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Doctors are working to learn more about NHL, 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.
Gene profiling. As scientists learn more about the genetics and the specific role that gene mutations (changes) have in the development of cancer, they are better able to classify and diagnose subtypes of NHL. These gene profiling methods can help estimate prognosis for patients with certain types of lymphoma and are used primarily in lymphoma research, but in the next few years it is likely that treatments will be designed that work against specific genetic changes and counteract their effects.
Immunotherapy. As explained in the Treatment section, many new antibodies are being developed that boost the body’s natural defenses against cancer. Some attach to the surface of tumor cells. Some have radioactive substances attached that can direct radiation treatment to the lymphoma.
Targeted therapies. Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets the cancer’s specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. This type of treatment blocks the growth and spread of cancer cells while limiting damage to normal cells. There are many targeted treatments for lymphoma in early clinical trials and being studied in laboratories.
Vaccines. Several therapeutic vaccines have been studied in clinical trials, mostly for low-grade lymphoma. They are not meant to prevent lymphoma but to lower the chance that a lymphoma will come back after treatment with chemotherapy or antibody therapy. So far, results from vaccines have been disappointing, but research is continuing to make better vaccines.
Other advances. Different combinations of chemotherapy and different chemotherapy schedules (sometimes with antibodies or radiolabeled antibodies) are being studied in clinical trials. Also, many new drugs that work differently from standard chemotherapy are now being evaluated in clinical trials. The use of different types of stem cell transplantation, including allogeneic or mini-allogeneic transplants, is also being tested for patients with newly-diagnosed disease and for those who have had a recurrence after the initial treatment. For many types of lymphoma, the best way to use stem cell transplantation is still uncertain, which is why clinical trials on this treatment are in progress.
Supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current NHL 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 NHL, explore these related items:
- To find clinical trials specific to your diagnosis, talk with your doctor or search online clinical trial databases now.
- Review research announced at recent scientific meetings.
- 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 NHL.
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