Workshop A – Biology, Diagnosis and Treatment of Rare Leukemias


Workshop Description:
While overall survival rates for childhood leukemia continue to improve, there are certain rare forms of leukemia that pose significant challenges related to diagnosis, treatment and long-term outcomes. This workshop will focus on three such rare leukemias: Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML); Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML); and Philadelphia chromosome-positive ALL, covering the biology, diagnosis and treatment options for each, and associated challenges.

Jeff Lipton, PhD, MD, FRCPC
Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto
Staff Physician, Leukemia and Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant Services
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON

Dr. Lipton is Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and Staff Physician at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (PMCC). He received an honors BSc in Biochemistry at the University of Calgary and a PhD in Biochemistry at Western University. An MRC post-doctoral fellowship at the Weizmann Institute in Israel with Leo Sachs led to his developing interests in leukemia. After a short time at the University of Connecticut, he had a mid-life crisis and went back to Calgary to go to medical school, followed by a residency in Internal Medicine. He then completed sub-specialty training in medical oncology at the University of Toronto and stayed on at the PMCC as a staff physician. His clinical practice is in chronic leukemias and bone marrow failure syndromes as well as allogeneic stem cell transplant. Research interests in particular are in CML and its therapy, outcomes and supportive care in BMT, and in the therapy of bone marrow failure syndromes. Dr. Lipton served as President of the Canadian Bone Marrow Transplant Group and is on the advisory boards relating to the therapy of CML including the International CML Foundations and the European Leukemia Net (ELN). He has authored or co-authored more than 320 peer-reviewed papers and 400 abstracts.

Mignon Loh, MD
Benioff UCSF Professorship in Children’s Health
Deborah and Arthur Ablin Endowed Chair in Pediatric Molecular Oncology
Division Chief, Hematology Oncology
University of California Benioff Children’s Hospital, San Francisco, CA

Dr. Loh studies two childhood blood cancers: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) and Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia (JMML). She is nationally and internationally recognized for her expertise and novel contributions in these disorders. Her lab has made seminal contributions to unraveling the genetics of JMML. She currently serves as the Chair of the ALL committee of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), and works with a group of dedicated investigators to open clinical trials for affected children with both newly diagnosed and relapsed disease. The large number of banked samples acquired from these patients has provided additional rich resources for the ALL group to identify additional abnormalities that are providing new insights into the causes of this most common cancer of childhood. Most recently, the identification of kinase activating lesions in up to 15% of patients with high risk ALL has led to two major clinical trials that employ “precision medicine” approaches to augment traditional chemotherapy.

Jim Whitlock, MD
Division Head and Women’s Auxiliary Millennium Chair
Division of Haematology/Oncology, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON
Senior Associate Scientist, Child Health Evaluative Sciences Program, SickKids Research Institute
Professor of Paediatrics, University of Toronto

Dr. James A. Whitlock is the Division Head and Women’s Auxiliary Millennium Chair in Haematology/Oncology at The Hospital for Sick Children, Senior Associate Scientist in the Child Health Evaluative Sciences Program at SickKids Research Institute, and Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto. Dr. Whitlock’s research interests include the biology and treatment of childhood acute leukemias, the development of new drugs for the treatment of childhood cancers, and the biology and treatment of histiocytic disorders. He is the past Vice-Chair for New Agents and Relapse studies for the Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Committee of the Children’s Oncology Group, and has been Chair or Vice-Chair of several COG clinical trials. He is the elected chair of the Steering & Prioritization Committee of the Therapeutic Advances in Childhood Leukemia & Lymphoma (TACL) consortium, and the immediate Past President of the Histiocyte Society, an international scientific organization which supports research in, and conducts clinical trials for, histiocytic disorders. In these roles, he has been involved in the pediatric development of numerous novel agents, including blinatumomab, inotuzumab and CTL019 anti-CD19 CAR T-cells.

* Mignon Loh and Jim Whitlock presentation slides not included

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