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Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Wins $100K From Press On Fund for Pediatric Precision Oncology Trial

NEW YORK – The Press On Fund has donated $100,000 to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to advance the LLS PedAl pediatric precision oncology master trial.

The goal of LLS PedAI is to study the efficacy and safety of multiple precision oncology drugs at once for children with relapsed acute leukemia. The trial, which will involve as many as 200 sites globally, will match children to a targeted treatment based on the molecular alterations driving their cancers.

The master trial will bring together experts in childhood leukemia. For example, LLS will work with researchers at the University of Chicago Pediatric Cancer Data Commons to buildinfrastructure to consolidate the patient data from multiple institutions, establish a common framework for analysis, and make it accessible to researchers around the world so they can match patients to available trials. The study is slated to begin patient enrollment this summer, according to the LLS website.

"For too long, treatment for pediatric cancer has followed a one-size-fits-all approach and we need to do better," Piper Medcalf, executive director of the LLS Georgia Chapter, said in a statement. "With LLS PedAL, we will."

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is the most common type of pediatric blood cancer, and often, children survive it. But the standard treatments are harsh and can result in life-threatening and long-term complications.

"As parents who have experienced this fight first-hand, we know how important LLS PedAL is for children and families everywhere," Tara Simkins, co-founder of the Press On Fund and the mother of a pediatric cancer survivor, said in a statement. "We are extraordinarily hopeful about this groundbreaking research, offering promise for less toxic and more effective treatment options for children battling cancer."

The LLS PedAI trial is part of a $100 million ongoing effort called The LLS Children's Initiative that is working to fund new therapeutic research, advocacy efforts, and education and support services to children and their families. 

The LLS has experience conducting these types of studies. The organization started the Beat AML umbrella trial in 2016, aiming to advance new precision therapies for those age 60 years or older and treatment naive. At the American Society of Hematology's annual meeting last year, researchers reported that they employed a rapid approach that allowed older, previously untreated patients with acute myeloid leukemia to receive first-line treatments based on the molecular profile of their cancer.