Press Briefing Day 1 - FRIDAY, JUNE 15, 2018

EHA 2018 Press Briefing: Introductory remarks from Prof. Pieter Sonneveld
The Scientific Program of the 23rd Congress of EHA 
Dr Martina Muckenthaler, Chair of the Scientific Program Committee of the 23rd Congress of EHA

HARMONY: Europe's largest public-private partnership for Big Data in Hematology. Big Data (analytics) to enable better and faster treatment for patients with hematologic malignancies.
Jesús María Hernández Rivas, HARMONY Alliance Project Coordinator, IBSAL, Spain

Update on bb2121, a promising therapy for patients with heavily pre-treated relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma
Dr Jesus G. Berdeja, Sarah Cannon Research Institute and Tennessee Oncology, Nashville, TN, USA (Abstract S138)

Conclusion: The anti-BCMA CAR T cell therapy bb2121 has demonstrated substantial activity in heavily pre-treated patients with multiple myeloma (MM). Updated results from 43 patients after five more months of follow-up show that bb2121 remains generally well-tolerated while inducing deep and durable responses in patients with advanced MM. The median PFS among 18 patients treated with active doses in the dose escalation cohort was 11.8 months and a 96% ORR was reported in 22 patients treated with >150 × 106 CAR T cells. Additionally, an unprecedented rate of MRD negativity was observed, with 100% of 16 evaluable responders achieving MRD negativity. Comparable activity was observed in patients with low (<50%) versus high (≥50%) BCMA-expressing myeloma (ORR of 100% vs 91%, respectively). Results from this ongoing study are informing the global pivotal phase II trial (KarMMaTM) in patients with relapsed and refractory MM, which is now open for enrollment in North America and Europe. MAIN SLIDES

AHL2011: Outstanding disease control with a minimized BEACOPP exposure and toxicity in patients with advanced Hodgkin lymphoma
Dr Olivier Casasnovas, Department of Hematology, Dijon, France (Abstract S110)

Conclusion: Six cycles of BEACOPP provide a better long-term disease control than ABVD in advanced Hodgkin lymphoma but is associated to more frequent hematological toxicity and a higher risk of myelodysplasia/acute leukemia and infertility. The AHL2011 demonstrate that a de-escalation treatment with a switch from BEACOPP to ABVD is possible after two cycles of BEACOPP in most patients (84%) who reached a negative PET2 maintaining the same level of disease control and drastically reducing the risk of the treatment toxicity compared to patients who received the standard six cycles of BEACOPP. So, without any new drug, this approach based on the early response assessment using functional imaging (PET) improve the management of patients with advanced Hodgkin lymphoma, providing a better balance tolerability/efficacy of BEACOPP-based treatment and a better patient outcome (5y-PFS>85% and 5y-OS>95%) than ABVD. MAIN SLIDES

First-in-Human CLL1-CD33 Compound CAR T Cells as a Two-pronged Approach for the treatment of refractory acute myeloid leukemia
Dr Fang Liu, Department of Hematology, Chengdu Military General Hospital, Chengdu, Sichuan, P.R. China (Abstract S149)
Conclusion: Our preclinical study has shown that our CLL-1-CD33 cCAR possesses consistent, specific, and potent anti-tumor activity against CLL-1+ and/or CD33+ leukemia cells in vitro and in vivo. cCAR may have advantages over single-CAR therapy in terms of reduction of disease relapse by targeting LSC and bulky AML population. Phase 1 trial for CLL-1-CD33 cCAR are underway. 

Overall survival benefit of obinutuzumab over rituximab when combined with chlorambucil in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and comorbidities
Dr Valentin Goede, German CLL Study Group, Cologne-Germany (Abstract S151)

Study findings:

  • -  Support the use of obinutuzumab plus chlorambucil (G-Clb) as frontline therapy in patients with CLL and

    co-existing diseases.

  • -  Suggest obinutuzumab as the preferred anti-CD20 antibody to be used for chlorambucil-based

    chemoimmunotherapy, but also for future combination regimens for CLL.


Is RELEVANCE Relevant? Results of the phase III study of R2 vs R-chemo in first-line follicular lymphoma
Dr Frank Morschhauser, Department d' Hematologie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Régional de Lille, Unité GRITA, Lille, France (Abstract S154)

In summary, RELEVANCE is the first randomized phase III trial comparing R2 vs standard R-chemo, followed by rituximab maintenance, in previously untreated patients with FL. R2 and R-chemo showed similar efficacy with a different safety profile. These results show that R2, a novel immunomodulatory approach, is a potential first-line option for FL patients requiring treatment.  MAIN SLIDES

Iron: a double-edged sword in inflammation
Dr Francesca Vinchi, Iron Research Program, New York Blood Center, New York, USA (Abstract S152)

We conclude that different forms of iron accumulation in macrophages (RBCs versus free heme and iron) in different diseases, show opposite effects on inflammation. Our data suggest that molecules able to bind iron have a therapeutic benefit on these diseases, through the modulation of these processes. MAIN SLIDES