WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., April 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) salutes Carl June, M.D., of University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and the members of his team, for the latest recognition of their groundbreaking advances in immunotherapy.
Today the Clinical Research Forum announced Dr. June's lab as among its Top 10 Clinical Research Achievement Awards. The awards recognize studies, all published within the last two years, that represent compelling examples of scientific innovation resulting from investment in clinical research.
Dr. June and his colleagues are at the forefront of developing immunotherapies, and LLS has played a vital role in advancing their work with investments totaling nearly $15 million.
Dr. June and his team garnered tremendous attention last year after publishing studies in two prestigious journals demonstrating the use of gene transfer to create therapeutic, leukemia-killing T cells, an important component of the immune system. This story developed over many years since LLS first funded Dr. June in 1998.
The papers, published in August 2011 in The New England Journal of Medicine and Science Translational Medicine, reported that two patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) achieved full remission and one achieved partial remission after receiving engineered immune cells. All three had relapsed after multiple prior therapies and urgently needed something new.
This was a Phase I trial involving three patients to date, so while very encouraging, more trials and longer term evaluation are needed.
This strategy to enhance the anti-cancer activities of a patient's own immune system is likely to have wide application, with the potential to help not only patients with different blood cancers, but with other types of cancer as well.
In 2005, the team helped myeloma patients fight life-threatening infections after transplants and faster than ever before by using a patient's own T cells that had been educated in the lab to fight the infections. In 2009, they used a similar approach to achieve anti-myeloma immune responses in patients after transplant. But the engineered cells didn't last very long. In their current work, the team further improved this immunotherapy. They genetically engineered T cells to be "killer" cells that can destroy many CLL cells and have long-lived "memory" to provide ongoing protection.
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, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.
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 or contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. www.lls.org.
Contact: Andrea Greif
SOURCE The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society