News Releases

Lymphoma Research Foundation Announces Over $1 Million in Research Grants

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Researcher Receives Top Grant Award to Pursue New Treatments and Cures for Lymphoma

NEW YORK — Feb. 19, 2004 — Today the Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF), the nation's largest lymphoma-focused voluntary health organization, announced $1,065,000 in new research grants to eight leading research institutions throughout the U.S. Lymphoma is the most common blood cancer and the third most common cancer of childhood. Nearly 500,000 Americans have some form of the disease. More than 1,290 new cases of lymphoma will be diagnosed in Washington State this year and approximately 460 people will die from the disease.

A researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington, Dr. John Pagel, M.D., Ph.D., will receive the 2004 LRF Career Development Award of $225,000. This prestigious annual award allows top fellows and scientists at the nation's leading academic institutions to develop and manage clinical trials.

"Each year, LRF awards funding to both well-established and up-and-coming researchers in the lymphoma field," said Joseph Bertino, MD, Chairman of LRF's Scientific Advisory Board. "Our goal is to attract the nation's best scientific talent to careers in lymphoma and also allow those recognized researchers to develop clinical trials that could lead to breakthroughs in treatment," he added.

Dr. Pagel's project — Pretargeted Radioimmunotherapy for CD20+ Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma — seeks to enhance survival of patients with the disease. Despite recent advances in therapy, relapsed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is incurable with conventional treatments. However, radioimmunotherapy is an exciting new therapy that delivers radiation to malignant cells using radiolabeled monoclonal antibodies. Initial trials in Seattle using these antibodies have demonstrated responses in 90 to 95 percent of patients, however, many patients still relapse and unbound antibodies contribute to side effects. To improve responses and reduce side effects, Pagel and his team plan to use a novel "pretargeting" radioimmunotherapy strategy with anti-CD20 antibody, which appears to markedly improve the delivery of radionuclides to tumor cells and decrease radiation exposure to normal cells.

"We anticipate that this treatment approach will ultimately enhance the prognosis for patients with lymphoma by increasing the response to the therapy, while simultaneously minimizing toxicities," said Pagel.

There are more than 30 subtypes of lymphoma, consisting of 5 types of Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL), also known as Hodgkin's disease, and over 25 types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). Each year, approximately 54,370 new cases of NHL are diagnosed and 19,410 Americans die from the disease. The overall five-year survival rate is only 56%. In addition, 7,880 new cases of HL are diagnosed each year and 1,320 Americans die from this form of the disease. However the overall five-year survival rate for HL is 84%.

Some promising research areas for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma are: new antibody treatments which act like guided missiles that zero in on specific targets (antigens) on the lymphoma cells; vaccine treatments to stimulate the immune system to attack the lymphoma; profiling tumors by examining the finger-print-like pattern expressed by genes, thus aiding in prognosis and development of new treatments; testing new therapies that are biologically targeted to unique abnormalities specific to certain lymphomas.

Some promising areas for Hodgkin's lymphoma are determining the exact role of viruses in causing HL; new antibody treatments similar to those for NHL; and less toxic and lesser amounts of chemotherapy and radiotherapy (which are being explored due to the high cure rate of HL and long-term toxic effects of these treatments).

Media Contacts
Susan Edmonds
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
(206) 667-2896
sedmonds@fhcrc.org

Julie Kimbrough
Lymphoma Research Foundation
(212) 585-3501
juliekimbrough@earthlink.net

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home of two Nobel Prize laureates, is an independent, nonprofit research institution dedicated to the development and advancement of biomedical technology to eliminate cancer and other potentially fatal diseases. Fred Hutchinson receives more funding from the National Institutes of Health than any other independent U.S. research center. Recognized internationally for its pioneering work in bone-marrow transplantation, the center's four scientific divisions collaborate to form a unique environment for conducting basic and applied science. Fred Hutchinson, in collaboration with its clinical and research partners, the University of Washington Academic Medical Center and Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in the Pacific Northwest and is one of 38 nationwide. For more information, visit the center's Web site at www.fhcrc.org.

Lymphoma Research Foundation
The mission of the Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF) is to eradicate lymphoma and serve those touched by the disease. The Foundation is the nation's largest lymphoma-focused voluntary health organization devoted exclusively to lymphoma research and providing patients and healthcare professionals with critical information on the disease. To date, LRF has funded more than $18 million in lymphoma research. 89 cents of every dollar raised goes to research and education programming. People affected by lymphoma can receive free personalized information tailored to their diagnosis, help with finding a clinical trial, and easy-to-understand information on lymphoma, current treatments, and promising research. Please call 800-500-9976, e-mail helpline@lymphoma.org, or visit the website www.lymphoma.org.

 

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is a world leader in research to prevent, detect and treat cancer and other life-threatening diseases.