B lymphocyte cells targeted in new research

Non-profit patient support groups are incredible. They do so much for patients and caregivers, but I love it when organizations cut out the middle-man and do some innovative work directly with biotech firms.

This just in:

LLS and FORMA Therapeutics, Inc. announced a deal to discover and develop small molecule compounds against a key lymphoma target B-cell lymphoma 6 protein (Bcl-6). B lymphocyte cells are an important component of the body's immune system, and can become cancerous, leading to diseases such as non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Approximately 85 percent of non-Hodgkin lymphomas originate from B cells, and multiple studies have demonstrated a strong correlation between abnormal expression levels of Bcl-6 in cancer cells and the clinical outcome of lymphoma patients. LLS has committed substantial, multi-year funding to support this collaboration.

The other new collaboration is with Avila Therapeutics, Inc., to support development of one of Avila's lead product candidates, AVL-292, for treatment of adults with B cell cancers. The drug targets the protein Bruton's Tyrosine Kinase (Btk), which plays a critical role in B cell development and activation. It is believed the inhibition of Btk will provide benefits in treating B cell cancers. Through the partnership, LLS will provide up to $3.2 million to support Avila's clinical development of AVL-292. Avila anticipates the drug entering clinical trials in 2010.

TAP is LLS's bold initiative designed to advance therapies with high prospects of providing near-term benefit to patients suffering from blood cancers. By partnering directly with biotechnology companies, LLS is taking a results-oriented approach to more quickly identify potential breakthrough therapies and advance them along the FDA drug approval pathway

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