Researchers at NYU School of Medicine and its Perlmutter Cancer Center recently presented research findings at the American Society of Hematology as noted in EurekAlert! The New York-based investigators observed that new drugs that harness the body’s immune system to destroy cancer cells appear to increase the effectiveness of later drug therapies from non-Hodgkin and Hodgkin lymphoma patients. The scientists are observing that this is occurring for repeat drug therapies whose initial attempts failed to stop or reverse the disease. Their findings are the first multicenter data to show that even when “second-line” immunotherapy fails to control the disease, it likely “sensitizes” lymphoma patients to better respond to future use of drugs that didn’t work very well the first time. Few treatment options exist for relapsing non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is more common in the United States with more than 72,000 cases diagnosed per year (more than 20,000 deals result from the disease) compared with approximately 8,500 for Hodgkin lymphoma (and over 1,000 deaths).