American Society of Hematology, Dec. 6-9

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The 56th American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting and Exposition

The annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology was held from Dec. 6 to 9 in San Francisco and attracted approximately 22,000 participants from around the world, including hematology specialists as well as clinical practitioners and other health care professionals. The conference featured presentations focusing on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting blood, bone marrow, and the immunologic, hemostatic, and vascular systems.

In one study, Yutaka Niihara, M.D., of Emmaus Medical Inc. in Torrance, Calif., and colleagues evaluated the effectiveness of oral pharmaceutical grade L-glutamine (PGLG) treatment for sickle cell anemia and sickle beta thalassemia.

"For the primary end point, the data revealed a statistically significant 25 percent reduction in the median frequency of sickle cell crises over a 48-week time period," Niihara said.

For the secondary end point, the investigators found a statistically significant 33 percent reduction in the median frequency of hospitalizations over a 48-week time period. Both adult and pediatric patients receiving treatment demonstrated improvement.

"Clinical benefits of the PGLG treatment, as reported in an abstract, include a reduction in the median frequency of sickle cell crises, a lower median frequency of hospitalizations, a reduction in median cumulative hospital days, and fewer cases of acute chest syndrome, with a well-tolerated safety profile," Niihara added.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to Emmaus Medical Inc. (manufacturer of PGLG) and/or Pfizer.

Press Release

In another study, Brent Wood, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues evaluated the outcomes in 1,144 T-lymphocytic leukemia (T-ALL) patients undergoing standard treatment, including children with the early thymic precursor (ETP) immunophenotype (11.3 percent), children with a nearly identical type of T-ALL known as "near-ETP" (17 percent), and children without the ETP immunophenotype (71.6 percent).

"When treated with the regimen used in this study, pediatric T-ALL is associated with an excellent outcome. The ETP subset of pediatric T-ALL shows no difference in outcome compared with other subsets of T-ALL. Minimal residual disease detection is able to stratify patients according to outcome at both end of induction and end of consolidation therapy," Wood said. "Children with T-ALL should no longer be regarded as a uniformly poor outcome subset of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia."

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Wendy Stock, M.D., of the University of Chicago Medical Center, and colleagues evaluated whether adolescent and young adult acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) patients would have better outcomes with pediatric regimens.

"The key finding is that it is feasible and safe to treat young adults with ALL using a pediatric regimen and that survival is much improved compared to historical controls. Based on these good results, the 10403 regimen will serve as a platform for the design of the next U.S. intergroup trial," Stock said. "We believe that this large study confirms other data demonstrating improvement in outcomes for adolescents and young adults treated with pediatric regimens and supports the shift to the use of this approach to treatment for ALL in this population."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to Sigma-Tau, Novartis, and/or Onyx.

Press Release

In the AETHERA trial, Craig Moskowitz, M.D., of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and colleagues found that brentuximab vedotin prolonged post-transplant survival in hard-to-treat lymphoma patients. The investigators compared brentuximab vedotin with placebo in 327 patients at risk of post-transplant disease progression.

"This is the first study in lymphoma to demonstrate that the addition of a maintenance drug after transplant can markedly improve patient outcomes," Moskowitz said in an American Society of Hematology news release. "Given these extremely positive results, we predict that brentuximab vedotin will soon become the standard of care for Hodgkin's lymphoma patients who undergo an autologous stem cell transplant."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical and medical device companies, including Seattle Genetics, the manufacturer of brentuximab vedotin.

Press Release

ASH: Hodgkin's Lymphoma Tx Shows Promise in Small Trial

MONDAY, Dec. 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- In a small new trial, a form of treatment based on the body's immune system appears to be helping patients with Hodgkin's lymphoma for whom other treatments have failed. The study was published online Dec. 6 in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with its expected presentation on Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology, held from Dec. 6 to 9 in San Francisco.

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MONDAY, Dec. 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Reducing factor XI levels with a second-generation antisense oligonucleotide (FXI-ASO) is effective for preventing venous thromboembolism after total knee arthroplasty, according to a study published online Dec. 7 in the New England Journal of Medicine. The findings were released to coincide with the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology, held from Dec. 6 to 9 in San Francisco.

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ASH: Carfilzomib Ups Survival in Relapsed Multiple Myeloma

MONDAY, Dec. 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The addition of carfilzomib to lenalidomide and dexamethasone improves progression-free survival in patients with relapsed multiple myeloma, according to a study published online Dec. 6 in the New England Journal of Medicine. The findings were released to coincide with the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology, held from Dec. 6 to 9 in San Francisco.

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