Immunotherapy May Provide More Effective Treatment Than Chemotherapy For Lymphoma Patients

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A drug that enlists immune cells to battle an aggressive form of lymphoma looks to be more potent than chemotherapy options, according to a new study conducted by Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian researchers.

It was discovered during a small clinical trial that the antibody drug mogamulizumab - better known as moga - showed positive results in patients with relapsed adult T-cell leukemia-lymphoma (ATLL). The drug induced tumor responses in almost 28 percent of the patients who possess this rapidly growing and hard-to-treat blood cancer.

"In order to treat an aggressive cancer such as ATLL, you have to think outside the box," said Dr. Adrienne Phillips, lead author of the study. "By working with international collaborators to conduct the largest randomized trial ever in relapsed or refractory forms of this devastating cancer, we have been able to demonstrate the benefits of an innovative, immune based treatment approach and have taken a large step forward in efforts to make this treatment option available for ATLL patients here."

More effective than chemotherapy

Participants in the clinical trial treated with immunotherapy showed better response rates compared to those that received normal chemotherapy. Researchers hope moga can provide a breakthrough treatment for ATLL - a disease for which no drugs have been approved in the United States to treat it.

The disease is so rare that only an estimated 120 new cases arise each year, which has made it even more difficult to conduct trials of revolutionary drugs that could potentially fight ATLL. Currently, medical professionals have been utilizing chemotherapy drugs constructed to fight other forms of lymphomas.

“ATLL is a fast-growing and aggressive blood cancer that continues to be challenging for patients," said Meghan Gutierrez, CEO of the Lymphoma Research Foundation. "Studies like this one demonstrate the value of international collaboration as well as the potential of research to positively impact clinical outcomes for patients with lymphoma and other cancers."

Source: Weill Cornell Medical College

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