A vital head start against cancer

Doctors will be given a valuable head start against cancer with the development of a new test that can identify the 40% of patients with an aggressive form of lymphoma who are not likely to respond to standard treatment.

Our Chair in blood cancer research at UQ Diamantina Institute in Brisbane, Professor Maher Gandhi, explains the laboratory test and how early access to an alternative and more suitable treatment could improve outcomes for patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).

Giving certainty to patients

Until now  lymphoma doctors have lacked a reliable tool that accurately predicts whether a patient will be cured with conventional chemotherapy.

Professor Gandhi and his team of researchers have developed such a tool that will help clinicians decide at the outset the most appropriate therapy for each patient that will give them the best chance of survival.

This is particularly important for the patients who don’t respond to chemotherapy but are currently being treated this way, suffering unnecessary side effects and a poor prognosis.

Early access to alternative treatments

Using this new test clinicians will be able to identify these patients and consider them for alternative targeted therapies that work differently to conventional therapies.

“This type of lymphoma can be fast growing and aggressive, so early diagnosis is vital, as is swift treatment,” Professor Gandhi said.

LH_-2A patient’s perspective

Lindsey Harrington was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in June this year and said the test developed by Professor Gandhi’s team could give patients like her clarity right from the start about which treatment offered the best chance of survival.

“Immediate treatment is vital for many blood cancers, so anything that helps speed up access to the most appropriate treatment would be a potential lifesaver.” 

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