In this video interview from ASCO 2014, with help from my friends at Patient Power, I interviewed Dr. Mohammed Farooqui from the NIH on the research and trials ongoing at the NIH, his enthusiasm about ABT-199 and the questions he and others are researching on long term use of the novel oral therapies.
Do keep in mind that all trials at the NIH in Bethesda are all free, with or without insurance. They even help with your airfare and hotel, and they are open to anyone in or out of the USA.
The natural history trial on CLL is still actively recruiting and deserves our support. The care one will get at the NIH will be world class. A win-win situation.
It is not surprising to hear the honest response about getting adequate accrual in a chemo-immunotherapy trial is more difficult these days. I have heard similar concerns from other researchers. Now that ibrutinib and idelalisib are approved and available outside of trials, many of us are no longer considering clinical trials, especially where there is a computer randomly deciding whether we get the drug of our choice. Even trials offering an option of free ibrutinib and idelalisib are enrolling more slowly.
Dr. Farooqui shares his excitement about ABT-199. Complete responses (CR), let alone minimal residual disease (MRD) negative responses, are rare with the two approved (though that may be changing as Dr. Burger has some research showing CR and MRD negative responses with ibrutinib and mAb therapy), but CR and MRD- do occur in combination trials with ABT-199.
I keep trying to get an answer to my question that is so pertinent for me and many others: what does it mean to walk around with residual disease (or not). There is still no answer and it will only be revealed with more time and more research. Dr. Farooqui does nicely lay out the possibilities.
Brian Koffman 11/9/14