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New Treatment Rivals Chemotherapy For Lymphoma, Study Finds

The future of cancer treatment - targeted radiotherapy, on a cellular scale. Antibodies coupled to radioactive isotopes specifically seek out, bind to and kill cancerous cells. Provided that you can find something different on the cell surface between normal and cancerous cells; this is not as easy as it sounds.

A new form of treatment for lymphoma that takes a fraction of the time of traditional chemotherapy with fewer side effects caused tumors to shrink in 95 percent of patients, a new study by researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found.

Patients with advanced-stage follicular lymphoma ?a cancer generally considered incurable ?who had not been previously treated with any other form of therapy received a single course of treatment with the Bexxar therapeutic regimen, a radioactive antibody injected into the bloodstream that targets and kills cancer cells. Of the 76 patients enrolled in the study, 95 percent responded to the treatment and 75 percent had a complete response, meaning no evidence of cancer remained. More than three-quarters of patients with a complete remission were disease-free after five years.

Results of the study appear in the Feb. 3 New England Journal of Medicine.

"The results of this treatment, which essentially takes only one week to complete, rival any kind of treatment that's been used for follicular lymphoma, including chemotherapy regimens that take months to complete. It's very well-tolerated by patients and we saw complete remission in the majority of patients lasting for years," says lead study author Mark Kaminski, M.D., director of the Leukemia/Lymphoma Program and the Multidisciplinary Lymphoma Clinic at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Kaminski and his colleague Richard Wahl (formerly at U-M and now at Johns Hopkins University) developed the Bexxar regimen, which received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June 2003 to treat foll
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Source:University Of Michigan Health System


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