Healthy Living

Students Raise Money for Lymphoma While Competing for Scholarship Prize

Students Raise Money for Lymphoma While Competing for Scholarship Prize

Students Raise Money for Lymphoma While Competing for Scholarship Prize

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, also known as LLS, exists as a voice for all patients with blood cancers. The society strives to cure lymphoma, leukemia, myeloma, and Hodgkin’s disease, as well as improve the quality of life for both patients and their families. Through its chapters across the United States and Canada, LLS is focused on finding cures and certifying access to affordable treatments for patients with blood cancers. They hope to be able to close the gap between academic discovery and drug development, all the while accelerating the development of new, high-quality treatments.

The LLS's Students of the Year Program allows students to participate in a fundraising competition to benefit the LLS's mission.

Major advances of the LLS

So far, LLS has made two major advances. One particular advance occurred in 1999-2000, with a type of therapy known as targeted therapy. Characteristic of this therapy is the drug called Glivec, which helps treat chronic myeloid leukemia. Research for this drug was funded by LLS and it was approved by the FDA in 2000, with a uniqueness for targeting cancer and not harming the ‘good’ cells of the body. With the help of this drug, over 90% of recently-diagnosed patients with CML experience remission.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society was founded in 1949 by a mother and father who had lost their 16-year-old son to a battle with leukemia. At the time, their goal was to raise money to help fund research on leukemia and find a cure. “And frankly, we’ve been true to their guidance ever since. As you mentioned, last year, we jumped a major milestone–we’ve deployed over 1 billion dollars to support research worldwide. That support has led to the discovery of virtually every modern therapy used to treat the blood cancers. Cancers of the blood affect the red blood cells, the white blood cells, the bone, and bone marrow. They are a class of about 140 different diseases–the ones people are most familiar with: leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and then a host of other more rare diseases. Something that your listeners might be interested in knowing…and perhaps would find shocking… is that when you take these diseases together as a group–the blood cancers–they are the third largest cancer killer in the United States. And this provides a huge unmet medical need. Again, that’s why The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society exists. We exist to find cures, and to make certain that patients have access to those life-saving therapies,” said Dr. Louis DeGennaro, president and CEO of LLS.

Over the last decade, LLS has partnered with several biotechnological and pharmaceutical companies in an attempt to accelerate the approval of new drugs. With a new program known as the Therapy Acceleration Program, both LLS and these companies have been able to bring key players together, so that patients can have access to the latest, most innovative, and most effective treatments available. “The goal is exactly what the name suggests: accelerate the rate at which new therapies are brought into the healthcare arena for blood cancer patients. And we did this by surveying the landscape of these small companies, finding those companies that had agents that we believed were promising for the treatment of blood cancers. And then we partnered with those companies, providing non-dilutive capital. And far more!  We provide expertise and access to key opinion leaders. We even bring the, if you will, The Good Housekeeping Seal of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society,” said Dr. DeGennaro. 

Read on to learn more about how the LLS helps students.