My journey with LLS started in 2008 as the company I founded, Celator Pharmaceuticals was in the early clinical stages of developing what appeared to be a very promising drug for treating acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). While our results were very encouraging, we were having difficulty raising financing to conduct important Phase 2 clinical trials that would demonstrate how effective this drug could be for improving outcomes of AML patients.
I became aware of the LLS therapy acceleration program (TAP) that was designed to help drugs like ours (named CPX-351) by funding critical clinical trials for promising new blood cancer treatments. It was a perfect fit and the LLS process for evaluating our proposal was effective, efficient and very thoughtful. The TAP funding we received allowed us to conduct two randomized Phase 2 trials, both of which were very positive in showing improved survival for two different AML patient types.
LLS then also provided funding of our subsequent Phase 3 trial and this was a catalyst for raising the funding needed to complete this trial. The results showed the first improvement in the survival of elderly AML patients in over 40 years and the drug (now named Vyxeos) was approved in August of 2017 by the FDA and the submission for approval in Canada is underway. Without the support of LLS, I am not sure whether our drug would have ever been able to be tested appropriately in clinical trials and achieve approval for widespread use. Through all our interactions with LLS, they were always focused on the patient first and were a tremendous partner, working hand in hand with our company to ensure the drug had the best possible chance to succeed in providing a benefit to AML patient. It may not, then, be a surprise that I have been an ardent supporter of LLS with both my time and money to help raise research funding that can produce the next Vyxeos. The money raised is put to very good use and is so important in our fight against blood cancers. I cannot think of a worthier cause to donate to!