnership to translate discoveries by LLS-funded researchers into Phase I clinical trials.

Currently, The University of Kansas Cancer Center (KU Cancer Center) and its partner, Beckloff Associates Inc., are supporting two early stage projects of LLS-funded researchers at The University of Virginia and The University of Toronto. The number of projects is expected to expand over the year.

The University of Kansas is uniquely positioned to work with LLS to accelerate the research it funds. KU Cancer Center has a long history of developing cancer drugs and currently has the No. 1 pharmacy school, in terms of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. KU Cancer Center holds a development contract with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and has helped formulate seven out of the 19 drugs developed through NCI's Developmental Therapeutics Program.

Integral to moving projects rapidly into clinical trials is KU Cancer Center's partnership with industry. Beckloff Associates Inc., based in Overland Park, KS, provides development and regulatory support on the projects. Through these collaborative efforts and the formation of multi-disciplinary, multi-organizational, high-performance project teams, drug projects are advanced rapidly.

The partnership between KU Cancer Center and LLS is part of LLS's Therapy Acceleration Program, which supports private sector and academic-based projects with the goal of moving blood cancer therapies into the development pipeline. KU Cancer Center is the first academic partner in the program.

"By leveraging the capabilities and strengths The University of Kansas has in place, this partnership brings critically needed skills to the LLS research pipeline and expedites the advancement of new drugs to treat blood cancer patients," said Louis DeGennaro, Ph.D., LLS's chief scientific officer.

Through the partnership, LLS will initially provide up to $1.5 million to the university's Office of Therapeutics, Discovery and Development for the funded projects.

"The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is a world-renowned cancer organization, and we are honored to be affiliated with such a prestigious and groundbreaking program," said Roy Jensen, M.D., director, The University of Kansas Cancer Center. "This partnership is a tremendous opportunity for us to make a significant impact on blood cancers, by leveraging the extraordinary capabilities we have in drug discovery, delivery and development. It will also assist us in our quest to achieve National Cancer Institute designation."

About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society(R), headquartered in White Plains, NY, with 68 chapters in the United States and Canada, is the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services. LLS's mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Since its founding in 1949, LLS has invested more than $600 million in research specifically targeting leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Last year alone, LLS made 6.3 million contacts with patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals.

For more information about blood cancer, visit www.LLS.org or call LLS's Information Resource Center (IRC), a call center staffed by master's level social workers, nurses and health educators who provide information, support and resources to patients and their families and caregivers. IRC information specialists are available at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

www.lls.org.

About The University of Kansas Cancer Center

The University of Kansas Cancer Center is a partnership of vast resources. It includes the University of Kansas Medical Center School of Medicine, with campuses in Kansas City and Wichita; renowned graduate schools in Lawrence, KS; the Midwest Cancer Alliance; and The University of Kansas Hospital, the region's premier academic medical center, with 539 staffed beds and nearly 500 physician specialists, located in Kansas City. The University of Kansas Cancer Center is transforming the art of scientific research and clinical care to deliver advancements that are without limits. For more information, visit http://cancer.kumc.edu.

    Contacts:  LLS: Andrea Greif, 914-821-8958, andrea.greif@lls.org
               KU: Erica Brown, 913-588-2598, ebrown4@kumc.edu


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SOURCE The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
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