Here is good news for a number of my fellow patients and caregivers who feel the direction of most myeloma research is misguided. They lament all of the time and money being spent trying to make multiple myeloma a “chronic disease,” instead of an all-out push to find a cure.
Apparently, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) agrees! Read this press release the LLS sent out Friday:
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: Accelerating Cures Must Be a Priority
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., April 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Once again, the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer shows a continued decline in diagnoses and deaths for many types of cancers. This encouraging news can be attributed primarily to preventive measures such as cessation of smoking and improved diet, and early detection.
But for many cancers, such as the blood cancers, early detection is rare, there are no measures that can be taken to prevent the onset of the disease, and they are still killing too many. In these cases, the only solution is continued research to find better treatments and cures once the diagnosis is made.
It is for this reason that many voluntary disease organizations have created programs to accelerate therapies from laboratories to patients. We recognize that funding research is costly and difficult, particularly in these trying economic times, particularly for orphan diseases such as blood cancers where producing these treatments may not always be cost-effective for drug companies.
We have to be more proactive and innovative in our approaches to funding drug development, not only funding laboratory research, but also partnering with biotechnology companies on high-prospect research projects, or by providing much needed expertise to help academics bring their discoveries to market. We are continually searching for new ways to ensure that scientific discoveries are not stuck collecting dust on academic shelves, but are given the boost they need to cross the chasm that swallows so many promising findings.
The Federal government also recognizes this need to get more treatments to patients faster. A key provision of the federal Affordable Care Act that has received little attention is the creation by Congress of the Cures Acceleration Network (CAN). This program, which would be administered by Frances Collins, Ph.D., director of the National Institutes of Health, would authorize grants to patient advocacy organizations, universities, biotechnology companies, research institutions or pharmaceutical companies, and would also provide the expert guidance necessary to move those discoveries forward.
The potential for these public-private partnerships to succeed is great, but only if there is real funding behind it. Congress is weighing drastic cuts to cancer research funding that would jeopardize this and other critical programs. Nonprofit organizations such as The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and Michael J. Fox Foundation have seen these partnerships bear fruit. If Congress gets on board and funds this program, there is no doubt that more lives will be saved.
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.
Go to http://www.lls.org/ to learn more. Good for you, LLS! Keep fighting to help find cures for blood cancers!
My only suggestion: Can’t we get “multiple myeloma” added to your name? I think Leukemia, Lymphoma & Multiple Myeloma Society (LLMMS) has a nice ring to it! Heck, go ahead and drop the “multiple” from the new name and go with Leukemia, Lymphoma & Myeloma Society (LLMS) if you want to streamline the name change…
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat