Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Launches New Program to Halt Progression of Myeloid Blood Cancers

The LLS and Janssen Research & Development, LLC  have committed $1.7 million for the initiative

White Plains, NY (October 28, 2014) – The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has initiated a program to fund research projects seeking to better understand and, ultimately, stop progression of certain types of blood cancers from early-stage malignancies to much more lethal states of disease.

LLS Launches New initiative to halt the progression of blood cancers

The types of early-stage blood cancers the program will focus on are the “myeloid” diseases, such as myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), both of which can progress to the more deadly acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Janssen Research & Development, LLC is co-sponsoring the program with LLS, and together the organizations have committed to providing a combined $1.7 million for the initiative. LLS is issuing a request for proposals with the intent of funding research projects at $400,000 each for a period of three years. The grants will be administered as part of LLS’s new “Transforming Cures Initiative – Intercepting Progression to Advanced Myeloid Blood Cancers.”

This comes on the heels of the summer’s “MPN Challenge” announcement – The MPN Research Foundation and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) are proud to announce that ten new research projects will receive funding through their collaboration, renamed MPN Challenge in 2014.

“LLS is committed to advancing research to address critical unmet medical needs,” said LLS Chief Scientific Officer Lee Greenberger, Ph.D. “The five-year survival rate for acute myeloid leukemia patients remains dismal, at approximately 20 percent, so any progress we can make to halt early-stage diseases before they progress to AML would be a tremendous advance for patients. Beyond this, the molecule defects in MDS and MPN are beginning to be understood, which leads the way to early intervention with novel therapeutic approaches. We greatly appreciate Janssen’s vision in supporting this important initiative.”

Researchers who apply for these grants will focus on identifying the molecular drivers that cause progression to leukemia and/or working toward development of treatment strategies for early interception of the disease.

Transforming CURES Initiative

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is proud to announce the “Transforming CURES Initiative (TCI) – Intercepting Progression to Advanced Myeloid Blood Cancers,” a new Request for Proposals (RFP) to identify and develop novel, safe and effective treatment paradigms for patients with hematological malignancies. The near term goal of this program is to advance the scientific and medical understanding of myeloid disease progression from an early stage to frank malignancy. LLS is very pleased that Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson, will be sponsoring this initiative, in part, along with LLS.

LLS is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services to patients and their families.

The RFP and Guidelines & Instructions are available below:

Click here to download the 2014 TCI RFP

Click here to download the 2014 TCI Guidelines & Instructions

Description of the Awards:
The overall goal is to understand the molecular hematopoietic events that mediate progression of myeloid malignancies from chronic pre-leukemic, or early stage myeloid disorders, such as myelodysplastic syndromes or myeloproliferative neoplasms, to frank hematologic malignancy that could lead to novel therapeutics to control such disease progression. Proposal topics of interest might include, but are not limited to:

  • Identify the molecular, cellular and epigenetic drivers of progression to leukemia
  • Identify the role of the immune system in progression from molecular alteration to full blown leukemia
  • Understand the role of the microenvironment in enabling disease progression
  • Develop predictive preclinical models to assess disease progression
  • Develop immunologic and/or molecular monitoring approaches
  • Develop treatment strategies and/or approaches for early interception (vaccines, nutraceuticals, drugs…etc.

This RFP represents an innovative LLS research grant paradigm; TCI projects should, if successful, have a measurable impact on the diagnosis or treatment of patients with hematologic malignancies over the next 5 to 10 years by intercepting myeloid malignancies prior to disease progression. Proposals must include specific timelines, milestones and deliverables that researchers believe are achievable with their proposed funding. The funding available is $400,000 total over a period of 3 years.

Additional funding for projects that have demonstrated exceptional progress in the initial 3 years may be available, subject to review by LLS and by continued support by Janssen. Additional funding is not guaranteed for any of the projects, and is contingent on the achievement of the project goals. The LLS Research Department staff will work with researchers to monitor progress and provide insight and expertise to each project.

Both LLS and Janssen are committed to supporting early stage, foundational research as well as new therapy development.

Special Considerations for Grantees and Their Institutions:
In addition to LLS’s standard terms and conditions for academic grant awards, TCI also includes the following requirements. As part of the sponsorship agreement with Janssen, academic institutions and researchers will have to agree that LLS can prepare and provide research updates once a year via a confidential project summary to Janssen. Each applicant to the TCI is required to have his or her Institution certify agreement with LLS’s IP terms and participation in the Transforming CURES Initiative at the time of application submission. For questions regarding this policy please contact Research Administration.

The applicant and Sponsoring Institution must register independently with the LLS Research Portal site powered by FLUXX in order for applicant to apply. Timelines and deadlines for the application process are shown below.

To apply please visit FLUXX by visiting the following url: http://lls.fluxx.io

Call for Proposals    October 2014
Letter of Intent Deadline    January 15, 2015, 3:00 PM ET
Full Application Deadline    February 27, 2015, 3:00 PM ET
Scientific Peer Review Committee    May 2015
Notification of Awards    June 2015
Anticipated Funding Start Date    October 2015

For additional questions regarding LLS grant programs, eligibility and application processes, please contact Nikay Thomas, Director of Research Administration at Nikay.Thomas@lls.org or (914) 821-8301.

About David Wallace

Founder of PV Reporter, a resource for Myeloproliferative Neoplasm (MPN) patients and caregivers. After being diagnosed with Polycythemia Vera (PV) in 2009, I utilized social media to connect with "informed patients" and develop a better understanding of emerging treatment options. My philosophy on patient care is straight forward - "educating the patient is essential, so the patient can guide their physician to meet his or her needs." PV Reporter is a comprehensive resource hub giving visitors vital tools to become "empowered patients."

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