Young sufferers who have failed to respond to lymphoma treatment have been offered hope after a new drug was found to dramatically shrink tumours and even completely eliminate the disease in some cases. new drug is one of the world’s first immunotherapy drugs and works by cutting the brakes of the immune system so it can fight back against cancer.A trial to see if it worked on young people suffering Hodgkin lymphoma found that 66 per cent of the 80 participants saw their tumours shrink significantly while one in 10 were given the all clear.“Every year in the UK, around 2,000 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma and, sadly, many will be in their 20s or 30s,” said Dr Graham Collins, Consultant Haematologist, Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust, where the trial was carried out.
“If a patient’s cancer progresses despite available lymphoma treatment, there is often little that can be done.“For the first time in this very sick patient group we are seeing lymphoma treatment with drug considerably reduce cancer burden in a majority of patients. The hope is that this will translate into longer survival in more patients than has been possible to date.”Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is a relatively aggressive cancer that develops in the lymphatic system – a network of vessels and glands throughout the body that forms a key part of the immune system.Over the last decade, HL incidence rates have increased by 20 per cent in the UK, with around 2,000 people diagnosed each year.
Jonathan Pearce, Chief Executive of the Lymphoma Association, said: “It is vital that innovative treatments are being developed and made available to lymphoma patients.“We want everyone affected by lymphoma to receive the best possible treatment and care, and the more options there are to improve outcomes and quality of life for patients, the better.”The results were presented at the Congress of the European Hematology Association (EHA) in Copenhagen, Denmark.