Saturday, January 22, 2011

Novel Treatments for fNHL

The journal Hematology has a nice piece out in their current issue, called "Novel Agents for Follicular Lymphoma." While the title calls the treatments "novel," there isn't necessarily much that's completely new in this piece; this is one of those articles that kind of sums up the stuff that's recent enough to be called "new."

All of my pals and heroes are there: Rituxan and other monoclonal antibodies, both rodent-based and human-based; radio-labeled monoclonal antibodies (RIT); Bendamustine/Treanda, which is the treatment that, it seems, I may try next when I need to be treated; bortezomib/Velcade, the proteosome inhibitor that causes cancer cells to kill themselves off; and Lenalidomide, which targets the micro-environment surrrounding the cell, on the theory that what exists in this space is as much of a factor as what's in the cell itself.

The conclusion to the article is brief, but sums up very nicely the problems that we (patients, doctors, and researchers) will face in the next few years: we have a bunch of treatments that, individually, target cancer in many different ways. It is likely that the best way to beat it (or beat it up pretty good) will be to combine different treatments in a kind of multi-pronged attack. The trick will be to figure out how to best combine the treatments -- not just in a broad way that can be used on all fNHL patients, but in the way that targets each individual patient's particular cancer.

It's a challenge, to be sure, but it's an exciting one. And one that's not at all unreasonable to overcome.

No comments: