The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine announced Thursday an $18.3 million grant to fund a UC San Diego-led clinical trial that targets the most common form of lymphoma.The trial will look at a combination drug therapy for B-cell cancers, which include chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or CLL, and mantle cell lymphoma.
A team led by Dr. Thomas Kipps, a professor of medicine and deputy director of research at the Moores Cancer Center, will combine a pair of drugs — one which inhibits a protein called Bruton’s tyrosine kinase and the other that targets a cell surface protein found on tumors but not in normal adult tissues.
“Every year around 20,000 Americans are diagnosed with CLL,” said Dr. Maria Millan, interim president and CEO of CIRM, the state stem cell agency created by voters.
“For those who have run out of treatment options, the only alternative is a bone marrow transplant,” Millan said. “Since CLL afflicts individuals in their 70s who often have additional medical problems, bone marrow transplantation carries a higher risk of life threatening complications.”
She said the combination approach could offer a less invasive and more effective alternative for such patients.
According to UCSD, CLL and non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas result from mutated B cells — a type of white blood cell that’s part of the immune system — that don’t function properly or grow in an uncontrolled manner.
In normal circumstances, some B cells produce antibodies to immediately help fight off infections while others, called memory B cells, remember the pathogen in case of future infections.
— City News Service
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