Tuesday, December 21, 2010

fNHL Breakthrough?

Patient Power has a new video from the ASH conference on a new type of treatment for Follicular NHL --the Antibody Drug Conjugate.

The video features an interview with Dr. Andre Goy, who is in charge of Lymphoma research at the John Theurer Cancer Center in New Jersey. Smart guy -- he was involved in the early Rituxan trials, helped develop Velcade, and leaps tall building in a single bound (or so it would seem, given what this man has accomplished).

Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs) are a new class of cancer treatment. They are kind of similar to RadioImmunoTherapy, in that they involve a monoclonal antibody that can find lymphoma cells based on proteins on the cancer cell's surface. But while RIT delivers a dose of radiation directly to the cancer cell, an ADC delivers a dose of chemotherapy.

This is a very useful delivery system. The problem with traditional chemo, of course, of that it takes a shotgun approach and blasts everything in its path, which is why toxicity and side effects are a problem. ADCs are guided missles, delivering the chemo directly to the cancer cell, sparing all of the healthy cells that would otherwise be damaged by it. As Dr. Goy describes, his trial involved the ADC delivering a chemo drug that is 1000 times stronger than anything that could be delivered intraveneously. The targeted approach allows this small but powerful dose of the drug to get right to where it needs to be.

The trial was fairly successful, and Goy and his team have plans to reduce the major side effect (lowering of platelet counts) that came up for some patients.

As the interviewer says, "Chemotherapy is not dead." It's getting better, more effective, less toxic, more personalized.

Very exciting new development.

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