The Future of Lymphoma Research

Lymphoma research is moving forward in several distinct ways. The Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups highlights a few potential successes.

Vaccines
Several vaccines are now being evaluated in clinical trials, mostly for low-grade lymphoma. They are not intended to prevent lymphoma but to reduce the chance that a lymphoma will recur after treatment. In this type of vaccine treatment, doctors take a sample of an affected lymph node and use it to develop a vaccine. The lymphoma is then treated with chemotherapy. After the end of treatment, a series of injections of the vaccine are given, which may boost the body’s immunity against tumor cells. Results using this approach have varied and research is still continuing to make better vaccines.

Gene profiling
As scientists learn more about the genetics and the specific role that gene mutations play in cancer formation, they are better able to classify and diagnose subtypes of NHL. These techniques can help estimate prognosis for patients with certain types of lymphoma. These techniques are used primarily in lymphoma research, but in the next few years it is likely that therapies will be designed that work against specific genetic changes and counteract their effects.

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