World-first test predicts treatment outcomes

 

Prof Maher Gandhi

For the first time, Leukaemia Foundation-funded researchers in Brisbane have developed a test that will give patients with an aggressive form of lymphoma certainty about their treatment options.

Our chair in Blood Cancer Research at the UQ Diamantina Institute, Professor Maher Gandhi, said the new tool could predict how patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) will respond to standard treatment and help clinicians identify the best treatment option for each patient.

Professor Gandhi said this type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma was the sixth most common form of cancer, with up to 2000 Australians diagnosed each year.

“It can be fast growing and aggressive, so early diagnosis is vital, as is swift treatment,” he said.

“Fortunately, the majority of cases respond very well to the current first line treatment, which is a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

“However, some patients do not respond, and for these people the prognosis is poor.”

“The test will allow clinicians like myself to determine which patients are unlikely to respond well to standard treatment, thus avoiding ineffective and unnecessary chemotherapy and prompting consideration of other treatment options.”

“This isn’t just another test; it’s a game changer,” our CEO Bill Petch said.

Professor Gandhi’s discovery will mean patients get access to the best treatment for them, first time, every time.”

New treatment options for patients

Mr Petch said the test could help patients access newer drugs in the future.

“It will significantly reduce relapse rates and have a significant impact on how drugs are funded and delivered into the healthcare system,” he said.

“The implications for this country’s health economics are enormous but, most importantly, patients will get access to the best treatments more quickly.

“If this test can then translate to other medicines and blood cancers, it could open the door to new drugs from overseas by shedding more light on their potential here in Australia.”

Support from the Leukaemia Foundation

The Leukaemia Foundation has supported several of the researchers involved with the project. Their research has been published in the prestigious Lancet Haematology journal.

 

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