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University of Maryland researchers discover possible drug targets for common non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
Date:7/19/2011

cancer cells lose this ability and consequently grow uncontrollably.

E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., vice president of medical affairs at the University of Maryland and dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, says, "This is a very important discovery that may ultimately benefit patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, a common hematological malignancy that can be difficult to treat. These findings provide valuable new insight into the molecular make-up of this cancer that may lead to new targeted drug therapies."

Lymphoma is a cancer that originates in the lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) of the immune system. Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is a fast-growing, aggressive form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. It accounts for about 30 to 35 percent of all non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, and about 25,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas usually are treated with several types of chemotherapy cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone (CHOP) and a biological therapy, such as the monoclonal antibody rituximab (Rituxan). Radiation therapy may be used on occasion, and bone marrow or stem cell transplantation may also be a treatment option.

Dr. Gartenhaus says researchers hope the study findings will help to develop new therapies that will be effective and well-tolerated by patients. "We believe it is important to identify drugs that can improve the efficacy and reduce the toxicity of standard anti-lymphoma therapy," he says.

The new research showed that using compounds to inhibit ERK and CHK2 did not cause any significant damage to normal cells or tissue examined in the lab, according to Bojie Dai, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the lead author. "We hope that new therapies directed at these two proteins would have modest side effects because they would target only the lymphoma cells," Dr. Dai says.

Dr. Gartenhaus say
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Contact: Karen E. Warmkessel
kwarmkessel@umm.edu
410-328-8919
University of Maryland Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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