Ribavirin is an antiviral oral medication presently FDA approved for hepatitis C and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Known as tribavirin, it was patented in 1971 and approved for medical use in 1986. It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines. Available as a genetic medicine, in the U.S. a course of treatment runs more than $200.
Weill Cornell Medicine has initiated a pilot study exploring use as a treatment for patients with follicular lymphoma (FL). A type of blood cancer, it is most common of the slow-growing non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas—representing the second-most common form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas overall. There is no consensus as to the best treatment protocol. Several considerations are considered based on age, stage and prognostic scores. Median survival is around 10 years. Overall survival rate at five years is 72-77%. Due to recent progress with rituximab, median survival rate has increased to 20 years.
The Weill Cornell Research
The Weill Cornell Medicine trials seeks to “inhibit eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E(eIF4E), a protein that facilitates the growth of B-cell lymphoma cells” according to Danielle Ternyila ofTargeted Oncology. This initiative, building on the preclinical data from Leandro Cerchietti, MD, is led by Sarah Rutherford, MD. The team believes any side effects associated with ribavirin are well known and generally well-tolerated. Lead investigator Rutherford believes the disease is a good target for a clinical trial. Already, Weill Cornell Medicine is adding patients with FL and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). In parallel Rutherford will oversee correlative studies analyzing blood samples which helps determine intended effectiveness.
Follow the link below to read a full interview with Targeted Oncology and Rutherford.
Sarah Rutherford, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the division of hematology/oncology