The International Consortium on Acute Leukemias (ICAL) is an international network that seeks to improve the care of patients with acute leukemias. This initiative, which is strongly supported by the American Society of Hematology, currently brings together clinical investigators from Europe, North America, and South America in the spirit of international clinical and laboratory collaboration.
The consortium was founded in 2004 as the International Consortium on Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (IC-APL). As part of the IC-APL, four transitioning countries – Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, and Chile – participated in a population-based registry study modeling a clinical trial based on a standard-of-care protocol for APL, a rapidly fatal subtype of acute myeloid leukemia which is now the most highly curable subtype when treated with contemporary therapeutic strategies. The study was tailored to meet local resource considerations. In Brazil, one of the founding countries, the results have been remarkable. The many positive outcomes include improvements in the infrastructure necessary to conduct molecular diagnosis, wide demographic enrollment through a participation requirement to incorporate public and private hospitals throughout the country, an establishment of a diagnostic baseline, and enhanced collaboration among researchers. In Uruguay, Chile, and Mexico, participation in the IC-APL has also markedly improved patient outcomes. Co-Chair Dr. Nancy Berliner said, “Clinical outcomes rival those in large clinical trials in developed countries, with a complete remission (CR) rate of 90 percent, with most patients in CR having evidence of molecular remission.”
Based on the initial success of the IC-APL, its governing body recently voted to expand the collaborative model to address other subtypes of acute leukemia, including acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). To reflect this change, the cooperative group is now called the International Consortium on Acute Leukemia (ICAL).
All centers participating in the initiative use the Pediatric Oncology Networked Database (POND) and the Cure4Kids programs for data management. The Consortium currently includes Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, and Peru, and is likely to expand to other interested countries, which are chosen through a formal process.
While the initiative has been supported partly by ASH and partly by grants from the Umberto Veronesi Foundation, Roche, and Cephalon France, much of the activity is funded by local and national sources.
For more information on the ICAL or questions about participating in this program, contact Michelle Lara, International Programs Coordinator.
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