WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., May 22, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) today announced a $4 million commitment by the Harry T. Mangurian, Jr. Foundation to support a groundbreaking collaboration between LLS and with Brian Druker, M.D., of Oregon Health and Science University to "Beat AML."
With treatment options for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) largely unchanged in 30 years, Druker and his team at OHSU are creating a network of collaborators, including technology companies with advanced computational analysis and genetic sequencing expertise, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and other medical research institutions. The Beat AML initiative will involve 900 AML patients to develop a profile of the molecular drivers of the disease. As the information is gathered, researchers from four medical institutions will simultaneously test the response of patients' leukemia cells to different targeted therapies and novel combinations. The goal is to eventually match patients with treatments that precisely target their leukemia.
Harry T. Mangurian, Jr., for whom the foundation is named, was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome which morphed into AML. Mangurian, who operated a race horse breeding farm in Florida and once owned the Boston Celtics, died in 2008.
"It is our hope that through our support of LLS and Beat AML, we can help to find cures for the thousands of patients battling this aggressive disease," said Stephen G. Mahallis, president & chief executive officer and Gordon W. Latz, vice president of the Foundation. "It is our honor to recognize our founder, Harry T. Mangurian, Jr., and carry out his legacy through this mission-critical work."
Druker's successful approach to developing Gleevec ®, a targeted therapy for chronic myeloid leukemia, and LLS's critical contribution to that effort, are the model for the Beat AML project, first announced in September.
"We are hoping to do for AML patients what has been achieved with CML: take a blood cancer that was, with few exceptions, a death sentence, and enable patients not only to survive, but to enjoy a longer, richer quality of life," Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., LLS's interim president and chief executive officer, and chief mission officer, said. "LLS is focused on finding cures and ensuring access to therapies for all blood cancer patients and our priority is to employ the best science to help us address critical unmet medical needs, which is why we are partnering with the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, a leader in developing targeted therapies."
The Harry T. Mangurian Jr.-Beat AML fundraising initiative is being led by Michael Copley, who lost his daughter, Carley, to AML when she was only three. To date, LLS has raised $6.1 million toward the initial fundraising goal of $8.3 million. The project is a part of OHSU's broader undertaking to find cures for all cancers.
AML is the most common type of acute leukemia among adults, causing more than 10,000 deaths each year in the U.S. It is a particularly devastating blood cancer, with less than 25 percent of newly diagnosed patients surviving beyond five years.
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, multiple myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care.
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. Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.
Tel: (914) 821-8958
Cell: (914) 772-3027
SOURCE The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society