ASCO 2014: Dr. Farooqui on Trials at the NIH, ABT-199, and Issues of Long Term Oral Therapies in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
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 any one 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 also shares my 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- more on this important data point later), 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.
Soon I will be posting some great audio only interviews from ASCO 2014 with Drs. O'Brien, Byrd, and Sharman. Next month I will be reporting from both ASH 2014 and early next week from the International Conference on New Concepts in B Cell Malignancies: From molecular pathogenesis to personalized treatment but this is your last chance to see me with a goatee on camera.
I have not been home for more than a few days at a time in over a month. After next week, I will have been at six medical conference, in two continents, in 6 different cities, lecturing on five different topics from alternative medicine to gout to CLL. ASH in San Francisco, a short vacation in Yosemite and maybe a quick turn-around trip to London to speak on CLL are on tap before the years' end.
This crazy schedule needs to stop.
And it will.
My plan and commitment to you is that in the very near future my focus will narrow from teaching about a variety of medical topics to only focusing on my passion to spread the news about CLL and related B cell lymphomas. I have big plans and I will need your help and support to make them come true. More to follow soon. (There is a hint of the exciting news to come in the interview).