LLS Receives $5M to Support Research Programs in Mantle Cell Lymphoma

LLS Receives $5M to Support Research Programs in Mantle Cell Lymphoma

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) received a $5 million donation from the Sarah Cannon Fund to support two U.S. programs researching mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).

The Sarah Cannon Fund at the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) Foundation is the philanthropic arm of HCA Healthcare. It supports research for mantle cell lymphoma through donations to specialized research programs, such as that of LLS, in the United States and the United Kingdom.

The fund has committed the donated funds to support two leading research programs in the U.S. – one at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, California, and the other at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City.

The City of Hope team will continue the work of Larry Kwak, MD, PhD, in novel immunotherapies to control mantle cell lymphoma. The team will use the grant to develop new antibody-based therapeutics to tackle MCL, as well as exploring combinations of CAR T-cell immunotherapy with targeted agents like Imbruvica (ibrutinib), a drug developed with LLS research funding.

The Weill Cornell team will investigate the efficacy of a therapy approved for breast cancer, Ibrance (palbociclib), for the treatment of MCL. Led by Selina Chen-Kiang, PhD, the team will look into small studies that have shown promise using this approach either alone or in combination with Imbruvica, which is already approved for mantle cell lymphoma.

Because many patients are resistant to Imbruvica, or end up relapsing after treatment, the team will try to understand the causes of the phenomenon and if adding a therapy that boosts the immune system would improve treatment outcomes.

“Despite advances in the treatment of MCL, patients with this disease face a challenging prognosis,” Louis J. DeGennaro, PhD, president and CEO at LLS, said in a press release. “LLS and Sarah Cannon share a commitment to advancing therapies for patients facing blood cancers and providing access to the latest treatments close to home.

“We know considerably more about the molecular basis of MCL now compared to 10 years ago, and we have the potential to further accelerate new treatment options through these research efforts for MCL patients,” DeGennaro added.

Dee Anna Smith, CEO at Sarah Cannon, said people facing cancer “are at the heart of every decision that we make at Sarah Cannon.

“Through cutting-edge research, we are working to transform care for people fighting this disease, aligning with our partners at LLS in our mission to advance the treatment of blood cancers,” she said.

Sarah Cannon is a long-time sponsor of LLS’s Light the Night fundraising campaign, which has raised $3.2 million since it was first established in 2014.

The Sarah Cannon Blood Cancer Network is also a provider of hematopoietic cell transplants for the treatment of certain blood cancers.

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