Bone Marrow Transplants Growing in Use as an NHL Treatment   Leave a comment

Here’s an interesting look at the increasing popularity of bone marrow transplants as a treatment for NHL. They were once recommended only as a last resort, but doctors have begun to perform the transplants more often recently:

The procedure of a bone marrow transplantation for the treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma used to be the procedure of last resort, only used after all other treatment modalities failed. This was the case because the procedure can be extraordinarily difficult to endure for the patient, and even life-threatening considering the many complications. However, the procedure is becoming more common.

Interesting Interview re: Genetic Engineering   Leave a comment

I haven’t really kept up much with the debate over genetically modified food and Monsanto’s dealings with the issue. But I of course know all about Monsanto’s history with manufacturing PCBs and the chemical’s connections to NHL. So I’m not predisposed to give them the benefit of the doubt.

But the Huffington Post put up an interview with a scientist who’s been working on the technology and is trying to bring some clarity to the issue. It’s good, I think, and as someone who follows the science and research in the battle against cancer, it got me thinking. The researcher is Kevin Folta and he teaches at the University of Florida. He says:

“Anytime a scientist comes out and says something positive about technology the first thing that comes is, ‘Well you must work for Monsanto.’ None of us or most of us never got a dime from Monsanto, yet we’re always accused of being on their side because we’re on the side of science.”

Posted August 9, 2012 by lymphomactivist in Research

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Genome Senquencing of Lymphomas Progressing   1 comment

This is very good news, it seems to me.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have completed the first genome-wide sequencing of peripheral T cell lymphomas, which will allow doctors to delve into this cancer of the immune system that account for 12% of all non-hodgkin’s lymphomas and are among the most deadly. Fewer than 35 percent of patients live five years beyond diagnosis. Andrew Feldman was the lead investigator and said of the breakthrough:

“Every time I diagnose a peripheral T-cell lymphoma, I know that two out of three patients will succumb to that lymphoma,” says Dr. Feldman. “That’s a very unsatisfying feeling, and I hope that our research can help change those statistics.”

How little, in fact, doctors understand about this type of cancer is summed up in the name of the most-common form of the disease:

“The most common type of T-cell lymphoma is called ‘not otherwise specified.’ It’s basically a wastebasket diagnosis because we don’t understand enough about the specific genetic abnormalities to be able to pinpoint subtypes of T-cell lymphomas that might trigger different treatments by the treating oncologist,” says Dr. Feldman.

Let’s hope his work will lead to better days ahead.

Posted August 7, 2012 by lymphomactivist in NHL, Research

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A Cancer Cell Factory   Leave a comment

Here’s an interesting piece on what it takes to fight and overcome — when possible — non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It stresses having the right attitude and making the necessary sacrifices to take action when needed. The post also talks about the importance of self-educating and working just as hard as your doctor in finding out ways that will help you in the battle.

It struck home for me, because that’s what I’ve been trying to do with this blog … educating myself and others. I hope it helps.

But what really got me was her description of NHL as turning “the lymphatic system into a cancer cell factory.” Scary. I just hope this blog and the stories and research it highlights can help those fighting NHL and other forms of cancer.

Posted August 6, 2012 by lymphomactivist in NHL

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Needed Research into Rare Form of NHL   Leave a comment

Splenic Marginal Zone Lymphoma (SMZL) is a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma that accounts for less than 3% of all cases of lymphoma. As a result, much less time has been spent on researching the cancer and, of course, much less is known about it.

Thankfully, though, England’s University of Southampton has gotten funding that will allow it to use state-of-the-art technology to search through a patient’s genes and determine the mutations that cause SMZL. With that knowledge the researchers aim to reveal what they refer to as the “genetic signs” that are linked to particularly bad prognoses. They will then be able to help doctors direct treatment accordingly.

The head of the research team, Dr. Jonathan Strefford, says:

“Finding these gene mutations will increase our understanding of how SMZL progresses and allow us to predict patient prognosis. These predictions can then be taken into account by doctors to ensure that those with a more aggressive disease are given the treatment that they need.”

Posted August 3, 2012 by lymphomactivist in NHL, Research

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Promising Development in Treatment   Leave a comment

Cancer treatments often involve isolating cells that have been determined to be immune, taking them out of the body, and activating them in a laboratory environment before injecting them back into the body. The idea is that these activated, immune cells will help jumpstart the process of developing an immune response to the cancer.

Researchers now at Washington University in St. Louis have been experimenting with activating the immune cells in the presence of drugs that affect cell metabolism with the hope that it will even further enhance the immunotherapy abilities of the cells. And they’ve had some luck.

It’s not yet reached human trials, but the researchers have said:

“We found that this cellular drug treatment increases the activation period of the immune cells,” Amiel said in a press release, “so that when we inject them back into mice bearing melanoma tumors, we get larger immune responses against the tumors and better control of tumor growth.”

Read more about the research here, and you can obtain the original study at The Journal of Immunology.

Posted August 1, 2012 by lymphomactivist in Research

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Hematologic Cancer in Pregnancy…. to Terminate or Not?   Leave a comment

Hematologic cancer in pregnancy despite being rare poses a substantial risk to both mother and fetus.  The primary goal of treatment is to preserve the mother’s health; it should focus on her survival while minimizing treatment-related toxic effects on the fetus. Hematologic cancers are a heterogeneous group of malignancies that differ in their course and management, irrespective of pregnancy.  Pregnancy termination is often advisable at early stages, allowing delivery of adequate therapy.

Hodgkin’s lymphoma is the most common hematologic cancer that occurs during pregnancy, followed by non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and acute leukemia. Diagnosing these malignancies can be challenging because of the overlap between disease and pregnancy-related symptoms, and the limitations of imaging. Active management of indolent lymphomas can often be postponed until after delivery without adversely affecting the mother or fetus. However, patients with highly aggressive lymphoma that requires intensive chemotherapy, which often includes methotrexate, should be advised to terminate the pregnancy early  because the goal is to save the mother’s life. The diagnosis and management of a hematologic malignancy during pregnancy present ethical and therapeutic challenges.

To read more on this story:

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/758591