In a recent trial, a new form of Hodgkin Lymphoma treatment shows promise in helping patients suffering from the disease for which other kinds of treatment showed no results.
The Hodgkin Lymphoma is a form of white blood (lymphocytes) cells cancer and is one of the most frequent forms of cancer in young adults and children in the United States. There are around 10,000 new cases of Hodgkin Lymphoma reported every year. Scientists say that even though current treatments usually prove successful in managing the disease, up to a forth of patients suffering from it at some point experience a relapse.
Director of the Lymphoma Immunotherapy Program from the Icahn School of Medicine in Mount Sinai, New York, Dr. Joshua Brody said the disease kills over 10,000 people in the United States every year and is one of the rare cases of cancers that affect more young adults and children than older people. He emphasized that the form of cancer is most of the times receptive to chemotherapy. Nevertheless, the minority of patients that don’t respond to the therapy, Hodgkin Lymphoma is usually considered fatal and incurable.
The recent study involved 23 patients with incurable Hodgkin Lymphoma. Scientists at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston claim that a third of the people had tried and failed at least six different forms of treatment. Four fifths of the people suffering from the disease had also received therapy using stem cell transplants hoping that this form of treatment would eventually cured the disease, but ultimately failed too.
The phase 1 trial involved a new drug named nivolumab, a form of treatment that makes the immune system fight the cancer cells.
The scientists said that following the treatment, four of the people had no noticeable tumor left and in 16 other patients the tumors had decreased in size to at least half. After six months, 86 percent of them were still alive and continued to indicate positive effects as a result of the treatment. After one year, most of them continued to do well.
The scientists claim that the United States Food and Drug Administration designated nivolumab as a breakthrough therapy for patients suffering from the disease after the study that showed their Hodgkin Lymphoma treatment shows promise and a bigger phase 2 trial is to be scheduled soon.