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The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and The American Society of Hematology (ASH) Team Up to Connect Blood Cancer Patients to Clinical Trials that Can Lead to New and Better Treatments

(Washington, DC, December 6, 2019) - The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and the American Society of Hematology (ASH) announced today a collaboration to expand access to LLS’s unique free service providing clinical trials navigation and support to blood cancer patients and their families. With only approximately five percent of adult cancer patients enrolling in clinical trials, this collaboration aims to bridge this gap and connect more blood cancer patients to appropriate clinical trials.

“There are many obstacles preventing cancer patients from participating in clinical trials including accessibility, proximity and eligibility,” said Gwen Nichols, M.D., LLS chief medical officer. “Low participation in clinical trials can also be due to patients and their healthcare providers simply not being aware of appropriate clinical trials. We are very excited that ASH clinicians and their patients will have direct access to our nurse navigators, freeing up the doctors to focus on patient care.”

The collaboration facilitates a more efficient clinical trial search process by enabling the referring hematologist to provide key clinical details about their patients directly to LLS’s Nurse Navigators. This detailed information in turn helps the Nurse Navigators optimally tailor their search for trials that are most appropriate to patients being referred. LLS is committed to removing barriers patients face in accessing potentially lifesaving treatments and care and is the leading cancer nonprofit providing this personalized service to blood cancer patients, free of charge.

“For many people diagnosed with a blood cancer, time is of the essence when trying to find an appropriate clinical trial,” said ASH President Roy Silverstein, MD, of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. “By partnering with LLS, our hope is to bring this wonderful service to more people while also decreasing the amount of time it takes to match to a trial by streamlining communication among the doctor, patient, and Nurse Navigator.”

Under the agreement, starting in January 2020, ASH, the premier medical society dedicated to hematologic malignancies and other diseases of the blood, will give its 2,500 member clinicians in the U.S. and Canada access to LLS’s free Clinical Trial Support Center (CTSC) through a dedicated portal. CTSC Nurse Navigators, trained in blood cancers, clinical trials and patient education and support, have specialized expertise in working one-on-one with patients to identify appropriate clinical trials based on their diagnosis, overall health status, ability to travel for treatment, insurance restrictions, support systems and other unique factors. Benefits of the collaboration for ASH member physicians and patients include: 

  • Easy access to CTSC Nurse Navigators through the ASH portal 

  • Highly-trained CTSC Nurse Navigators work with patients and families to navigate trial inclusion and exclusion criteria and other potential barriers to enrollment 

  • CTSC Nurse Navigators provide patients and families, and their healthcare teams, free education and additional resources during the clinical trial process 

Before launching this collaboration, LLS and ASH conducted a six-month pilot that gave a small group of ASH physicians direct access to LLS’s CTSC, which opened in 2016. Pilot data showed that the service was highly valued by these ASH physicians.

“This program has been instrumental in getting three of my patients on immunotherapy trials,” said Jennifer Holter-Chakrabarty, M.D., a hematologist-oncologist at OU Medicine in Oklahoma City. “It let me know what trials were open and available. Without it, my patients and I would have had to call numerous trials to check the status, which would have, quite frankly, wasted a lot of time. I think the program allows ASH members to focus their efforts efficiently and effectively. It gives families the peace of mind in knowing they have looked for the best possible cutting-edge science for themselves and their families.”

To access the CTSC Nurse Navigators, ASH member physicians will visit www.hematology.org/clinicaltrialnavigation. They will use a single sign on to log into the ASH portal, and complete and submit the CTSC referral form.

This collaboration is being generously supported by Amgen Inc., a Champion Sponsor of the expansion of the CTSC.

“Amgen is pleased to provide support to ASH and LLS for this collaboration that empowers patients diagnosed with cancer to work with their physicians to make informed decisions about joining a clinical trial,” said Darryl Sleep, MD, senior vice president, Global Medical and Chief Medical Officer at Amgen. “With the increased use of targeted immunotherapies and more sophisticated biomarkers driving personalized oncology treatment, it is more important than ever to deliver approaches that will make clinical trials more accessible, with the hope of bringing new therapies to cancer patients who need them as quickly as possible.”

Other support comes from Seattle Genetics, Inc., Foundation Medicine Inc., Pharmacyclics & Janssen Biotech. 

About American Society of Hematology

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) (www.hematology.org) is the world’s largest professional society of hematologists dedicated to furthering the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting the blood. For more than 60 years, the Society has led the development of hematology as a discipline by promoting research, patient care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology. ASH publishes Blood (www.bloodjournal.org), the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, and Blood Advances (www.bloodadvances.org), an online, peer-reviewed open-access journal.

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, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care. 

Founded in 1949 and headquartered in Rye Brook, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit www.LLS.org. Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET. 

For additional information visit www.lls.org/lls-newsnetwork. Follow LLS on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

Contact: Andrea Greif
Vice President, Communications
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society 
(914) 821-8958 
[email protected]

Contact: Leah Enser 
Communications Specialist 
American Society of Hematology 
(202) 552-4927
[email protected]