ASH 2011

 
 
 

The 53rd ASH Annual Meeting took place Dec. 10-13, 2011, in San Diego, California.

 

Risk of health/psychological conditions after HSCT

HT Staff Read Article
Published: 01/06/12

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New research suggests that long-term survivors of hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) have a higher risk of chronic health conditions and psychological distress, when compared to age- and sex-matched siblings. Researchers found that HSCT patients surviving 10 or more years after transplant had an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, blindness, musculoskeletal problems, and subsequent cancers. Survivors were also more likely to suffer from somatic and . . . [Read Article]

How national income impacts HSCT

Jen Smith Read Article
Published: 01/05/12

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Economic factors play a role in both the quantitative and qualitative use of hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT), according to a group of researchers. The investigators assessed global statistics on HSCTs and found evidence to suggest that a country’s per capita gross national income (GNI) can impact transplant rates, donor source, and transplant type. Specifically, the team observed that low-income countries were more likely to have lower transplant rates, perform . . . [Read Article]

Carfilzomib establishes itself in combo MM treatment

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 01/04/12

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Pieter Sonneveld, MD, PhD

The next-generation proteasome inhibitor carfilzomib is demonstrating responses comparable to its parent, bortezomib, in combination with thalidomide and dexamethasone for multiple myeloma. Updated results of the phase 2 CARTHADEX trial show the combination to be feasible, tolerable, and effective in newly diagnosed, symptomatic multiple myeloma patients who are eligible for transplant. Pieter Sonneveld, MD, PhD, discussed the trial at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting. [Read Article]

Combination improves survival in older AML patients

Keely McClain Read Article
Published: 01/04/12

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Sylvie Castaigne, MD
Photo courtesy of ASH

A phase 3 clinical trial suggests that adding fractionated doses of the monoclonal antibody gemtuzumab ozogamicin (GO) to standard chemotherapy improves survival in older patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Sylvie Castaigne, MD, of Hôpital de Versailles in France, presented data from the Acute Leukemia French Association trial (abstract 6) at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting, which took place December 10-13. “Research has demonstrated that GO has . . . [Read Article]

New drugs could change treatment paradigm in hemophilia

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 01/04/12

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Patrick Fogarty, MD

A number of new drugs in development for hemophilia A and B could potentially change the treatment paradigm for people with these clotting disorders, according to Patrick F. Fogarty, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania. “It may not be long before these products appear on our doorstep,” Dr Fogarty said while discussing the current landscape of hemophilia and the biological basis for new drugs in an education session at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting. He began by noting that the . . . [Read Article]

Review suggests industry trials more successful than public trials

Jen Smith Read Article
Published: 01/02/12

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Preparing drug capsules
for a clinical trial
Credit: Esther Dyson

A review of randomized clinical trials for new cancer treatments suggests that commercial trials are more likely to be successful than public sector studies. Reviewers found that phase 3 trials conducted by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) met metrics of success more often than phase 3 trials conducted by the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group (NCIC CTG). Benjamin Djulbegovic, MD, PhD, presented these results at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting. [Read Article]

Short rituximab maintenance beneficial for older FL patients

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/30/11

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Umberto Vitolo, MD

Final results of a prospective, randomized trial conducted by the Italian Lymphoma Foundation reveal that a short course of rituximab maintenance is beneficial in older patients with follicular lymphoma. Umberto Vitolo, MD, of the San Giovanni Battista Hospital and University in Turin, Italy, reported the results on behalf of the foundation at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting (abstract 777), which took place December 10-13. [Read Article]

Gene therapy shows promise in hemophilia B

Keely McClain Read Article
Published: 12/29/11

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Andrew M. Davidoff, MD

New data suggest gene therapy can relieve the need for frequent infusions in patients with severe hemophilia B. These patients must typically undergo regular infusions—usually twice a week—to prevent spontaneous bleeding episodes, said Andrew M. Davidoff, MD, of St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee. So he and his colleagues decided to investigate a novel gene therapy approach for this patient population. The team presented their results at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting. [Read Article]

NPM1 mutation predicts response to ATRA

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/29/11

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Acute myeloid leukemia cells

Investigators have confirmed that NPM1 mutation in younger acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients is predictive of response to therapy with all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA). Beneficial effects of ATRA plus conventional chemotherapy in older patients with NPM1 mutation without FLT3 ITD had previously been demonstrated. David F. Schlenk, MD, of the University Hospital of Ulm in Germany, reported the results of AMLSG 07-04 at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting. [Read Article]

