Six Top Medical Institutions Launch Research Alliance Program to ‘CRUSH MDS’, a Rare Form of Blood CancerPosted: March 9, 2016
Joint Effort Expands Experts’ Capacity to Develop Treatments, Find a Cure
Ex-marine Kevin Chambers had always been a strong and powerfully built man. The retired 66-year-old Vietnam War veteran used to work as a professional bodyguard in New York City, providing personal security for major celebrities like Michael Jackson, James Cagney and Barbra Streisand. Last year, Chambers needed a wheelchair and a walker just to get around.
“I got sick in 2014 and felt so strange and weak in so many ways,” said Chambers. After being initially diagnosed with severe anemia along with two other conditions, later test results showed he had atypical myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a life-threatening bone marrow failure disease. Thanks to his daughter, an editor at ABC’s Good Morning America, Chambers was referred to Dr. Gail Roboz, the specialist who treated the show’s co-anchor Robin Roberts for MDS.
Roboz is with the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, one of the six preeminent institutions that form the MDS Clinical Research Consortium (MDS CRC). The others include the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, the Dana-Farber Cancer Center in Boston, MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.
The MDS CRC was created with a grant from the Edward P. Evans Foundation. Suffering from MDS himself, philanthropist Evans was determined to speed up drug development by minimizing excessive “red tape” in clinical research. The CRC is the first collaboration of its kind, and its investigators lead unique, high-quality clinical and laboratory studies aimed at improving the lives of MDS patients. It recently launched a website with a public initiative called the Clinical Repository to Understand, Study and Heal Myelodysplastic Syndromes, otherwise known as CRUSH!!MDS.
The consortium works to accelerate and amplify the research conducted at these leading cancer centers. The beneficiaries are patients like Kevin Chambers, who Dr. Roboz quickly involved in a clinical trial. With careful monitoring of his blood cell counts and reactions to drugs, she was able to customize his care with precision treatments that were regularly adjusted based on his progress.
One year later, Chambers is walking again and his strength has vastly improved. He used to need a blood transfusion every two weeks. Now his transfusions are five weeks apart. He jokes that when he has enough blood, he doesn’t even need to nap. “I work very closely with Dr. Roboz and, if I don’t follow what she says, she kind of gives me hell by thanking me for my medical opinion.” That toughness combined with constant attention to the clinical data is how the specialists CRUSH MDS. For more information visit crushmds.org.
Press release originally posted on AAMDS March 2, 2016
Phase 2, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Azacitidine with or without Birinapant for subjects with Higher Risk Myelodysplastic Syndrome or Chronic Myelomonocytic LeukemiaPosted: January 22, 2015
The Weill Cornell Leukemia Program has recently opened a new clinical trial for men and women who have been diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) or Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMMoL) . The study sponsor is TetraLogics Pharmaceuticals and the principal investigator at Weill Cornell is Dr. Ellen Ritchie. For more information about the study, please call Katherine Hassfurter, RN at (212) 746-4882 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Men and women age 18 and older
- Subjects that have not been treated with hypomethylating agents for MDS or CMMoL
- Histologically confirmed diagnosis of the following conditions:
– Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS)
– Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMMoL)
- Life expectancy of at least 3 months
- ECOG score of 0 or 1
- Detailed eligibility reviewed when you contact the study team
This is a randomized, double-blind, clinical trial for men and women with high risk Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) or Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMMoL). The study is evaluating an experimental drug called Birinapant.
Birinapant is being studied as a potential new treatment for MDS or CML. Birinapant removes certain chemicals (proteins) in a cancer cell which leads to the death of cancer cells. From laboratory and animal studies, birinapant is more likely to cause the death of cancer cells than normal cells. Studies combining birinapant with chemotherapy in the human cancer cell laboratory models showed that the addition of birinapant to chemotherapy can result in further blocking of cancer growth, or overcoming cancer resistance to chemotherapy. In previous research studies, birinapant has shown to be well-tolerated when given alone or in combination with other chemotherapy drugs.
The purpose of this study is to to compare the safety and efficacy (how well it works) of azacitidine plus an investigational drug (birinapant) versus azacitidine plus a placebo (an inactive substance), in patients with higher-risk Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) or Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMMoL).
Dr. Ellen Ritchie Receives $112,200 Contribution to Leukemia Fighters from the Plumbing Industry Promotion Fund of the City of New York and the Association Contracting Plumbers of the City of New YorkPosted: June 3, 2013
The work of Drs. Ritchie, Roboz, Scandura, Gergis, and Feldman, and nurse Tania Curcio was presented at the 2009 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting. The presentation focused on a clinical trial treating elderly AML and high-grade MDS patients. To view the presentation, click here.
Dr. Ritchie discusses the treatments available for acute leukemias.