ALLG’s work contributed to better patient treatments nationally and internationally through its clinical trials and associated correlative studies.
ALLG advances in chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML)
ALLG’s first CML trial activity was led by ALLG member Chris Arthur who made substantial contributions to improving CML therapy in the 1990’s. He pioneered the use of high dose alpha interferon and combination therapy with alpha interferon plus cytarabine (including an orally available version of cytarabine) in some of the early studies conducted by the ALLG in CML. In the 21st century tyrosine kinase inhibitors have dominated the CML therapeutic landscape.
ALLG collaborates with International Oncology Study Group in 1996 to 1997, for patients with previously untreated early chronic phase chronic myeloid leukaemia; CML03 trial.
A trial CML7 on chronic myeloid leukaemia, led by Kerry Taylor, looked at the combination of imatinib with alpha interferon and was one of the first studies internationally to test this combination.
The CML6 (TIDEL I) study developed by ALLG members Tim Hughes and Andrew Grigg was the first ALLG study to look at optimising the delivery of imatinib in the frontline setting. Commenced in 2002, the 2 year results, published in 2008 (Hughes et al, Blood) demonstrated that patients who were able to maintain dose intensity with imatinib achieved greater outcomes, with uniformly excellent molecular and cytogenetic responses.
ALLG CML06, CML08 and CML09 correlative research enabled ALLG members Sue Branford, Deb White and Tim Hughes to deliver significant advancements in the understanding of CML and its treatment. In 2012, they published their assessment of CML relapse dynamics, which has had important implications for the monitoring and management of CML since.
ALLG advances in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL)
In the early-mid 1990’s, ALLG member Stephen Mulligan led ALLG CLL02, a breakthrough trial that identified cladribine as a chemotherapy to improve survival in CLL. This became the platform to develop and conduct ALLG CLL05, a large 3-arm randomised trial assessing the combinations of chemoimmunotherapy combination of fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab (FCR). NOTE: The success of CLL05 lead to the CLL07 trial which was another randomised trial, published in 2021.
ALLG Scientific Meeting
The first full meeting was held in 1999 where members discussed ALLG’s 25 accruing trials and considered 16 new trial proposals; including Paula Marlton’s concept of a Tissue Bank for the first time. Today, that is part of the National Blood Cancer Registry and Biobank and the ALLG holds two Scientific Meetings a year for the membership to meet and present trial information and discuss new trial ideas.
ALLG forms Laboratory Science Committee in 1999.