SEATTLE — Nov. 18, 2016 — Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center scientists are scheduled to present pioneering findings across the field of hematology — from the unique genomic properties of pediatric acute myeloid leukemia to promising immunotherapy clinical trial results — at the American Society of Hematology 58th Annual Meeting and Exposition on Dec. 3 – 6, 2016. What follows is a selection of the more than 40 Hutch presentations at the ASH meeting. Reporters interested in connecting with any of the researchers highlighted below can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Latest immunotherapy trial results for patients with advanced chronic lymphocytic leukemia
Dr. Cameron Turtle, an associate member at the Hutch, plans to present the latest results from an early phase clinical trial of an experimental immunotherapy — genetically engineered T cells that target a marker known as CD19 that is found on chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells. Most of the patients in the trial had previously failed to respond to the drug ibrutinib, a situation in which the outlook is limited. The patients in the trial were treated with CAR T cells, a particular type of modified immune cell, that have been engineered to target CD19. Turtle co-leads the trial with Fred Hutch colleagues Drs. David Maloney and Stanley Riddell.
In poster 1852, Turtle also presents results of his team’s work to identify biomarkers of the toxicity suffered by some patients undergoing CAR T-cell therapy.
First results of immunotherapy trial provide high remission rate for AML patients
Dr. Aude Chapuis, assistant member at Fred Hutch, is slated to present the first results from an early-phase clinical trial involving patients who have recently completed a bone marrow transplant for high-risk acute myeloid leukemia. The patients who were 100 percent cancer free after the BMT received an anti-WT1 T-cell receptor therapy; they remained in complete remission an average of almost two years later. In contrast, more than a quarter of similar patients who didn’t receive the engineered cells had relapsed by then. Chapuis co-leads the trial with Fred Hutch colleagues Drs. Daniel Egan and Phil Greenberg.
Massive pediatric AML genomic sequencing effort informing new treatment strategies
Fred Hutch scientists led studies of childhood acute myeloid leukemia that involved one of the largest-ever genomic sequencing projects undertaken in childhood AML. The data from the project has made it possible to identify mutations that are specific to childhood AML and that could be potential targets that could be the basis for better treatments. AML is fatal for more than half of children with the disease. Several presentations and posters that include the work of Fred Hutch researchers will discuss the latest results from these efforts:
Revolutionary method to prevent graft-vs.-host disease
For some leukemia patients, getting a blood stem cell transplant isn’t necessarily the biggest hurdle they face. Dr. Marie Bleakley of Fred Hutch is presenting her latest results from trials of a new method to prevent a common and often-debilitating side effect of transplant called chronic graft-vs.-host disease, in which the donor cells attack the patient’s healthy cells. By filtering out GVHD-causing immune cells from the donated tissue before transplant, Dr. Bleakley has seen the rate of chronic GVHD plummet to an astounding low of less than 10 percent from a historic average of about 50 percent.
GVHD study so successful it was closed early and brought to clinic
Dr. Brenda Sandmaier of Fred Hutch presents results of a large randomized phase III trial showing the benefits of a new combination of drugs to prevent acute GVHD which is a complication that follows hematopoietic cell transplant. The results are so positive that the trial closed early at the interim analysis so that all patients could receive this combination of drugs following transplant. The new method uses an additional immune-suppressing drug combined with the standard therapy following transplant; the study found that it dramatically reduces their rates of acute GVHD and non-relapse-related death resulting in better overall survival. The research team says this new regimen should now be considered the standard of care for all patients receiving this type of transplant — first developed by Dr. Sandmaier, senior author Dr. Rainer Storb and other colleagues at Fred Hutch — that is typically used in elderly and medically infirm patients.
Leading the way on cord blood transplantation
Members of Fred Hutch’s Cord Blood Program plan to exhibit two posters and present an oral abstract showing evidence of the power of umbilical cord blood stem cells in treating leukemia patients undergoing blood stem cell transplant.