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The Future of CAR-T Therapy: Can CAR-T Cure CLL?
Two of the first 3 patients treated at the University of Pennsylvania remain in remission more than 10 years later, with no detectable evidence of CLL by any available measure! Claim your seat and show up for class to learn the latest as Dr. Joe Fraietta brings us his beautiful slide set, the authority of his long research and clinical experience, and his unbounded enthusiasm for moving CAR-T science forward; today, November 17 at 2:00 PM ET / 1:00 PM CT / 12:00 PM MT / 11:00 AM PT. Register here for the 60-minute webinar.
CAR-T INTERVIEW: IWCLL 2019 DR. DAVID MALONEY
In this 2019 iwCLL interview with CAR-T expert Dr. David Maloney, we catch him just as he has exited a lively, good natured “debate” with CLL experts: CAR-T vs. “novel/ novel” agents vs bone marrow transplant. The first CLL patients treated with CAR-T were refractory to novel agents and without other good treatment options, short of transplant. Now that CAR-T therapy has proven safety and the door has opened for Phase II trials, which will hopefully create a path to a registration trial leading to approval. Enjoy this interview in which Dr. Maloney shares his vision of a future in which high-risk patients, such as those with 17p deletion, will be treated with CAR-T earlier in the course of their disease in the hope that their lower burden of disease will greatly reduce complications such as cytokine release syndrome and neurologic toxicity.
COVID-19 Vaccine News Pfizer and BioNTech’s big news this week, a promising vaccine against COVID-19 set the CLL community abuzz with hope. Let’s celebrate this exciting vaccine news, but not let down our guard just yet. As this is not a “live” vaccine, but rather a novel “RNA” vaccine, it should theoretically be safe for chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients, though that is not yet proven. The big question remains: Will it be effective? Dr. Koffman cautions that, though this may be the first of many effective vaccines, we will need more than an effective vaccine before we can be safe leaving our homes again. He elaborates on the need for better testing, universal use of high-quality masks, herd immunity, data showing vaccine success in CLL patients, as well as improved treatments. Read more here.
Moderna announced their encouraging vaccine results just as we were “going to press” with this Alert. Stay tuned. More to follow.
COVID-19 Case Study: An asymptomatic CLL patient sheds virus for more than 70 days. This case study describes a female immunocompromised patient with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and acquired hypogammaglobulinemia who became persistently infected with SARS- CoV-2. Though asymptomatic throughout the course of infection, the patient demonstrated prolonged shedding of both infectious SARS-CoV-2 virus and RNA. This study demonstrates that certain patients may remain infectious for prolonged periods of time and highlights the need for further studies to understand risk factors for prolonged infectious SARS-CoV-2 shedding. We know so little about the course of COVID-19 infections in CLL, making this single case report of an asymptomatic patient with prolonged shedding of the virus so important.
Take it with you! CLL Society’s Official COVID-19 Triage Statement
If you missed it last week, check out this letter for your healthcare provider which may help you be attended to faster should you have any COVID-19 symptoms. CLL Society has authored an Official Statement to help you help your healthcare providers understand CLL patients’ unique vulnerabilities to COVID-19 and our higher risks of serious complications.
If You Haven’t Already Requested a FREE KN95 Mask, Act Now!
Look at what the CLL Society covers: Breaking News! All the major blood cancer conferences! Clinical trials! We cover you with an expert 2nd opinion through our Expert Access™ Program. We cover you emotionally with 35 Support Groups across the country. And now… Week 4 of our covering you with masks! Cover to cover, we’ve got you covered! Click here to find out how.
It’s “Picture Week” at the CLL Society. If you’ve received your KN95 mask from CLL Society, wear your mask, post a picture to social media and smile with your eyes! Tag us using @CLLSociety and #CLLSocietyPPE in your post.
CLONAL EVOLUTION INTERVIEW: ASH 2019 DR. ADRIAN WIESTNER
In this ASH 2019 interview with Dr. Brian Koffman, Dr. Adrian Wiestner helps us build our understanding of the role of clonal evolution in the development of treatment resistance. Dr. Wiestner explains that, although CLL tumor cells are clonal (originating from one cell), they can change (mutate) and the CLL can become resistant to treatment over time. It is unknown whether the treatment itself provoked the clonal evolution that caused some cells to develop a diversity allowing them to survive exposure to treatment, or if these mutated cells were present all along and became dominant only after treatment had eliminated those cells which were sensitive to the treating agent. Combination therapy may help overcome this to some degree.
UK APPROVAL NEWS
NICE gives green light for the chemotherapy-free combination of venetoclax plus obinutuzumab for all front-line CLL patients in the UK. Read more here.
EU APPROVAL NEWS
Calquence (acalabrutinib) is a 2nd generation BTK inhibitor with a different side effect profile than ibrutinib. It is already approved in the USA and other countries and is now approved in Europe. Read more here.
TERRY EVANS INTERVIEW
CLL Society Support Groups: Meet Terry Evans! A 20-Year CLL Survivor and the CLL Society’s Director of Support Groups. In isolation, we are having conversations with and sharing our worries about our CLL with only ONE person: Ourselves. This is too big a burden to place on ourselves alone. In this interview, Terry Evans warmly invites you to experience something better. CLL treatments are better than ever. CLL patients are living longer than ever. Find out about this in CLL Society’s CLL-specific Support Groups. Did you know that we currently have over a thousand CLL patients and caregivers meeting monthly through Zoom, experiencing camaraderie with other CLL patients and caregivers, sharing their CLL questions and finding great help in over 35 CLL Society CLL-specific Support Groups across the US? Having CLL is the norm here and we all want to be well. So, join the party! Let us help you to “front-load your knowledge”, put together a great healthcare team, and learn to discern what is meant by “best possible care” because we don’t want you to get the wrong treatment! Outsource your worry. Feel the warmth and support of our community, top being alone. Watch Terry’s video and take better care of yourself. You belong here. Join a CLL-specific Support Group today. More than a thousand CLL patients and caregivers are talking every month and they are waiting for YOU!
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Thank you and stay safe!
We are all in this together.
Co-Founder & Communications Director
CLL Society Support Group Meetings Coming Up!
CLL Society Support Group meetings have moved to a virtual platform for most locations due to the threat of coronavirus. Support group members will receive an invitation to register for the meeting from the support group facilitator. If you are new to the group, please contact the RSVP email for the Support Group in your region. Once it is safe again, we will resume in-person meetings.
Visit the individual event listings on our website for the most up-to-date information on all CLL Society Support Group meetings.