Steve Jobs' Death Highlights Critical Need for New Therapies for Pancreatic Cancer

Blood Cancer Therapies Advanced by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Are Being Tested for Pancreatic Cancer

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Oct. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) joins in grieving the untimely death of Apple Co-Founder Steve Jobs from pancreatic cancer. Jobs' death comes on the heels of other high profile deaths from the disease - those of Nobel Laureate Ralph Steinman last week, and actor Patrick Swayze two years ago.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110215/NY48642LOGO)

These deaths bring to light a disease with an extremely poor prognosis for which there are limited therapies. The five-year relative survival rate for this patient population is less than five percent.

But better news may come in the form of therapies originally approved to treat patients with blood cancers. Roughly 50 percent of the cancer drugs approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in the past decade were first approved to treat patients with a form of blood cancer. Many of these drugs are now commonly used to help additional patients and some are showing promise against certain solid tumors, including pancreatic cancer.

LLS helped advance Revlimid®, a drug that can enhance anti-cancer immune responses and block cancer-feeding blood supplies. It is FDA-approved for patients diagnosed with myeloma or myelodysplastic syndromes.  Based on exciting laboratory results, Revlimid is now being tested with a standard chemotherapy in clinical trials for pancreatic cancer patients.

Likewise, LLS funded research advanced Zolinza®, a first-in-class enzyme-targeting drug that can kill cancer cells by reprogramming critical gene activities. Zolinza is FDA-approved to treat certain lymphoma patients, and being tested in clinical trials for pancreatic cancer patients.

"The passing of the visionary Steve Jobs was a truly sad occasion and his death has brought attention to a deadly cancer for which there are very limited options for patients," said LLS President and CEO John Walter. "But as with many other diseases, therapies originally developed to treat patients with blood cancer are showing real promise and we are hopeful that these advances will one day soon help patients with pancreatic cancer."

About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society ® (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.  

Founded in 1949 and headquartered in White Plains, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit www.LLS.org or contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. www.lls.org.

Andrea Greif
(914)821-8958
[email protected]

SOURCE The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

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