The Future of Lymphoma Treatment? Personalized Care

For many cancer patients, chemotherapy can be worse than cancer itself. A patient may respond to one drug but not another, or the tumor may mutate and stop responding to the drug, resulting in months of wasted time, ineffective treatment and toxic side effects.

A great blogger on Lymphoma, Lymphoma Bob (http://lymphobob.blogspot.com) explains it this way: They altered a chemotherapy drug so that it could be traced with a PET scan, creating a "tag" that would show up on the PET. They gave the drug to mice with leukemia and lymphoma, then gave them a PET. The PET allowed them to see the tagged drug being absorbed by the tumor.

The researchers think that this will work on humans, too; they'll be able to give a small amount of a tagged drug to cancer patients and then see on a PET whether or not it was being absorbed by the tumor. If it isn't being absorbed, they know the chemo won't work, and they'll try a different treatment. That's one kind of "personalization" that we can look forward to in the near future.

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