New drug for advanced lymphoma

Whilst many lymphomas are seen to be curable, others such as diffuse large B-cell lymphoma are stubborn and resistant to treatment. Researchers from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, USA have discovered that a drug, known as ibrutinib can override signals from the immune cells known as B-cells which can cause self-destruction of the immune system.

Ibrutinib works by blocking the protein responsible for the signals from the B-cell receptors preventing the cells from destroying themselves in an attempt to rid the body of abnormal cells. A small pilot trial, run by the Cancer Institute has found that of those patients who took ibrutinib daily four of them experienced shrinkage of the tumour or total disappearance of the tumour.

The trial is very much in its early stage but oncologist, Professor Jonathan Licht of the Center for Genetic Medicine, Chicago, USA has said that this could prove to be important for several cancers and states that the drug is “…very promising.”

Special proteins in the blood that are produced in response to a specific antigen and play a key role in immunity and allergy. Full medical glossary
Abnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. Full medical glossary
The basic unit of all living organisms. Full medical glossary
The organs specialised to fight infection. Full medical glossary
A watery or milky bodily fluid containing lymphocytes, proteins and fats. Lymph accumulates outside the blood vessels in the intercellular spaces of the body tiisues and is collected by the vessels of the lymphatic system. Full medical glossary
A type of cancer that affects the lymph nodes, part of the immune system. Full medical glossary
A specialist in the treatment of cancer. Full medical glossary
Compounds that form the structure of muscles and other tissues in the body, as well as comprising enzymes and hormones. Full medical glossary
A microbe, such as a type of bacteria, that is able to resist the effects of antibiotics or other drugs. Full medical glossary
septic arthritis Full medical glossary
An abnormal swelling. Full medical glossary