Tomorrow, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) will hold one of Washington, D.C.’s largest charitable events: the 2016 Leukemia Ball. Since it began in 1988, the annual event has raised nearly $50 million for the National Capital Area Chapter of LLS.
We share a spirited commitment with LLS to researching and developing new treatments and diagnostics for patients living with blood cancers. Our partnership with LLS has been and continues to be critically important for understanding the many forms of the disease and moving biopharmaceutical research forward – something that is personal for me. My good friend Rip Baird died of multiple myeloma. His boys are my godsons, and the loss of their father has had a profound impact on their lives.
More than 162,000 Americans are diagnosed with a blood cancer every year, which is more than 9 percent of all new cancer diagnoses. In recent years, science has advanced quickly, and we have seen exciting progress in our ability to treat blood cancers. Many new medicines are able to target blood cancers at the molecular level, improving treatment outcomes for patients. For example, five-year survival rates for Hodgkin lymphoma, myeloma and leukemia have increased significantly. However, the need for continued biopharmaceutical innovation remains great. Today, there are more than 240 medicines in development to treat leukemia, lymphoma and other forms of blood cancer. Many of the new medicines in the pipeline build on novel scientific approaches and are our best hope for continuing this progress and giving patients hope for brighter futures.