Taking part in a clinical trial may be the best treatment choice for some non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) patients. Clinical trials are under way to develop treatments that increase the remission rate of or cure the disease. Today's standard treatments for cancer are based on earlier clinical trials. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society continues to invest funds in NHL research.
Clinical trials can involve new drugs, new combinations of drugs or approved drugs being studied to treat patients in new ways such as new drug doses or new schedules to administer the drugs. Clinical trials are conducted worldwide under rigorous guidelines to help doctors find out whether new cancer treatments are safe and effective or better than the standard treatment.
Current NHL Research and Clinical Trials
Below are some of the types of NHL research and trials under way:
Autologous stem cell transplantation. Doctors are studying the use of autologous stem cell transplantation, which uses the patients' own cells in a transplant, to treat certain NHL patients, particularly patients in first remission. It can't cure the NHL, but it can give patients longer disease-free periods than standard-dose chemotherapy alone can.
Reduced-intensity allogeneic stem cell transplantation. Doctors are studying a reduced-intensity allogeneic stem cell transplantation, also called a nonmyeloablative transplantation, that may help some patients such as those who are older and those who have poor overall health better tolerate stem cell transplantation.
Gene expression profiling and microarray analysis. Ongoing studies are looking at effective ways to predict treatment response and identify patients who may be at increased risk for relapse. Gene expression profiling and microarray analysis to identify certain biomarkers in tumor cells are two methods proving effective.
Microenvironment. Researchers are studying the cells associated with lymphatic tumors, called the microenvironment. They're hoping the microenvironment will reveal treatment outcomes, which they've already been able to do in the case of follicular lymphoma.
Vaccine therapy. Scientists are developing vaccines that stimulate the immune system to combat and suppress lymphoma cell growth. Although they won't prevent NHL, the vaccines are meant to kill any lingering lymphoma cells after initial treatment. Doctors are currently studying a wide range of anticancer agents, some of which are outlined in the table below.
Some Drugs Being Studied in Clinical Trials
What It Is
What It's Being Studied For
||Used with the monoclonal antibody rituximab |
|monoclonal antibody||previously treated, progressed follicular lymphoma||For use with Rituxan to determine whether it's more effective than Rituxan alone|
|proteasome inhibitor||a variety of NHL subtypes||Already approved to treat mantle cell lymphoma|
|Enzastaurin||serine threonine kinase inhibitor||diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in remission||For use as a maintenance therapy|
|Histone deacetylase inhibitor||T-cell and B-cell lymphomas||Already approved to treat cutaneous T-cell lymphoma|
|monoclonal antibody||indolent NHL subtypes||
tositumomab and iodine I 131 tositumomab
|Pralatrexate||antimetabolite||T-cell lymphoma subtypes
|mTOR inhibitor||a variety of NHL subtypes, particularly mantle cell lymphoma||Already used to treat kidney cancer|