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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Aug. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Seattle Genetics' Adcetris to treat two types of rare blood cancers – Hodgkin lymphoma and anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL).

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The drug is approved for Hodgkin lymphoma patients after failure of a stem cell transplant or two chemotherapy treatments and for ALCL patients after failure of at least one multi-agent chemotherapy treatment.

"This is a great advance for patients battling both of these diseases," said Hildy Dillon, Senior Vice President of Patient Services for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. "These are both considered very curable diseases but there is a population of patients from both diseases for whom treatment has not been effective."

Hodgkin lymphoma has an 86 percent survival and ALCL has an 80 percent cure rate.

"But for those people who don't respond well these can be very difficult cancers to cure. This advance gives new hope to that group of patients," Dillon said.

Dillon added that Seattle Genetics should be commended for investing in a therapy for a very small subgroup of patients who don't respond to standard therapy and for whom there were very limited options until now.

There are nearly 9,000 new cases of Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosed each year and 3,000 new cases of ALCL, and both diseases primarily impact children in their late teens and young adults.  Adcetris is a targeted therapy linking a tumor-targeting antibody to a chemotherapy drug with the goal of limiting side effects.

About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

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