The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), the largest nonprofit dedicated to fighting blood cancers, today unveiled a new brand platform showcasing its work in the fight to cure cancers. “Beating Cancer Is In Our Blood” highlights LLS’s resolve to end blood cancers, the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., and shows that breakthroughs in blood cancer research are now saving lives and being tested in clinical trials for other cancers and diseases, such as brain, breast, kidney, liver, lung, ovarian, pancreatic and prostate cancer, as well as arthritis and diabetes.
Lifesaving discoveries – beginning with chemotherapy and, today, including immunotherapies, genomics and precision medicine – emerged from researching blood cells, which are easier to access and study than cancer cells in solid tumors. LLS has been at the forefront of many of these new innovations; in fact, while 10 percent of all cancers in the United States are blood cancers, approximately 40 percent of all cancer drugs approved by the FDA since 2000 were first approved to treat blood cancers, 60 percent of which of which were funded by LLS.
“The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has invested more than $1.2 billion in research to advance groundbreaking approaches and therapies in cancer treatment, including immunotherapy, genomics and personalized medicine, which are saving lives,” said Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., LLS president and CEO. “Our focus on curing blood cancers has not changed, but our work is fueling significant scientific and medical breakthroughs across the cancer landscape.”
Research breakthroughs in blood cancer treatments are occurring at an ever-increasing rate; last year alone saw 18 new U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approvals for blood cancers, and LLS supported 15 of them.
LLS’s Impact Beyond Blood Cancer
- Among the FDA approvals last year were two revolutionary CAR T-cell immunotherapies, tisagenlecleucel-T (Kymriah®) and axicabtagene ciloleucel (Yescarta®), which harness the immune system by reprogramming the body’s own T cells to find and kill cancer cells, approved for certain leukemia and lymphoma patients who have relapsed or did not respond to treatment. CAR-T has stimulated a new area of cancer research and is currently being tested on solid tumors. For the past two decades, LLS has invested more than $40 million in CAR-T research and development.
- LLS has played a significant role in additional cancer treatment game-changers, including:
- A first in precision medicine, targeted therapy imatinib (Gleevec®) was approved by the FDA in 2001 to treat leukemia patients and is now approved for more than 10 different indications. In 2008, imatinib was FDA approved to treat gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) patients.
- Ibrutinib (Imbruvica®) approved for blood cancers mantle cell lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia, is now in clinical trials for pancreatic cancer, renal cell carcinomas and melanoma.
- Rituximab (Rituxan®) approved for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia, is also approved for autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis.
- Ruxolitinib (Jakafi®), approved for blood cancers myelofibrosis and polycythemia vera, is now in clinical trials for lymphoma, vitiligo, graft versus host disease, breast cancer and alopecia areata.
“Beating Cancer Is In Our Blood” Integrated Campaign
“LLS’s bold pronouncement – ‘Beating Cancer Is In Our Blood’ – puts LLS in its rightful position as a leader in advancing lifesaving therapies and patient support, and drives home the role of blood cancer research in curing cancers,” said Andrew Coccari, LLS executive vice president and chief product officer. The new campaign, created by purpose-driven agency OBERLAND in New York, is founded on LLS’s legacy of funding groundbreaking research in blood cancers, as a way to inform the public that this work is making a significant impact on other cancers and diseases.
Dynamic and powerful :30 and :60 “Tougher Than Cancer” spots directed by Believe Media’s Zack Snyder feature a dramatic compilation of “before and after” vignettes portraying individuals who suffered from cancer. In :30 and :60 “Cancer Survivor” spots, Jessica, Myrrah and Athena share their personal stories of courage in the face of a cancer diagnosis. Radio spots in English and Spanish, digital assets including social and display ads, and out-of-home media round out the campaign, which will also include social media and events. According to DeGennaro, “LLS facilitates and accelerates breakthrough cancer treatments. We need a breakthrough campaign to live up to our mission.”
LLS’s Impact in Helping Patients Get the Treatments They Need
In addition to its success in therapy advancements, LLS has a proven track record improving cancer patients’ access to cures.
- LLS’s advocacy efforts for blood cancer patients are driving impact at the state and federal levels and are universally beneficial for all cancer patients, including a successful initiative to reduce out-of-pocket costs by advancing oral parity laws in 43 states and Washington, D.C., efforts to pass the 21st Century Cures Act into law, as well as our advocacy on behalf of the Childhood Cancer STAR Act, which expand childhood cancer research.
- LLS provides free education and support for cancer patients and healthcare professionals, including vital support for finding and enrolling in clinical trials. LLS works with medical institutions and the FDA to incorporate the patient perspective into the design of these studies, so that the patient experience is front and center in the drug development process.