A Break-out Treatment for Lymphoma
Madison, Wisconsin - A UW Carbone Cancer Center researcher and physician says a break-out drug may have been discovered for some forms of lymphoma.
After over a decade of research, Dr. Brad Kahl says a drug, now identified as ABT-199, has had some exciting and dramatic results. He shared the news at a recent Lymphoma Survivorship Conference sponsored by Forward Lymphoma.
"The potential of this drug is off the charts," said Dr. Kahl. "The Carbone Cancer Center is only one of about a half-dozen places in the world that offer this clinical trial. We're testing it in all types of lymphomas and sorting out which ones the drug has a positive effect on."
ABT-199 attacks bcl-2 protein, a protein that seems to keep lymphoma cells alive.
"The drug actually gets inside the lymph cells and knocks down the protein and makes the cells more willing to die," said Kahl.
The drug's potential is demonstrated by the story of a patient who had run out of options for managing the incurable disease.
"I had treated him for eight years. He had been treated with numerous different therapies and we were literally running out of options," said Kahl. He was starting to look very ill, like an end-stage cancer patient.
"The ABT-199 trial had just opened and he agreed to participate in the study. He has now been on the drug for over a year and his lymphoma, which was extensive and out of control, is now in remission. He looks perfectly healthy. We have seen these types of incredible responses in other patients now, too.
"I have been researching new lymphoma drugs for 13 years," said Kahl, "and this one is as good as I have seen. Even though ABT-199 is still in Phase I clinical trials, it is very promising and exciting for lymphoma patients."
Kahl said that the drug is being tested in several types of lymphoma and the next step in research is to test the drug in combination with chemotherapy.
Date Published: 04/11/2013