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The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and The International Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia Foundation Partner to Develop Cell Lines to Advance Research

Saturday, September 19, 2009 General News J E 4
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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 6 The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and The International Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia Foundation (IWMF) have partnered in an initiative to develop stable and immortalized Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia (WM) cell lines that would be made widely available to researchers to test potential new treatments for the disease.

WM occurs as low-grade B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, characterized by B-lymphocytes in the bone marrow, and an abnormal level of the protein monoclonal immunoglobulin M (IgM). Though the disease is slow-growing, a curative treatment has yet to be developed. Cell lines are invaluable in understanding the genetics and biology of cancerous cells. The development of a biologically stable and satisfactorily representative WM cell line will enable researchers throughout the world to test their latest ideas on bio-identical cells and thus compare their results with those of other researchers.

Researchers agree that new cell lines are urgently needed as it is widely understood that the three most used existing WM cell lines may not accurately represent the disease.

"Numerous scientists studying WM report that one of the barriers to finding a cure is the lack of a standardized WM cell line," said LLS Chief Scientific Officer Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D. "Together, LLS and IWMF are committed to seeing this critical asset developed in a way so as not to fundamentally change the cellular and functional characteristics of the original tumor, and thus enable researchers to better understand the unique aspects of WM biology and advance more effective treatments for WM patients."

Under the agreement, LLS and IWMF will seek applications and select up to three laboratories to co-fund for up to $100,000 for one year. Continued funding, potentially for up to two additional years, will be contingent on available funds and assessments of progress toward the goal of developing suitable cell lines.

"IWMF has funded several research projects where WM cell lines have been utilized," said Tom Meyers, Ph.D., IWMF vice president of research. "In most cases it is difficult to compare some of the research results because the cell lines are different. This will no longer be the case if this cell line development is successful."

To read about the request for applications or to fill out an application, please visit the following links:

http://www.leukemia-lymphoma.org/graphics/National/Web/WaldenstromsMacroglobulinemiaRFAInformationPacket.pdf

http://www.leukemia-lymphoma.org/graphics/National/Web/WM_LLS_Application_Template.doc

About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society(R) (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 and provides free information and support services.

Founded in 1949 and headquartered in White Plains, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit www.LLS.org or contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. www.lls.org.

About The International Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia Foundation

The IWMF was started in 1994 when Arnold Smokler, a pharmacist, developed the disease and could find little information about it. Initially, he formed a support group in the Washington, D.C. area. By 1998 the organization had grown substantially and it was incorporated in Florida as a non-profit corporation under its current name. The organization has continued to grow with worldwide membership of nearly 4,000. The IWMF provides support to patients and their caregivers, enables patients and caregivers to communicate with one another, sponsors educational forums on the disease featuring prominent doctors and researchers associated with the disease, publishes booklets on the disease and its treatment and supports research aimed at understanding the disease and, ultimately finding a cure. Since 2000, nearly $4 million has been given to institutions conducting research on the disease.

Contact: Andrea Greif, (914) 821-8958 andrea.greif@lls.org

SOURCE The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
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