Alisertib active in heavily pretreated NHL

Jen Smith Read Article
Published: 12/29/11

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Jonathan Friedberg, MD

The aurora A kinase inhibitor alisertib elicits responses in heavily pretreated non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients, according to a phase 2 study. The drug was particularly effective against T-cell lymphoma, although it did induce some significant adverse events, and more than half of patients on the study required dose reductions. However, toxicity was largely manageable and reversible, according to Jonathan Friedberg, MD, who presented these findings at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting. [Read Article]

VMP survival benefit persists in MM

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/28/11

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Jesús San Miguel, MD, PhD

A 60-month follow-up of multiple myeloma patients suggests bortezomib, melphalan, and prednisone (VMP) provides significant benefits over melphalan and prednisone (MP). Patients who received VMP had better overall survival rates, longer time to next therapy, and increased treatment-free survival. And this was true for patients in all risk groups. Jesús San Miguel, MD, PhD, of Hospital Clinico Universitario in Salamanca, Spain, reported these results at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting. [Read Article]

Has Belarus adapted to radiation exposure?

Jen Smith Read Article
Published: 12/26/11

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Vadim Ivanov, MD, PhD

A long-term analysis of the Chernobyl disaster’s effects on pediatric leukemia incidence seems to suggest residents in Belarus have adapted to chronic radiation exposure. Researchers assessed the rates of pediatric leukemia in Belarus beginning 7 years before the Chernobyl disaster and continuing to the present year. The team found that the incidence of leukemia in infants aged 0 to 1 years has fluctuated over time but is now significantly lower than the pre-Chernobyl incidence. [Read Article]

Bendamustine-ofatumumab combo effective in untreated NHL patients

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/25/11

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Nathan Fowler, MD

Results of a phase 2 study of bendamustine and ofatumumab in untreated indolent B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) have shown the combination to be safe and effective and compare favorably with previously reported response rates. The 2 agents are active and well tolerated as monotherapy and in combination with other, different agents. But their safety and efficacy when used together for first-line therapy had not been determined until now. [Read Article]

Team produces platelets from human iPS cells

Keely McClain Read Article
Published: 12/23/11

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Koji Eto, MD, PhD

Researchers are one step closer to developing human platelets that can be used to treat platelet disorders, according to research presented at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting. A team of investigators from Japan cultured platelets from human induced pluripotent stem (hiPS) cells. When infused in immunodeficient mice, these platelets exhibited normal circulation and a high degree of chimerism. Koji Eto, MD, PhD, and Sou Nakamura, both of Kyoto University, detailed this research at ASH in abstract 2. [Read Article]

ALFA reviews characteristics and outcomes of older AML patients

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/23/11

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Crowd of attendees at
the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting
Photo courtesy of ASH

Older, relapsed patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are often the target population for new drug development. Yet not much data are available on the characteristics, genetics, type of salvage treatment, and outcome in this patient population. The Acute Leukemia French Association (ALFA) sought to rectify this situation by conducting a retrospective analysis of 2 trials of older AML patients in first relapse. The group’s findings were reported at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting. [Read Article]

Pomalidomide and loDex achieve impressive results in MM

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/22/11

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Inside the San Diego
Convention Center, site of
the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting
Photo courtesy of ASH

Impressive results have been achieved with pomalidomide and low-dose dexamethasone (loDex) in relapsed and refractory patients with multiple myeloma (MM), according to study investigators. The combination achieved a 34% response rate, including a complete response of 1% and very good partial response of 9% in this population of MM patients refractory to lenalidomide, bortezomib, or both. [Read Article]

VTE occurs more often in outpatients

Jen Smith Read Article
Published: 12/22/11

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Attendees in session at
the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting
Photo courtesy of ASH

Nearly 80% of venous thromboembolic events (VTE) in cancer patients occur in the outpatient setting, according to research presented at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting. Though most public health efforts to reduce VTE have focused on inpatient prophylaxis, cancer care has shifted primarily to outpatient-based therapy, said speaker Alok A. Khorana, MD, of the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center in Rochester, New York. “So in terms of a public health policy perspective, it becomes important to figure out what proportion . . . [Read Article]

Compound improves engraftment in CBT

HT Staff Read Article
Published: 12/21/11

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Genetically modified zebrafish

