Saturday, January 28, 2012

Novel Therapies and Their Integration into Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 18:S132-S13

Dr. John Byrd is the lead investigator on the clinical trial NCT01217749 that is the reason I am flying to Columbus hoping to enroll to procure this exciting new therapy.

Anticipating the future, Dr. Byrd co-authored an important article (Novel Therapies and Their Integration into Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 18:S132-S13) that articulate how the trial drug- PCI-32765 and other promising novel therapies may effect the time and place of transplants in CLL. It is a clear, thoughtful and accessible discussion that I strongly recommend.

On the eve of my departure for Ohio, I sent Dr. Byrd an email expressing how the uncertainty about the durability of the response to these new promising agents might be a good thing

Please tell me what you think.

Dear John,

Thank you for your thoughtful review of this important topic.

Implicit in your review of the evolving therapeutic paradigm for novel therapies and RIC HSCT in CLL is a shift in the calculation that each doctor and each patient must make when dealing with aggressive CLL .

Before the bloom of these new treatment options, an informed patient or hematologist could make a good faith calculation on what gives the better chance of PFS in five or ten years. Although it is always dangerous to compare data from one trial to that in another, and even more so to assume that statistics that are applied to a group can predict what happens to an individual, one could still study the Kaplan-Meier curves for a HSCT and any particular therapy and make at least a partially informed choice.

Now with the promise of the new treatments, the decision to consider a transplant has become more tricky for some. The K-M curves are known on the transplant side of the equation, but what the novel therapies will yield is based on extrapolation of very thin data. We are comparing a known to an unknown. Ironically, with the survival rates so poor for F refractory or 17p del disease, this "unknownness" is a source of hope for some patients and another reason for others with the aggressive or refractory CLL to consider a clinical trial over a more conventional route starting with chemotherapy and moving to transplant.

Thanks again.


What is implicit but not explicit in my letter to Dr. Byrd is how I myself employed precisely this hopeful calculus in my decision of the known versus the unknown.

As I leave tomorrow, I will keep you informed every step on the way.

Wish me luck.

It calls for snow in Columbus tomorrow.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


January 29, 2012 at 7:12 AM  
Anonymous stew said...

Good Luck Brain, a lot of hope for optimism . Keep us informed.
Stew (uk)

January 29, 2012 at 8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brian...when initimab was first used one of the quandaries faced was whether to proceed with HSCT in those patients with CML who had entered into a good remission while on the drug. You know the rest of the story and the very low frequency of HDCT in CML patients today is testimony to the value of those particular kinase inhibitors.

The scenario in CLL isn't do exquisite as it is in CML, but I anticipate that we will observe a similar shift in the use of HSCT (both in absolute #s and in timing) as these new kinase inhibitors emerge.

Good Luck,


January 29, 2012 at 10:07 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Very best of luck...

January 29, 2012 at 6:50 PM  
Anonymous Wendy said...

Best wishes Brian! You are not alone! Stay well and Thanks for everything.

January 29, 2012 at 7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck! Hope everything goes well!

January 30, 2012 at 1:53 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Dr. Byrd's article looks really interesting. Is there any way to get a copy without logging in and paying?
Good luck in Columbus. We'll be thinking of you.

January 30, 2012 at 2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best of luck to Brian, a path finder. More and more of us will probably be following your footsteps, in one institution or another .. taking BTK either as mono-therapy or in conjunction with another drug. I thank you so much for sharing as you travel this new path. All of us are so fortunate to have you, patient and doctor, illuminating the road. The very best to you on this trip.
Malama Pono (stay strong)
Lynn Samuels

January 30, 2012 at 2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prayers are with you, Brian. Everyone is looking for a full recovery for you. What a role model you are for the others that are fighting this disease also. Miracles are out there just waiting to happen.

January 30, 2012 at 3:22 PM  

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