Genetic Clues May Point to Better Lymphoma Treatments

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- New research into the genetic causes of a form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma could lead to novel treatments, suggest researchers from the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Their new study reports on how lymphoma cancer cells manage to survive. The type of cancer in question, known as diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, develops in B cells, which are part of the immune system and help the body fend off attackers.

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma accounts for about a third of newly diagnosed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cases, the researchers noted in a news release from the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

The research, published Jan. 7 in Nature, pinpoints how signaling pathways work within lymphoma cells to allow them to survive. The researchers also explored genetic mutations that play a role in the process.

"This study opens up a wealth of therapeutic opportunities for this type of lymphoma and may eventually lead to clinical trials testing agents that target components of the B-cell receptor signaling pathway," the study's senior author, Dr. Louis M. Staudt, of the National Cancer Institute's Center for Cancer Research, said in the news release.

The researchers suggested that dasatinib, a drug that has been approved for treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia, could turn off the signaling process.

-- Randy Dotinga

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SOURCE: U.S. National Cancer Institute, news release, Jan. 6, 2010