At the 2015 annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) we heard about some of the latest data in blood cancers such as AML, CLL and Multiple Myeloma.

Dr Ian Flinn ASH15Ian W. Flinn MD, PhD (pictured above) is the Director of the Blood Cancer Research Program at the Sarah Cannon Research Institute in Nashville, TN.

At ASH15, Dr Flinn presented the results for a CLL trial that combined obinutuzumab, an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, with venetoclax, a BCL-2 inhibitor. In this episode, he discusses the rational for the combination, some of the challenges with venetoclax and the future direction in the CLL landscape.

Dr Kanti Rai ASH 2015You’ll also hear Dr Kanti Rai (New York) provide his expert commentary on the CLL data in the late breaking session at ASH.

Data was presented for two trials in relapsed CLL patients with a 17p deletion.

You can find links to the ASH Abstracts in the Additional Information section below.

Dr Rai (pictured asking a question at ASH 2015) received the 2014 Wallace H. Coulter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hematology.

Dr Richard Stone DFCI

Dr Richard Stone, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

The results of a phase 3 clinical trial for midostaurin in AML patients with a FLT3 mutation were presented in the plenary session by Dr Richard Stone (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute), pictured left.

You’ll hear Dr Stone discuss the significance of the data, and what it took to do a clinical trial that started back in 2008.

Some of the most exciting sessions at ASH were on new developments in multiple myeloma.

Several new drugs were approved by the FDA in 2015 including panobinostat, carfilzomib (in combination in the relapsed setting), daratumumab, ixazomib and elotuzumab.

You’ll hear some commentary from Dr Paul Richardson (Dana Farber Cancer Institute) on some of the early data on novel combinations in multiple myeloma. There are links in the Additional Information section to  the ASH abstracts he briefly mentions.

We’re grateful for the sponsorship of Genentech. Episode 10 is the last for Season 1.

Additional Information

Publications in The New England Journal of Medicine mentioned on the podcast: 

Ibrutinib as Initial Therapy for Patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. December 17, 2015. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1509388

Acalabrutinib (ACP-196) in Relapsed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Online First December 7, 2015. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1509981

Targeting BCL2 with Venetoclax in Relapsed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Online First December 6, 2015. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1513257

ASH 2015 Abstracts Mentioned on the Podcast:


6: The Multi-Kinase Inhibitor Midostaurin (M) Prolongs Survival Compared with Placebo (P) in Combination with Daunorubicin (D)/Cytarabine (C) Induction (ind), High-Dose C Consolidation (consol), and As Maintenance (maint) Therapy in Newly Diagnosed Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Patients (pts) Age 18-60 with FLT3Mutations (muts): An International Prospective Randomized (rand) P-Controlled Double-Blind Trial (CALGB 10603/RATIFY [Alliance])

Multiple Myeloma

505: Pembrolizumab in Combination with Lenalidomide and Low-Dose Dexamethasone for Relapsed/Refractory Multiple Myeloma (RRMM): Keynote-023.

506: A Phase II Study of Anti PD-1 Antibody Pembrolizumab, Pomalidomide and Dexamethasone in Patients with Relapsed/Refractory Multiple Myeloma (RRMM).

507: Daratumumab in Combination with Lenalidomide and Dexamethasone in Patients with Relapsed or Relapsed and Refractory Multiple Myeloma: Updated Results of a Phase 1/2 Study (GEN503).

508: Open-Label, Multicenter, Phase 1b Study of Daratumumab in Combination with Pomalidomide and Dexamethasone in Patients with at Least 2 Lines of Prior Therapy and Relapsed or Relapsed and Refractory Multiple Myeloma.

509: A Dose Finding Phase II Trial of Isatuximab (SAR650984, Anti-CD38 mAb) As a Single Agent in Relapsed/Refractory Multiple Myeloma.

510: Elotuzumab Plus Bortezomib and Dexamethasone Versus Bortezomib and Dexamethasone in Patients with Relapsed/Refractory Multiple Myeloma: 2-Year Follow-up


494: Safety and Efficacy of a Combination of Venetoclax (GDC-0199/ABT-199) and Obinutuzumab in Patients with Relapsed/Refractory or Previously Untreated Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia – Results from a Phase 1b Study (GP28331)

LBA-5: Idelalisib Plus Bendamustine and Rituximab (BR) Is Superior to BR Alone in Patients with Relapsed/Refractory Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: Results of a Phase 3 Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study

LBA-6: Venetoclax (ABT-199/GDC-0199) Monotherapy Induces Deep Remissions, Including Complete Remission and Undetectable MRD, in Ultra-High Risk Relapsed/Refractory Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia with 17p Deletion: Results of the Pivotal International Phase 2 Study

You can find more coverage of the latest developments in CLL and the data presented at ASH 2015 on Biotech Strategy Blog, (subscription required).

Podcast Music

The music in this podcast episode is by electric violinist and composer David Schulman from his album Quiet Life Motel.


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This podcast episode is sponsored by Genentech. We’re grateful for their support.


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