THE HAGUE, the Netherlands, March 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
To date, up to 80% of patients with the most common subtype of malignant lymphoma (diffuse large B-cell lymphoma), are cured of this aggressive disease by chemotherapy, in combination with the anti-lymphoma antibody Rituximab. Unfortunately, young patients with high risk disease and elderly patients fare much worse and there is an urgent need to improve their outcome. However, the past year has seen a significant increase in our knowledge of the biology of disease. Using gene expression profiling and other new molecular techniques, we are beginning to recognize/identify the disease driver pathways which make lymphoma cells continue to proliferate. These major advances will be extensively reported at the meeting. The first results of clinical studies with new "smart molecules", such as lenalidomide, enzastaurin, bortezomib and ibrutinib, to mention a few, that specifically kill the cancer cells with only minimal damage to normal tissues/organs will be presented. So far, this modern "personalized medicine" approach appears to be promising, in particular for patients who only respond poorly to conventional treatment.
Myeloma, until recently a fatal bone marrow malignancy with a short survival time, is now turning into a chronic disease. This dramatic change is mainly due to the introduction of novel agents such as the proteasome inhibitors bortezomib and carfilzomib and the immune-modulatory drugs thalidomide, lenalidomide and pomalidomide. These have now been incorporated into the treatment approach of both newly diagnosed - and relapsed patients. The results of these studies will be reported in various sessions of the congress. At last in an increasing fraction of patients, long lasting "complete remissions" can now be achieved, i.e. patients live without any signs of disease and enjoy a good quality of life. First results of treatment of myeloma with antibodies - i.e. daratumumab - against the malignant plasma cells will also be presented. Another exciting development is the use of genome sequencing in myeloma to design 'tailor-made' treatment for each individual patient to maximize efficacy and minimize toxicity.
Press Briefing: Friday, June 14, 2013 from 08:30 - 10:00 CET at the Stockholmmässan.
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SOURCE European Hematology Association