Lymphoma: Targeting treatment for special populations

Sep. 15, 2017

Dr. Patrick ReaganClinical trials to test new therapies are a priority at Wilmot Cancer Institute. While Wilmot participates in many national studies, the lymphoma team is also developing its own trials.

Patrick Reagan, M.D., for example, is working with Wilmot’s Geriatric Oncology team to study a modified version of the standard treatment for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) in older adults. While many DLBCL patients are cured using the standard treatment — a chemotherapy regimen known as R-CHOP — a subset will not respond at all.

“We’re trying to develop a targeted approach in a group, where if the disease comes back, we have few effective treatment options,” Reagan says.

The goal of Reagan’s study is to improve older adults’ response to chemotherapy without adding to the side effects. His trial will incorporate the drug brentuximab vedotin, which targets a protein called CD30 that is present in about a quarter of large-cell lymphomas, into the standard therapy.

As part of the study, he will also be evaluating the impact on activities of daily living, as well as any changes in cognition, among other factors. In addition, his team is looking at the changes in the immune system that occur with age and the influence it has on B and T cells, which are involved in lymphoma.

“This is a great area for research because this is a common disease and there is a lot of room for improvement,” Reagan says.