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Doctors are working to learn more about Hodgkin lymphoma, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the diagnostic and treatment options best for you.
Measuring treatment effectiveness. A main focus of research for Hodgkin lymphoma is monitoring how well treatment is working to help make decisions about when to change treatment. Some new clinical trials are looking at changing chemotherapy depending on the results of a PET scan early in the treatment.
New chemotherapy. New chemotherapy, combinations of chemotherapy, lower doses, and shorter schedules are being studied in clinical trials to reduce short-term side effects and long-term health risks to patients receiving chemotherapy. Other drugs are being tested for recurrent Hodgkin lymphoma and may be added to the current standard drugs used for progressive disease.
Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy (also called biologic therapy) is designed to boost the body’s natural defenses to fight the cancer. It uses materials made either by the body or in a laboratory to bolster, target, or restore immune system function. Some treatments involve antibodies that attach to proteins on the surface of cancer cells. Some antibodies have radioactive substances attached that will direct radiation therapy to the lymphoma (called radioimmunotherapy), and other antibodies direct drugs to the cancer cells. Research on the recently approved drug brentuximab vedotin is ongoing to find out how best to use this drug.
Gene profiling. Some researchers are looking at the specific genes and proteins that are found in Hodgkin lymphoma. These genes and proteins provide more information about the behavior of Hodgkin lymphoma, which may help better target the lymphoma with chemotherapy or immunotherapy.
Other treatments. Vaccine therapy is being studied to see if it helps the body’s immune system kill cancer cells. Stem cell transplantation is being studied in combination with chemotherapy and immunotherapy regimens for new or recurrent Hodgkin lymphoma. Mini-allogeneic or allogeneic transplantation is being tested in combination with chemotherapy and immunotherapy for new or recurrent Hodgkin lymphoma. Several new types of drugs which work in a different way than chemotherapy, called targeted therapy, are also being studied. Many of these are given in tablet (pill) form.
Supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current Hodgkin lymphoma treatments in order to improve patients’ comfort and quality of life.
Learn more about common statistical terms used in cancer research.
Looking for More about Current Research?
If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding Hodgkin lymphoma, explore these related items:
- To find clinical trials specific to your diagnosis, talk with your doctor or search online clinical trial databases now.
- Read ASCO’s latest Clinical Cancer Advances report, which highlights top research findings over the past year.
- Visit ASCO’s CancerProgress.Net website to learn more about the historical pace of research for Hodgkin lymphoma.
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