While many are aware of the deadliness of such diseases, most don’t know that major blood cancers including leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma affected more than 162,000 Americans and accounted for more than 9 percent of all new cancer diagnoses according to most recent data. Fortunately, thanks to the work of biopharmaceutical researchers, newly developed medicines that can target cancer at the molecular level are helping patients turn the corner:
- The survival rate for children diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) under the age of 15 rose from 3 percent in 1964 to 92 percent in 2010.
- After decades being considering a death sentence, there is currently a 60.3 percent five-year survival rate for leukemia patients.
- In 2005, patients diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and chronic myeloid leukemia were overwhelmingly treated with chemotherapy as the first-line of their treatment. Today, patients diagnosed with CLL have a range of approved, targeted therapies that can be used throughout their treatment.
- And recently, for the first time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also approved a chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapy for certain pediatric and young adult patients with a form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Despite recent success in the treatment of blood cancers, there is still a great need for the development of new medicines and persistent innovation as it’s estimated that more 54,000 new cases and 100,000 new cases of lymphoma and myeloma will be diagnosed in the next few years.
Right now, biopharmaceutical research companies are developing 247 medicines targeted against leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and other blood cancers—106 of which are being developed specifically for leukemia. These newly developed medications are currently either in human clinical trials or being reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For additional information about the revolutionary work being done in this field, please visit our Medicines in Development: Fighting Leukemia and Lymphoma.