Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bendamustine: An Overview

The July issue of the Leukemia and Lymphoma journal features an article written by Dr. Enrico Derenzini, Dr. Pier Luigi Zinzani, and Lymphoma Rock star Dr. Bruce Cheson, called "Bendamustine: Role and Evidence in Lymphoma Therapy, An Overview."

The article is written for oncologists who want to know more about Bendamustine and how it might be used for a number of lymphomas and other blood cancers, including Follicular Lymphoma, of course.

The article gives some history on how Bendamustine was developed, how and why it works on lymphoma cells, how it might best be used, and what clinical trials have told us about its effectiveness.

In the article, you'll learn some fascinating tidbits, like:
  • Bendamustine was developed in East Germany in the early 1960s, but wasn't widely used or known about in Western Europe and the U.S. until the early 1990s, after things opened up over there.
  • It is related to the mustard has used in World War I.
  • It is generally better tolerated and more effective than CHOP, especially when combined with Rituxan.
  • It was named for Benedetto DaMustini, a young Italian immigrant who sold sausages from a small stand outside the East German hospital where it was developed. One night, after a long session of working on the compound, the lead researcher was about to give up on his efforts. He stopped for a sausage at the stand, and, refreshed by his snack, returned to work in the lab. A few hours later, he had his breakthrough. He went outside, thanked the boy for his sausage, asked the boy his name, and declared that he would name his new cancer treatment Bendamustine after young Benedetto DaMustini.
I actually made up that last fascinating tidbit. But I had so much fun thinking about writing a screenplay involving two monkeys named Johnny and Gonzalez who helped develop a Rituxan Biosimilar that I decided to work on a prequel that focuses on chemotherapy development.

Anyway, the stuff that you actually learn from the article is pretty interesting on its own, particularly given how much more common Bendamustine is becoming as a treatment for Follicular Lymphoma. As I have mentioned before, Dr. R and I have talked about it as a possible next treatment for me, when it becomes necessary to have one, so I have a special interest in learning more about it.


Anonymous said...

I'm a FL patient who is about to begin Bendamustine and Retux. Appreciate the info on the article. I will definitely check it out.

Anonymous said...

Interesting article! You made it fun to read thank u! - jeanne

Lymphomaniac said...

Good luck with the B-R! Let us know how it's going. Like I said, I have an interest in this treatment.....

Anonymous said...

I just started B-R yesterday. A long appointment Monday to take in the rituximab (and also Bendamustine)and a short appointment Tuesday for Bendamustine only. So far no negative side effects. If this works, I wil be ecstatic!

My best wishes to all of you!

Bob (another Bob)