Weill Cornell physician-scientists present latest cancer findings at ASH Meeting

December 08, 2007

Material Embargoed Until Day and Time of Specific Presentation

NEW YORK (Dec. 8, 2007) -- Leading hematologists at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center are presenting new basic and clinical research findings at the 46th annual American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting in Atlanta, Dec. 8-11.

Among the presenters, Dr. Andrew I. Schafer, president of ASH, chairman of the Department of Medicine and E. Hugh Luckey Distinguished Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, and physician-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, will be chairing and co-chairing several special lectures (see below).

Highlights from the 45 symposium presentations and posters to be made by NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell physician-scientists include the following:

New Drug Dramatically Improves ITP Blood Disorder [568]
Simultaneous Session: Novel Therapy for ITP
Monday, December 10, 1:30 p.m.
Authors: Drs. David J. Kuter (Mass. Gen. Hospital), James B. Bussel, et al.

Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) is an autoimmune disease that dramatically reduces the number of platelets in the blood, leading to bruising, nosebleeds and, sometimes, life-threatening brain hemorrhages. Findings published in last week's New England Journal of Medicine, from Dr. James Bussel and his team, demonstrate that a new investigational drug -- eltrombopag -- is highly effective, dramatically boosting platelet counts and lowering bleeding in nearly 80 percent of subjects with the condition in an international multicenter phase II clinical trial. Current treatments include large doses of steroids, causing side effects that include weight gain, water retention and fatigue. Some patients even require surgical removal of the spleen. Side effects of eltrombopag were found to be comparable to placebo. Dr. Bussel will announce new preliminary findings from the Phase III trial during his oral presentation. Dr. Bussel, principal investigator, and patients are available for interviews.

Two-Year Update: Long-Term Use of Drug for ITP [568]
Simultaneous Session: Novel Therapy for ITP,
Monday, December 10, 2:15 p.m.
Authors: Drs. James B. Bussel, D.J. Kuter, et al.

Dr. Bussel is also presenting follow-up data looking at the compound AMG 531. Last year, Dr. Bussel presented data from phase I/II in NEJM, showing that the compound is highly effective in raising platelets in subjects with ITP.

Agent for Chemotherapy Side Effects" [615]
Simultaneous Session: Clinical Care: Transplantation Regimen Toxicities and Engraftment-Regimen-Related Toxicities
Monday, December 10, 3:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Authors: Dr. Michael W. Schuster, et al.

Mouth sores are a painful side effect of chemotherapy, which strips the mouth of its protective mucous membrane. Dr. Michael Schuster will present research from his team examining a drug called Velafermin -- a fibroblast growth factor -- for rebuilding mucous membranes in the mouth.

Antibody Studied for Leukemia [159]
Simultaneous Session: Acute Myeloid Leukemias: Therapy, Excluding Transplantation-Immunotherapeutic Approaches
Monday, December 10, 8:00 a.m.
Authors: Drs. Azra Raza (University of Massachusetts), Gail J. Roboz, et al.

Researchers will present data on lintuzumab, an antibody to the protein CD33, which appears on certain acute myeloid leukemia cells. The antibody has activity against leukemia alone and possibly in combination with other agents.

Protein in Bone Marrow May Promote Cancer Growth [5183]
Special Symposium on the Basic Science of Hemostasis and Thrombosis: Thrombogenesis, Metastasis and Angiogenesis
Tuesday, December 11, 3:45 p.m.
Authors: Dr. Katherine A. Hajjar, et al.

For continued growth and metastasis, tumors need blood vessel growth -- angiogenesis -- to supply oxygen and nutrients. Dr. Katherine Hajjar and her research team have learned that blood vessel growth is slowed in genetically manipulated mice, missing a gene to produce a protein -- Annexin A2 -- found in bone marrow, and other tissues. The mice had slower growing and smaller tumors. When researchers transplanted normal bone marrow back into the mice, the tumors began to grow. The researchers found that there were fewer pericytes -- cells that stabilize new blood vessels -- in the tumors when the mice were deficient in Annexin A2. The researchers believe that this protein may be a novel target to explore for new cancer drug therapies.

Poster Highlights:

New and More Effective Delivery System for Cancer Drugs [900]
Poster Session: Acute Myeloid Leukemias: Therapy, Excluding Transplantation I
Saturday, December 8, 5:30 p.m.
Authors: Dr. Eric J. Feldman, et al.

Dr. Eric Feldman and his colleagues have found that packaging two already-used chemotherapy agents -- cytarabine (Ara-C) and Daunorubicin -- together inside a liposome (CPX-351), a spherical molecule resembling a bubble made from lipid (fat) molecules, is highly effective in subjects with advanced leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) who have failed traditional chemotherapy treatment.

Combination Chemotherapy Drug Therapy Well-Tolerated for Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma [3419]
Poster Session: Immunotherapy for Lymphoma, Including Radio-Immunotherapy
Monday, December 10, 5:00 p.m.
Authors: Dr. John P. Leonard, et al.

Dr. John Leonard presents data showing that the combination of epratuzumab and rituximab, in addition to being well-tolerated, demonstrates effectiveness in treating non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and can result in complete remissions in some patients.

Drug Aids in Stem Cell Collection for Multiple Myeloma [3024]
Poster Session: Clinical Care: Transplantation Regimen Toxicities and Engraftment II
Monday, December 10, 5:00 p.m.
Authors: Tomer Mark, Dr. Ruben Niesvizky, et al.

Patients with Multiple Myeloma undergo therapy with Lenalidomide. However, such treatment often interferes with the harvesting of their stem cells for future treatment. Tomer Mark and Dr. Ruben Niesvizky have found that treating donors with cyclophosphamide boosts stem cell numbers and improves transplantation outcomes.

Gene Identified in Severity of Blood Disorder [2530]
Poster Session: Myeloproliferative Syndromes: Clinical and Molecular Profiling
Sunday, December 9, 6:00 p.m.
Authors: Dr. Richard T. Silver, et al.

Polycythemia Vera is most popularly identified with abnormal increase in red blood cell production, among several other symptoms. Dr. Richard Silver and his team of researchers have identified a gene -- JAK2V617F -- found in higher numbers in patients with the disease. Also, the larger the quantity of the gene in the body, the more severe the symptoms were in patients. The researchers also found a trend, though not statistically significant, between higher numbers of the gene and cardiovascular disease events.

Dr. Andrew I. Schafer, President of ASH
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, located in New York City, is one of the leading academic medical centers in the world, comprising the teaching hospital NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medical College, the medical school of Cornell University. NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine, and is committed to excellence in patient care, education, research and community service. Weill Cornell physician-scientists have been responsible for many medical advances -- from the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer to the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial for gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, the first indication of bone marrow's critical role in tumor growth, and, most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. NewYork-Presbyterian, which is ranked sixth on the U.S.News & World Report's list of top hospitals, also comprises NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/The Allen Pavilion. Weill Cornell Medical College is the first U.S. medical college to offer a medical degree overseas and maintains a strong global presence in Austria, Brazil, Haiti, Tanzania, Turkey and Qatar. For more information, visit www.nyp.org and www.med.cornell.edu.

NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center

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