Hematology Pipeline: Baby Steps After a Giant Leap

Marie Rosenthal, MS
Published: Thursday, Jun 21, 2012

There are thousands of clinical studies in progress for hematologic malignancies, but many are in phase I or II trials, so it may be some time before the most promising compounds add new weapons to the hematology armamentarium, where they are sorely needed.

More than 1 million people suffer from a hematologic malignancy in the United States, and every year another 148,000 men, women, and children are diagnosed with lymphoma, leukemia, or myeloma.

Dr. Marshall A. Lichtman

Marshall A. Lichtman, MD

“We are still relying principally on the same two drug types to treat acute myeloid leukemia (AML) that we used 40 years ago: cytarabine and an anthracycline antibiotic such as daunomycin,” said Marshall A. Lichtman, MD, professor in the departments of Medicine, Hematology/Oncology, and Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in New York. “This demonstrates the need for a broad and aggressive research program, new paradigms, and genius,” to find new therapies for these cancers.

Dr. Joseph A. Bertino

Joseph A. Bertino, MD

“At first, tipifarnib didn’t do well because the percentage of remissions was low,” said Joseph A. Bertino, MD, professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, interim director of the Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey and The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey–Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

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