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Scott & White Healthcare researching treatments for rare cancers

Scott & White's Cancer Research Institute (CRI) has launched two clinical trials targeting cancers that affect both adults and children.

"These studies may lead to eventual development of agents that we hope will improve quality and duration of life," said Arthur Frankel, M.D., director of the CRI, and director of Scott & White's Cancer Center and division of hematology/oncology.

One of the studies aims to find the maximum safest dose of an agent for treatment of T-cell lymphomas and leukemia, including several skin lymphomas. These cutaneous or skin lymphomas represent a variety of cancers with various symptoms and outcomes, including micosis fungoides, a slow-growing lymphoma that primarily affects the skin, and Sezary syndrome, a more aggressive cutaneous lymphoma.

1,500 new cases of this form of lymphoma are reported each year in the U.S., compared to 58,870 new cases for all types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Men are twice as likely as women to have the disease, which typically appears in adults 55 years and older.

"We want to determine if this agent is effective in destroying cancer cells using varying doses," said Dr. Frankel, who is also principal investigator in both studies. Eligible subjects are those 18 years or older who have failed one round of conventional treatment.

A second clinical trial at the Scott & White Cancer Research Institute seeks to determine the efficacy of drugs aimed at B-cell leukemia and lymphoma, including childhood leukemia, using an immunotoxin that targets cancer cells and kills them. The agent treats chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Approximately 15,000 people, primarily over age 50, are diagnosed with CLL each year in the U.S.

The agent involved in the clinical trial also targets acute lymphocyctic leukemia (ALL) or childhood leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow that is the most common type of cancer in children under 15, occurring in about one of every 29,000 children in the U.S.

"In this phase I trial, we want to determine the side effects and best dose of the agent in treating patients with B-cell leukemia or lymphoma who have relapsed or not responded to treatment," said Frankel.


Contact: Katherine Voss
Scott & White Healthcare

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