Treating cord-blood derived hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) with a compound discovered in zebrafish can enhance engraftment, a phase 1 trial indicates. Leonard Zon, MD, of Children’s Hospital Boston, discovered the compound FT1050 using chemical screens conducted in zebrafish. And preclinical studies have shown that treating HSCs with FT1050 can enhance engraftment without stem cell expansion or differentiation of HSCs to committed progenitors. [Read Article]

Novel export-inhibitor shows activity in CLL

HT Staff Read Article
Published: 12/21/11

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CLL cells

An experimental drug shows promise as a treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and other incurable B-cell malignancies, according to research presented at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting. The agent, called KPT-SINE, belongs to a class of drugs called selective inhibitors of nuclear export (SINE). The agent targets the protein CRM1. During disease progression, cancer cells use CRM1 to shunt certain apoptosis-related proteins out of the nucleus, thereby avoiding cell death. [Read Article]

Results support treating lymphoma during pregnancy

Jen Smith Read Article
Published: 12/21/11

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Administering lymphoma treatment during pregnancy improves survival for the mother and, on the whole, does not appear to hinder fetal development, according to data presented at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting. There was no difference in birth weight between newborns from mothers who received treatment and those who deferred therapy until after delivery. However, among the children delivered from the 48 treated mothers, there was 1 case . . . [Read Article]

Improving guidelines for hematologic malignancies

Jen Smith Read Article
Published: 12/21/11

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A detailed analysis of NCCN guidelines for hematologic malignancies has uncovered some interesting patterns, as well as possible areas for improvement. The investigators found that an overwhelming majority of NCCN recommendations are based on lower levels of evidence, which seems to suggest a need for more randomized clinical trials in hematologic malignancies. But the finding also raises the question of whether such guidelines are an appropriate tool to validate patient . . .  [Read Article]

Aspirin can prevent VTE recurrence

Keely McClain Read Article
Published: 12/20/11

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Cecilia Becattini, MD

Taking aspirin after standard therapy for venous thromboembolism (VTE) may reduce the risk of recurrence, according to data from the WARFASA study. Cecilia Becattini, MD, of University of Perugia in Italy, presented the data at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting (abstract 543). Dr Becattini noted that VTE recurs in 15% to 20% of patients following 6 to 12 months of oral anticoagulant treatment. She and her colleagues hoped that incidence would decrease with . . . [Read Article]

Mutation responsible for most cases of WM

HT Staff Read Article
Published: 12/20/11

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Bone marrow aspirate
showing WM

Researchers say they have identified a genetic mutation that underlies the vast majority of Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia (WM) cases. The research suggests a mutation in the gene MYD88 is the leading culprit in WM and a prime target for new therapies against the disease. Three presentations at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting included data on this mutation—MYD88 L265P—in WM (abstracts 300, 434, and 597).  “We found that tumor cells in 90% of the patients we tested . . . [Read Article]

Paradigm change on the horizon for myeloma treatment

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/20/11

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Antonio Palumbo, MD

Results of a phase 3 trial indicate that lenalidomide maintenance reduces the risk of disease progression by 65% in newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (MM) patients 65 years and older, when compared to the same induction therapy without maintenance. The trial reported the efficacy and safety of lenalidomide (Revlimid) combined with melphalan and prednisone, followed by continuous lenalidomide maintenance. Antonio Palumbo, MD, from the University of Torino in Italy, presented the results . . . [Read Article]

Study supports T-cell infusion after fludarabine

HT Staff Read Article
Published: 12/20/11

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T-cell infusion following fludarabine-based chemotherapy can protect chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients from infections and disease recurrence, according to a new study. The research, presented at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting (abstract 2855), suggests this approach confers prolonged progression-free survival and allows patients to discontinue prophylactic antibiotics. “Fludarabine is a double-edged sword,” said lead study author Stephen J. Schuster, MD, of . . . [Read Article]

Elotuzumab on track for relapsed/refractory MM

Jen Smith Read Article
Published: 12/19/11

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Multiple myeloma cells

Results from a phase 2 study of elotuzumab mirror those observed in phase 1, while also hinting at how to best use the drug in patients with multiple myeloma (MM). Both trials enrolled relapsed and/or refractory MM patients and treated them with lenalidomide, low-dose dexamethasone, and varying doses of elotuzumab. The overall response rate was identical in both studies, at 82%. And progression-free survival had not been reached in either study, at a median . . . [Read Article]

