Friday, October 24, 2014

Dr. Sharman on Lenalidomide for Indolent Lymphoma

Dr. Jeff Sharman has another excellent blog post that is of interest to Follicular Lymphoma patients. This one looks at the combination of Lenalidomide and Rituxan for Indolent Lymphoma, including Follicular Lymphoma.

The inspiration for the post was a study from The Lancet Oncology that described the results of a phase II clinical trial for that combination. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but we can let Dr. Sharman do that work for us. I highly recommend his post.

Dr. Sharman does an excellent job of explaining Immunotherapy, and how this particular combination serves to jump start the body's natural immune reaction to fight cancer.

As he describes it, B cells (one of three types of immune system cells) are able to put the other two types (T cells and NK cells) to sleep, in something called "psuedo-exhaustion." While they sleep, the B cells do their work. (Follicular Lymphoma is, of course, a type of B cell cancer.) 

Lenalidomide basically reverses the psuedo-exhaustion, and wakes up those other two immune cells. Combine Lenalidomide with Rituxan, which seeks out B cells, and you have a (literally) killer combination that works very well.

How well? When you combine the two, you get an overall response rate of over 90%, which is comparable to Rituxan + chemotherapy. However, the Complete Response rate for the combo is about 87%. Compare that to Rituxan + chemo, which has a CR of about 35%.

Wipes it out for that many FL patients, and without the side effects of chemo? Very nice.

Dr. Sharman concludes with some information about clinical trials for Lenalidomidefor Follicular Lymphoma. When you read the bog post, be sure to check out those links as well.

Another great post from Dr. Sharman.

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