Saturday, January 9, 2016

Patient Power: Beyond Chemotherapy

The good folks at Patient Power have a couple of videos that follow up on this year's ASH conference. One of them is an interview with Dr. Jennifer Cultrera, who discusses treatments for Follicular Lymphoma that move us beyond chemotherapy. If you've been keeping up with FL research, you know it's no surprise that specialists are looking beyond chemo.

The interview is available on Patient Power, but you need to be a member of their community to view it. If you aren't interesting in joining (it's free), Lymphoma News Today has also posted the interview.

Dr. Cultrera mentions immunotherapy and targeted treatments, which are getting lots of attention these days in cancer circles (not just Follicular Lymphoma circles). She makes the point that combined therapies are becoming more important (since someone's FL might be the result of a few different mutations), but they are also easier to combine, since the side effects aren't as bad as with traditional chemo. She thinks there will be "an explosion" of new treatments in the years to come.

However, Dr. Cultrera also discusses the importance of clinical trials, not only because they are a source of cutting-edge treatment. But more importantly, clinical trials need patients who are willing to try out the treatments, or they will never make it to the oncologist's office to help anybody. We can't expect an explosion of new treatments if there is no one to check them out.

(If you want to know more about clinical trials, including how to talk to your doctor about them, take a look at Lymphomation's "Focus on Clinical Trials.")

One final thought from Dr. Cultrera: she says she is a science fiction fan, and she remembers reading Arthur C. Clark predicting that in the year 3001, cancer patients would be able to take a pill every day to keep their cancer in check. That may happen in our lifetimes. There are pills out there that doing just that for a lot of people right now.

So this interview isn't a summary of what happened at ASH, but it does have some expert commentary on some of the general trends that people saw at the conference. Not a bad way to spend 7 minutes.


Anonymous said...

Hi bob l have reading your blog for the past year . i had nhl in feb 2015 . did r-b treatments for six months . now doing ritxamab maintance for two years once every three months.. It was shock that i found out i had cancer. the doctor said its gone now. I am a 43 male. your blog helped me out , thank you . JImmy from vancouver canada.

Lymphomaniac said...

Hey Jimmy. Thanks for reading, and good luck with the R-Maintenance.