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.”