Thursday, July 2, 2015

ESH 2014: The Future Role of FCR and new data on venetoclax and rituximab in CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia) and my latest lab results

I thought I sneak in one last post from LAX before I board my plane to Wroclaw, Poland via Munich.

It is mostly about the new posts on the CLL Society's website and our nonprofit's news, but I wanted to share that my latest lab results from my visit to the infusion center for IVIG remains most boring with a low normal hemoglobin, a high normal platelet count and an absolute lymphocyte count of 1.2.  YEAH! Of course that really matters is the count of clonal B cells and that takes flow cytometry, but at least I know that nothing major is happening. Slow and steady makes me happy.

This week on the CLL Society website we bring the second part of our interview with Professor Michael Hallek of Koln, Germany, the director of the German CLL Study Group and a major CLL researcher and thinker.

He starts by discussing his “fast boat” adaptive trial strategy (similar in many ways to that of Prof. Hillmen in the UK), essentially looking for the most tailored therapy based on not just predictive factors, but also on how we patients actually respond in trials. He is looking for what I call that perfect Goldilocks’ mix of “ as much as necessary, as little as possible” therapy.

In the second half of the interview, he makes a cogent argument for the ongoing use of FCR frontline in select patients. While many of us are not fans of chemo-immunotherapy (CIT), Professor Hallek has strong data to support his perspective. Listen with an open mind.

We also share my comments and background on an important oral abstract presented at the 20th Congress of the European Hematology Association (EHA), June 11-15, 2015 on venetoclax (ABT-199 or GDC-199) and rituximab. In relapsed patients, the total response rate, the complete response rate, the MRD- rate and the ability for some to be able to remain disease free after stopping the drug is important data that you can find here in our 2015 conference coverage section.

We have a significant backlog of important educational material mostly from large conferences such as ASH 2014 and others from 2015 that we plan to post over the next few months.

In a first step to speed up the process, our first high school intern volunteer, the granddaughter of the CLL Society's attorney, has joined us online to help her earn her community service hours by helping us catalog all the videos that we have produced and are storing on the web.

We are working hard to expand what we offer to the tens of thousands of online readers and to actuate our ambitious plans for patient-centric, physician-curated live education and support. One volunteer medical director (yours truly), his unpaid wife and one part-time RN can’t do it all, although I have to say we have made some amazing progress in our mission to meet the unmet needs of the CLL community in the less than 90 days since our nonprofit’s website launched. Our website is #1 in organic Google searches for CLL Society despite having no search engine optimization in place. We are too busy trying to get our content up.

There is so much more we must do. Your suggestions, help, support, donations, ideas, and feedback are what guide us and keep us going.

We remain forever committed to open content for all with no need to sign in or share any of your personal information to see a video or to get the help you need. If you haven’t done so already, we encourage you to please sign up to receive alerts regarding new postings and for our quarterly newsletters (first one will be published in September) and to share with other patients, caregivers or concerned family or anyone whose life is touched by CLL.

The CLL Society will be at iwCLL in Australia in September to cover the news and we are planning an amazing patient meeting the day before the researchers' meeting in Sydney with Lymphoma Australia. 

Stay strong.

We are all in this together.

Brian Koffman

Volunteer Medical Director, CLL Society

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Blogger Allan said...

Thanks again for another outstanding post. Congratulations also for the well deserved steady lab results. Allan

July 3, 2015 at 8:11 AM  
Blogger Jeff Parthemore said...

I have CLL for 10 years and had FCR (remission for 3 years) several other chemotherapies (no rsponse) Dr. John Byrd at OSU then got me in to the PCI-32765 (Ibrutonib) trial. I had a good response for a little over 3 years and then broke through. Started on ABT-199 in Feb 2015. TLS was a real danger for awhile but now everythinng is looking good. Anyone that has Dr. Byrd for a doc is a very fortunate person.

July 6, 2015 at 9:40 AM  

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