Doctors and researchers from the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center, New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive center dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, management, research, screenings, and preventive care as well as survivorship of patients with all types of cancer, recently presented research updates and clinical trial results of more than 20 innovative studies during the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) in New Orleans (December 5-8, 2009). Their research involved some of the most promising cancer-treatment candidates in the pipeline today, including Carfilzomib and Difibrotide, two therapies offering patients new hope in the fight against cancer and the debilitating side-effects of treatment.A quarter of the researchers’ abstracts were accepted by ASH as oral presentations, demonstrating the high-quality research and the cutting-edge trials that are ongoing at the John Theurer Cancer Center. Furthermore, an impressive six researchers were first authors of international and multi-center studies, establishing John Theurer Cancer Center’s leadership role in the fight against cancer.”Our commitment to research allows us to give our patients access to novel therapies and be at the cancer-treatment forefront with experience using some of the newest therapies in development today,” said Andrew L. Pecora, M.D., F.A.C.P., Chairman and Executive Administrative Director, John Theurer Cancer Center. “We continue to broaden our research expertise through investments in our clinical and research talent, technology, and infrastructure improvements, allowing us to utilize only the most rigorous standards available as we strive for excellence in improving cancer outcomes.”The John Theurer Cancer Center has more than 100 open, actively enrolling clinical trials and physicians involved in the most innovative approaches to cancer treatments, such as TOMO therapy, robotics, and developing tissue banks. Much of this research is conducted in collaboration with well-known cancer organizations, such as MD Anderson, the National Cancer Institute and Memorial Sloan-Kettering. This year, the John Theurer Cancer Center expanded its comprehensive research program with a Phase I clinical oncology program, which includes an outpatient clinic and a dedicated inpatient bed facility in the hospital’s inpatient cancer ward.”Our Phase I Program has significantly broadened the new approaches to care we can offer patients,” said Dr. Pecora. “With this facility, we are currently conducting eight Phase I and six Phase I/II clinical trials to validate new treatments for lymphoma, leukemia and multiple myeloma. And we plan to open 10 more Phase I clinical trials in 2010.”ASH Research HighlightsResearch presented at ASH by the John Theurer Cancer Center showcased treatment advancements for cancers of the blood, including multiple myeloma, leukemia, and lymphoma.Oral and poster presentation highlightsPresentations during ASH included:-Phase II ongoing trial of Carfilzomib, a next generation proteasome inhibitor, in patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma adds to the idea that this medication is safe and effective. Led by David S. Siegel, M.D., Ph.D, Chief, Multiple Myeloma, John Theurer Cancer Center, the study achieved impressive overall response and clinical benefit response rates and found Carfilizomib is well-tolerated in a variety of patients with multiple myeloma.- In an international trial design, another study highlighted the remarkable survival rate autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation offers for patients with primary plasma cell leukemia (PCL). Efficacy rates are largely unknown due to the rarity of this disease and the small number of patients. More than 65 percent of patients survived after three years, more than twice that of the allogeneic group. This information points to a safe and acceptable treatment for patients with PCL.- Phase III, international trial involving more than 35 centers compared Difibrotide to control in the treatment of severe hepatic veno-occlusive disease with multi-organ system failure following stem-cell transplantation. The study found that this medication was associated with markedly improved complete response and outcomes.Working with researchers from top cancer centers on yet another Phase II trial, the John Theurer Cancer Center is part of the exciting movement exploring novel nanoparticle medications. In this study, researchers investigated Vincristine Sulfate Liposomes in specific patients with Philadelphia Chromosome-Negative Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Optisomes permit dose intensification by increasing circulation time and slowing release. The result is enhanced tumor penetration and concentration. This study suggests that this unique form of Vincristine could be used effectively as a single agent.