News from Illinois CancerCare

Research at Illinois CancerCare leads to NEW standard of care in Leukemia that does not require chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy is slowly becoming a thing of the past

Chemotherapy is slowly becoming a thing of the past as new, less toxic cancer treatments are becoming available. A National Cancer Institute sponsored clinical trial titled E1912  partnered with our local Illinois CancerCare and resulted in a major treatment advancement for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients, without the use of any chemotherapy drugs!

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved ibrutinib and rituximab combination therapy as initial treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL).  The results from E1912 show that ibrutinib plus rituximab not only provide better control of the cancer, it also prolonged life and had fewer side effects compared to the previous standard care in untreated patients (aged 70 or younger) with CLL/SLL. Ibrutinib and rituximab are classified as targeted therapies. Targeted therapies are designed to destroy specific cancer cells, while sparing normal healthy cells -unlike chemotherapy. Prior to this FDA approval, the standard treatment given upfront for CLL/SLL consisted of an aggressive chemo-immunotherapy regimen. A new treatment option that is more effective and has less side effects is a major win for our patients!

Important advancements such as this, are made possible by patients that participate in research! Illinois CancerCare significantly contributed to this groundbreaking FDA approval by enrolling 6 patients in the E1912 clinical trial.

Jennifer Anderson, Clinical Research Operations Manager

“NCI sponsored, community based research trials continue to play a major role in progressing cancer treatments forward”, states Illinois CancerCare’s Clinical Research Operations Manager, Jennifer Anderson. “Donations from Illinois CancerCare Foundation help fund our research program. With ongoing decreases in NCI research funding nationwide, our foundation has been instrumental in ensuring that our patients do not miss out on life-changing trials such as this.”

The full press release from ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group can be viewed here.