Friday, February 1, 2013

ASH 2012: Dr Jeff Sharman interviewed about the new treatments in CLL

My friend and fellow CLLer, Andrew Schorr did a very nice and interesting interview of Dr. Jeff Sharman at ASH 2012.

Dr. Sharman brings up some new and provocative insights on how the researchers misstepped when searching for a specific genetic target in CLL similar to the famously fused Philadelphia chromosome of CML that Gleevec blocked and in doing so, produced low toxicity, durable remission. This breakthrough drug, this targeted oral therapy, revolutionized not just the management of CML, but the whole approach on how we treat or too often, wish we could treat cancer.

As you have heard many times, in CLL, it is more complicated. In CLL, it all about “turned on” pathways than need a brake applied rather than a specific genetic defect. However, as our knowledge of the activated cellular pathways of the cancerous B cell clone improves, so does our ability to intervene. That brings us to the new generation of small molecules including ibrutinib (PCI-32765), idelalisib (CAL-101 or GS-1101), AVL 292, ABT-199 and others in the pipeline.

He shares his experience of one of of his highly refractory patient finally responding to one of the new trial medications and another where idelalisib worked when ibrutinib failed.

He cautions us that it is way too soon to pick winners among the new molecules.

Some of Dr. Sharma’s tropes you have encountered before from the doctors I spoke with at ASH. It is good to witness the building consensus.

Some of you may know Dr. Sharman from his well-written, informative blog on blood cancers and lymphoma. Check it out if you haven't already. You should also know that he has been a pioneer in small molecule research and an energetic force in developing resources to get clinical trials done.  He talks about their paramount importance right now. He forecasts the end of the world of FCR as we know it. He reflects on how well these drugs work for even those with the worst prognostic markers.

Dr. Sharman asked me if I wanted to share the video. I am, of course, happy to get the word out however I can.

So enjoy and take heart.

Soon I will be posting my ASH interviews with Drs. Furman, Kipps, Wierda, and Wiestner.

On a personal note, I am home from a medical conference in San Francisco, but just for a few hours before I take off again to lecture in San Diego.

My health insurance has me in a ridiculous Catch 22. I can not get pre-authorized for my roll-over clinical trial at OSU that continues my lifeline of ibrutinib until I sign the informed consent, but I can't sign the consent until I am ready to roll-over into the new trial. All but two insurance companies that cover the myriad of patients from far away places that come to OSU for trials understand the fallacy of such a policy and do not insist on the signed consent, but mine is one of the two that makes it difficult.

That said, I am sure it will all work out (retroactively) with the help of some real kind, persistent, and hard working people at both OSU and Blue Shield. Just one more thing to worry about in the meantime.

On Monday I leave for cold Columbus to finish one trial and begin the new continuation trial. While there, I will be busy with a bone marrow biopsy, another photo shoot and interview. Guess which one I am not anticipating with joy. Hint: there there will be no camera or recorder involved, but there will be needles.

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Blogger Dragon Slayer said...

I'm amazed you haven't been brought down by that nasty flu with everything you re doing. You are one guy that can juggle work and pleasure trips and make it look easy. Robert and I hope to see you and Patty soon

February 2, 2013 at 7:44 AM  
Anonymous Dave Miller said...


Thanks for all the great videos and information.

You and your audience may be interested in the following very recent video/lecture from Carl June on T-cell therapy progress for CLL:

"Smart T Cell Vaccines: CAR T Cells"

February 3, 2013 at 12:27 PM  

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