Promising clinical trial results announced for new Hodgkin lymphoma treatment
Some of today’s newspapers report that a new targeted drug has shown promise in treating Hodgkin lymphoma patients who fail to respond to standard treatments. ‘Nivolumab’ is a new type of immunotherapy treatment that uses the body’s own immune system to attack cancer cells more effectively.
Around 1,500 patients are diagnosed with classical Hodgkin lymphoma in the UK each year. 83% of patients will survive for at least five years, with many achieving a life-long cure.
The results from a clinical trial using the treatment were announced at the annual meeting of the European Haematology Association in Denmark on Sunday 12 June. The 80 patients treated on the trial all had classical Hodgkin lymphoma that had relapsed after up to four previous treatment regimes - including chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. The majority of patients (66%) responded well to nivolumab, with their tumours shrinking significantly.
Dr Alasdair Rankin, Director of Research at the blood cancer charity Bloodwise, said: “While treatment will be successful for the majority of patients, there are still many patients whose disease will relapse. It is vital that new treatments are designed for those patients whose lymphoma is particularly hard to treat.
“While it is still early days, these results suggest that nivolumab shows promise of offering effective treatment with limited side-effects for this group of patients. The patients in this study will need to be followed up to see how nivolumab affects long-term survival. The effectiveness of nivolumab will also be compared with other new treatments and drug combinations under development, in order to find the most effective treatment possible.”