A recent study at City of Hope has revealed a new and dramatically effective way to help patients fight Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Specifically, the study will help patients who fought off a first wave of the disease, only to relapse later.
“Nearly 30 percent of patients diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma will relapse,” says Dr. Robert Chen — a staff physician in the Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation. “And there is currently no FDA-approved treatment for the relapsed disease.”
The first step was for scientists to identify the signs of the Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer cells. Conventional chemotherapy and radiation for Hodgkin’s patients are often “shotgun” approaches that don’t discriminate between the cells they kill. City of Hope scientists wanted to change that.
After a long and arduous investigation, the scientists found a protein called CD30, which is produced by abnormal cells found in Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients. Scientists then engineered a drug to seek the CD30 protein and force the cancerous cells to kill themselves through chemotherapy.
“The concept of this drug is novel,” says Dr. Chen. “We use an antibody to target chemotherapy to the lymphoma cells only. It makes the treatment very potent with low side effects.”
In the study, the treatment shrank tumors in 94 percent of trial participants whose lymphoma relapsed after standard therapies. And physicians saw complete remission in 34 percent of participants.
It’s thanks to you that City of Hope can pursue promising leads and develop new treatments for patients battling cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Thank you.