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The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute Announce Groundbreaking Partnership to Accelerate Drug Approvals

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Oct. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- In an effort to increase access and participation in clinical trials among adult blood cancer patients, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute have launched a groundbreaking partnership, The Clinical Trial Center for Hematologic Malignancies.

This innovativecollaboration is a unique approach to making blood cancer clinical trials available to patients in their community so they can easily have access to the newest treatments for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

"The challenge of recruiting patients to participate in clinical trials is one of the greatest obstacles to getting new drugs approved," said Louis DeGennaro, Ph.D., the Society chief scientific officer. "In fact, less than 5 percent of adult cancer patients nationally participate in trials."

Other major barriers to recruiting patients into clinical trials include patients' reluctance to leave their own doctors and the requirement to travel to major cities outside of their communities to get treatments and participate in trials. Patients also often view trials as risky.

Cleveland Clinic is uniquely structured to work with the Society to overcome these hurdles. Taussig has 45 oncologists at its main campus and another 20 on staff throughout its regional hospitals in the Cleveland metropolitan area. Patients can easily participate in the center's clinical trials while still remaining with their own doctors. The ability to remain with their own doctors will also go a long way toward alleviating patients' fears about participating in the trials. As a result of the broad reach into the community, the clinic has access to a large volume of patients, so recruiting for clinical trials will be much easier. Patients will have access to promising new therapies and will receive far greater supervision under highly controlled conditions than they would under normal treatment circumstances.

"The beauty of this partnership is that it breaks down barriers often associated with clinical trial participation," said John Sweetenham, M.D., Taussig's director of clinical research. "The strides made under this partnership will accelerate the process of developing and delivering new, more advanced drugs for patients and will allow us to bring these needed treatments out to people in their own communities without them having to travel downtown."

While most national clinical trials are conducted by cooperative groups -- vast networks of physicians, researchers, medical centers and universities across the country -- the Society-backed Cleveland Clinic program will greatly streamline the process and expedite the advancement of new drugs, since the trials will all be conducted by a single clinical center. The partnership aims to undertake more than six clinical trials over the next three years, enrolling 100 to 150 patients, increasing the number of trials typically completed for these types of cancers in this timeframe.

The Society, which has set as one of its strategic goals the acceleration of blood cancer therapies by enrolling more people in clinical trials, has access to new therapies and will help determine which drugs should be tested.

The Taussig Cancer Institute will help design the trials and administer them. The organizations will co-fund the effort.

"Bureaucracy is the silent killer in cancer," said Dr. DeGennaro. "This partnership will enable us to address many of the serious bottlenecks that delay the development of new therapies for blood cancer patients. Our ultimate goal is to get new treatments to patients faster and save more lives."

After the three-year pilot, future plans for the program include potentially extending it to the National Cancer Institute Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, in which both Taussig and the Ireland Cancer Center partner.

For more information about The Clinical Trial Center for Hematologic Malignancies, please visit or

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. The Society'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, the Society has invested more than $550 million in research specifically targeting leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Last year alone, the Society made 5.1 million contacts with patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals.

About Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute

The Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute annually serves more than 26,000 cancer patients at its main campus location and provides cancer care at 10 other locations in Northeast Ohio. More than 250 cancer specialists, plus nurses and technicians, are committed to researching and applying the latest, most effective techniques for diagnosis and treatment to achieve long-term survival and improved quality of life for all cancer patients. The Taussig Cancer Institute offers a complete range of options for cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, follow-up and palliative care in a single location. The center offers state-of-the-art diagnostic technology and the most modern methods of cancer treatment, including pioneering surgical techniques, advanced radiation therapy, chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation. An extensive research program provides patients with access to a wide variety of clinical trials. The Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute is also home of the Scott Hamilton CARES Initiative.

Contact: Andrea Greif


SOURCE Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
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