Iron chelation induces high rate of erythroid response

Mark Fuerst Read Article
Published: 12/19/11

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The 53rd ASH Annual Meeting
Photo courtesy of ASH

Iron chelation therapy (ICT) can elicit hematologic improvement in a wide population of patients, including those with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML), new research suggests. Improvements in hematologic parameters have been associated with ICT in transfusion-dependent patients with chronic anemia associated with hematologic malignancies. In the EPIC study, 22% of patients treated with ICT showed erythroid responses. And other reports have shown . . . [Read Article]

Study of 2 sisters sheds light on FL evolution

HT Staff Read Article
Published: 12/18/11

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Two Sisters (1901)
William-Adolphe Bouguereau

A case of a bone marrow donor passing follicular lymphoma (FL) on to her sister has revealed new insights into the disease. Nearly a decade ago, a 41-year-old woman diagnosed with chronic-phase chronic myeloid leukemia received a bone marrow transplant and leukocyte infusion from her sister. These treatments controlled the leukemia, but 7 years later, both sisters developed FL. Although the phenomenon of a donor passing a malignancy to a recipient is well documented . . . [Read Article]

Late relapses rare with ATRA in APL

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/18/11

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Dan Douer, MD

Long-term follow-up of newly diagnosed patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) treated with all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) has demonstrated that late relapses are rare. And the high overall survival achieved after ATRA induction is sustained, according to the long-term follow-up of the North American Intergroup Study I0129. Dan Douer, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, presented these findings at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting.  [Read Article]

Deeper levels of response with nilotinib than imatinib in CML

Mark Fuerst Read Article
Published: 12/17/11

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Photo courtesy of ASH

Twice as many chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients achieve deeper levels of response with the second-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitor nilotinib than with the gold standard imatinib. Three-year data from a phase 3 trial show 32% of newly diagnosed CML patients taking nilotinib reached the deepest levels of molecular response, compared to 15% of those taking imatinib. Another study shows twice as many patients who switched to nilotinib achieved undetectable . . . [Read Article]

Combo improves response in AML and MDS

HT Staff Read Article
Published: 12/17/11

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Guillermo Garcia-Manero, MD
MD Anderson Cancer Center

Adding vorinostat to frontline combination therapy for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and higher-risk myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) resulted in an 85% remission rate, researchers reported at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting. Study subjects received vorinostat in addition to cytarabine and idarubicin. Results of the phase 2 trial set the stage for a phase 3 trial comparing this combination to standard-of-care frontline combinations, the investigators said. “The overall response rates are . . .  [Read Article]

Method improves outcome in UCBT

HT Staff Read Article
Published: 12/16/11

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ASH attendees on escalators
Photo courtesy of ASH

A new method of umbilical cord blood transplant (UCBT) results in quicker immune reconstitution than conventional UCBT, according to a study presented at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting. The researchers co-infused single UCB grafts with ex vivo, CD3/CD28, costimulated, UCB-derived T cells in patients with advanced hematologic malignancies. The main objectives were to determine the safety of this approach and the maximum-tolerated dose of the T cells. But the team also wanted . . . [Read Article]

RESORT trial clarifies rituximab dosing in FL

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/16/11

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Brad S. Kahl, MD

Until now, it was unclear whether rituximab maintenance in low-tumor-burden follicular lymphoma (FL) provided better disease control than observation until retreatment at disease progression. Results of the ECOG RESORT trial E4402, presented at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting, make it clear that rituximab retreatment is as effective as maintenance rituximab in prolonging time to treatment failure. Brad S. Kahl, MD, of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, explained the results . . . [Read Article]

Team uncovers several new mutations in CLL

HT Staff Read Article
Published: 12/16/11

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Catherine J. Wu, MD
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

A large-scale genome analysis has unearthed several new altered genes that drive chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The findings could potentially help predict whether an individual patient’s disease will progress rapidly or remain indolent for years, the investigators said. Their research was presented December 12 at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting (abstract 463) and published simultaneously in The New England Journal of Medicine. The researchers identified . . . [Read Article]

Drugs sabotage DNA repair in pre-leukemic cells

HT Staff Read Article
Published: 12/16/11

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Polycythemia vera

Researchers have found evidence to suggest that PARP inhibitors block the ability of pre-leukemic cells to repair broken bits of their own DNA, causing the cells to self-destruct. These findings were presented at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting (abstract 400) and have already prompted clinical trials of PARP inhibitors in patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). The investigators analyzed the genomes of 144 patients with MPNs and found recurrent deletions of multiple . . . [Read Article]

