A Phase 2 clinical trial for Abexinostat showed some good results for Follicular Lymphoma.
Haematologica: The Journal of the European Hematology Association published in article in their January edition called "Safety and Efficacy of Abexinostat, a Pan-Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor, in Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: Results of a Phase 2 Study."
Abexinostat, as the title says, is a Pan-Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor. There are lots of different types of inhibitors being tested (and approved) for lots of different types of cancer these days, and in general, they work by stopping (or inhibiting) some function that a cancer cell needs in order to survive. Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors have actually been around for a while. They can help patients with epilepsy control seizures, and can help as mood stabilizers. There is also some research going on that shows they might help patients with Alzheimer's and other diseases where the nerves degenerate.
They do this by inhibiting Histone Deacetylase. This is all part of a very cool process that helps the body coil and uncoil DNA so cells can make copies of themselves. Histone Deacetylase helps remove something called an acetylase, whuch sets off a complex chain of reactions. Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors help to keep this from happening, meaning the cancer cells can't make copies of themselves.
(If you want to see a video of how Abexinostat works, you can watch one here. It refers to Abexinostat's old name, PCI-247812. The video was posted by someone named "Food Cheese," which made me think twice about linking to it. But then I remembered that I go by the name "Lympho Bob," and I really shouldn't judge people just because they post online with a stupid name.)
Anyway, the European trial involved patients with several different types of lymphoma, including Follicular Lymphoma. Patients were relapsed or refractory to treatment -- something wasn't working anymore. There were a total of 87 patients who made it to the evaluation point of the trial. While only 28% of them had a response (and only 5% had a complete response), the numbers for the small group of FL patients were the best of the bunch, with 56% having a response. The researchers believe more research is necessary for some of the groups that showed success, including FL, especially with a less-intense dosing schedule (which seemed to cause some side effects that could be avoided or lessened).
A trial with a less-intense dose actually took place in the U.S., and was reported on last spring. Like this European trial, the U.S. trial looked at patients with different types of lymphoma, and found that Follicular Lymphoma patients fared best (a 64% Overall Response Rate). Those researchers also called for more studies.
So maybe Abexinostat will show us something in a few years. It doesn't seem to be a knockout treatment on its own, but it could end up in a combination that kicks some cancer butt.