Hematology Event Draws Wilmot Scientists, New Data

Dec. 5, 2013

red blood cellsSeveral members of the lymphoma and leukemia teams at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center are to present research at the 55th annual American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting, Dec. 7 to 10, which is attended by more than 20,000 clinicians and scientists.

Jonathan W. Friedberg, M.D., director of Wilmot, is co-chair of the ASH Committee on Educational Affairs and will critique this year’s speakers and then propose topics and design next year’s sessions.

Wilmot faculty presenting data include:

  • Paul M. Barr, M.D., who conducted a Phase II clinical study of the drug Imexon in patients with relapsed or refactory non-Hodgkin lymphoma. This was the first trial to demonstrate that the drug works by affecting a particular cellular pathway. Study results indicate the drug may be a viable treatment for NHL as well as follicular lymphoma.
  • Michael W. Becker, M.D., treats patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and studies leukemia stem cells for clues about why this blood cancer is prone to relapse. This study was the first to characterize the changes that occur in leukemia stem cells during treatment and disease progression. By understanding how stem cells expand in this environment, Becker’s team hopes to improve treatment options for patients.
  • Carla Casulo, M.D., led a study to understand what factors were associated with early death from follicular lymphoma. (Despite recent gains in survival, about 20 percent of patients are at high risk for death after aggressive therapy.) An analysis of 588 patients confirmed that early progression of the disease is linked to poor outcomes, and that five specific biological factors help to define this unique category of patients.