Spot On CML

A Breakthrough Diagnostic Test Offered to Patients With the Greatest Need

Today, testing for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) means using fresh blood from the patient. But in remote areas, access to state-of-the-art lab equipment is lacking and shipping blood vials quickly becomes very expensive.

But researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have discovered a revolutionary way to diagnose CML using dried blood spots on a single card. These cards can be easily shipped and last much longer than fresh blood, giving patients in remote or underserved places the opportunity to receive accurate results at a fraction of the cost.

The Max Foundation is happy to partner with Fred Hutch to provide this low-cost paper test to diagnose CML for patients in low- and middle-income countries. Follow us as we travel the world making CML diagnostics and access to treatment available to all!

Leukemia researchers (from left to right) Lan Beppu, Dr. Olga Sala-Torra, and Jordan Smith in Dr. Jerry Radich’s laboratory at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The research team has developed a low-cost way to diagnose CML using dried blood spots on a paper card.

Photo by Robert Hood/Fred Hutch News Service

Follow our Spot On CML cards around the world with the hashtag #SpotOnCML!

How the Process Works

The Max Foundation works with our partner physicians to learn about patients in need of CML diagnosis.

Testing supplies, including the Spot On CML test cards, are mailed to the physician for use with their patient.

The physician draws the patient’s blood and places four drops on the test card. The card is returned to The Max Foundation and the physician registers the patient within the Max patient database.

The Max Foundation transfers the cards to Fred Hutch for processing at the lab. It takes two days to run each test.

After receiving the results, a Max representative shares them with the physician. If a patient tests positive, Max will connect the patient with available treatments free of charge.

Tajikistan Case Study

The Max Foundation Senior Program Manager, Erin Lindsay Schneider, saw this situation firsthand when she visited the National Medical Center in Dushnabe, Tajikistan in April this year. In speaking the doctors there, she learned that diagnostic testing for CML patients is not available in Tajikistan. Patients must pay to have their blood hand-delivered to Moscow for testing. This option, however, is out-of-reach for most in a country where 31% of the population lives below the poverty line. Partner physician, Dr. Mirzovali Rahimov, estimates that as many as 200 CML patients in Tajikistan lack access to diagnostic testing and, as a result, go without appropriate drug treatment. This situation is not unique to Tajikistan; CML testing capability is limited throughout Central Asia and Central America. Only two countries in sub-Saharan Africa have diagnostic testing for CML.

Physicians from the National Medical Center in Dushnabe, Tajikistan with Erin Lindsay Schneider, Senior Program Manager at The Max Foundation (third from the right) and partner physician, Dr. Mirzovali (far right.)

“During my visit to the National Medical Center in Tajikistan, I personally met several individuals who were very ill with clinical symptoms of CML, but were unable to receive effective treatment due to lack of access to diagnostics. The fact that these patients are now receiving lifesaving therapy as a result of an official CML diagnosis provides a renewed sense of hope and opportunity to them and their loved ones. An accurate CML diagnosis is life changing.”

 —Erin Lindsay Schneider,
Senior Program Manager at The Max Foundation

When Erin Lindsay learned that patients in Tajikistan lacked access to diagnostic testing locally, she told Dr. Mirzovali about the diagnostic program, dubbed the Spot On CML Program or Spot On, for short. Spot On prioritizes physicians and patients who otherwise lack access to CML diagnostics, making Tajikistan an ideal candidate. Over the following weeks, he and Erin Lindsay coordinated shipment of the testing supplies, and Dr. Mirzovali gathered patients to draw blood samples and by July, the first results came in: 14 Tajikistan patients tested positive for Philadelphia chromosome-positive CML and were immediately approved for drug therapy.

Future of Spot On CML

Testing in now underway for more patients in Tajikistan, as well as Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger and Mongolia. The Max Foundation and Dr. Radich aim to test at least 365 patients – on for every day in the year – and connect them with treatment over the next 12 months. The Spot On program is making great strides toward overcoming barriers to diagnostics and better health for CML patients in low and middle-income countries!

Join in Our Efforts

Help patients around the world get access to diagnostic testing, treatment, and support through The Max Foundation by making a donation today!

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