HSCT effective in treating severe AD

Erilyn Riley Read Article
Published: 12/15/11

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Attendees in a session at
the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting
Photo courtesy of ASH

More than 1500 people with severe autoimmune deficiency (AD) have received hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) over the past 15 years to treat their various disorders, including multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, systemic sclerosis or scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis. Alan Tyndall, MD, of Felix Platter-Spital in Switzerland, reviewed the state of HSCT for autoimmune disease at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting, stressing the need for randomized clinical trials in this patient population. [Read Article]

Ruxolitinib diminishes disease burden in MF

Mark Fuerst Read Article
Published: 12/15/11

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ASH Annual Meeting attendees
Photo courtesy of ASH

Presentations at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting revealed favorable results in myelofibrosis (MF) patients treated with the JAK inhibitor ruxolitinib (Jakafi). The drug maintained a survival advantage and was more effective than placebo or best available therapy (BAT) at reducing spleen volume. This was true in all patient subgroups, regardless of gender, age, mutation status, IPSS risk category, baseline spleen size, MF subtype, or ruxolitinib starting dose. In an updated analysis of the COMFORT-I study . . .  [Read Article]

Deferasirox reduces iron overload in NTDT

Mark Fuerst Read Article
Published: 12/15/11

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Blood smear showing thalassmia

The first placebo-controlled study examining the benefit of iron chelation with deferasirox (Exjade) in patients with non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia (NTDT) shows the drug can significantly reduce iron overload. The study, which investigated whether patients with NTDT and iron overload can benefit from iron chelation therapy as determined by liver iron concentration (LIC), met its primary endpoint, said Ali Taher, MD, of American University of Beirut Medical Center in Lebanon.  [Read Article]

Prognostic model for treatment-related MDS

HT Staff Read Article
Published: 12/15/11

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Chemotherapy drugs

A large-scale analysis of patients whose myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is related to earlier cancer treatment contests the notion that all of these patients have a poor prognosis. Alfonso Quintas-Cardama, MD, of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, presented findings from this analysis December 13 at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting (abstract 967). “MDS patients whose disease springs from earlier radiation, chemotherapy, or both treatments are usually told that they have . . . [Read Article]

Mutation confers risk of recurrence in older AML

HT Staff Read Article
Published: 12/14/11

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Inside the San Diego
Convention Center, site of
the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting,
which took place Dec. 10-13
Photo courtesy of ASH

Older individuals with cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML) have a higher risk of recurrence if they have mutations in the ASXL1 gene, according to a study presented at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting. The study is the first to investigate the influence of these mutations on prognosis in patients with CN-AML and in conjunction with other prognostic gene mutations. It also reports the first gene expression signature for CN-AML with mutated ASXL1. [Read Article]

Method allows non-hematologists to treat lymphoma

HT Staff Read Article
Published: 12/14/11

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The 53rd ASH Annual Meeting
Photo courtesy of ASH

A cooperative approach that matches general physicians and nurses to specialist supervisors from across the globe has enabled curative treatment in pediatric lymphoma patients, according to data presented at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting. This novel strategy teams general physicians and nurses in Rwanda with trained pediatricians and US-based pediatric oncologists. The approach was devised because there are no trained pediatric oncologists in Rwanda, a country of more than 11 million people. [Read Article]

Peptide cocktail elicits immune response to MM

HT Staff Read Article
Published: 12/14/11

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Multiple myeloma cells

Scientists have created a cocktail of immune-stimulating peptides they believe could provoke the body’s defenses to attack multiple myeloma (MM) in its early smoldering phase and slow or prevent the disease. The team’s research showed that combining 4 antigenic peptides derived from MM cells sparked a stronger diverse response from immune defenses than any of the peptides alone. Based on these results, which were presented at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting . . . [Read Article]

HIV drug reduces GVHD

HT Staff Read Article
Published: 12/14/11

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Photo courtesy of ASH

An HIV drug that redirects immune cell traffic appears to significantly reduce graft-vs-host disease (GVHD) following allogeneic stem cell transplant (allo-SCT), according to research presented at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting. In the trial, treatment with the drug maraviroc (Selzentry) dramatically reduced the incidence of GVHD in organs where it is most dangerous, without compromising the immune system. “There hasn’t been a change to the standard of care for GVHD since . . . [Read Article]

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