Untangling the networks that drive lymphoma
"Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma" is one of the commonest types of blood cancers. We have made advances in understanding and treating this cancer but a substantial group of patients still only survive for a short time.
Cancer arises when mutations disrupt the normal programmes controlling cells. The programme disrupted in this lymphoma controls the fight against infections, and there are “road blocks” that prevent the cancer cells from completing the programme. We can divide the lymphoma according to where and how the “road block” occurs. But in addition to the “road block”, the “cell motor” driving cells along the programme is out of control.
In a group of patients with particularly poor survival, the cause of the “road block” is unexplained in half of patients. We have now identified a possible cause of the “road block” in these patients that it is directly linked to the over-active “cell motor”. By exploring this connection we think that we will be able to identify new ways of treating the cancer. We also think that we will be able to pick out patients who will benefit most from new treatments that target the “cell motor” and are in clinical trials.