Melville, NY, resident Ellen Scharaga is committed to helping others. Beyond promoting improved medical patient outcomes through her role as an operational consultant for Alegria Specialty Pharmacy, she supports several charitable organizations. One of the many organizations Ellen Scharaga supports is the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).
For more than 65 years, the LLS has been committed to educating the public, helping patients with blood cancer, and funding blood cancer research. The organization recently praised the United States Food and Drug Administration’s approval of blinatumomab as a treatment for individuals with a unique form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The therapy, which is a bispecific antibody T-cell engager, directs the body’s T cells to a specific protein found on the surface of B cells, including B-cell lymphomas and leukemias. Modified antibodies then engage a specific target on both the T cell and B cell, forcing the two cells to connect to one another and allowing the T cell to destroy the other cell.
Blinatumomab received the FDA’s Breakthrough Therapy designation in mid-2014 and was approved for patients with refractory B-cell precursor or Philadelphia chromosome-negative relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia in early December. The FDA will maintain its approval of the treatment once its clinical benefit is proven through additional research trials.