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Lymphoma Treatment Shows Promise


10/19/2005 5:12:37 PM

A one-time treatment that uses a homing-device drug to zap cancer cells with radiation made a deadly lymphoma disappear in three out of four patients, many for nearly eight years, researchers report. While the results were called promising, it's not known yet whether the novel approach will be superior to the standard early treatments normally used for a slow-growing but incurable type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. "The striking thing about it is how such a short treatment can produce such long-lasting remissions," said Dr. Mark S. Kaminski, who developed the new treatment, Bexxar, with a University of Michigan colleague. The researchers said more studies will be needed to determine whether doctors should use Bexxar as a first treatment to fight the immune-system cancer. Bexxar is only approved for use when other therapies, including chemotherapy and radiation, fail. Bexxar treatment starts with a test dose followed by a full dose a week later instead of over months, as with chemotherapy. One advantage is fewer side effects, such as hair loss, the researchers said. The findings reported in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine (news - web sites) were partly funded by drug maker Corixa, which recently sold the rights to Bexxar to GlaxoSmithKline. Some of the scientists have received fees from the drug makers; one was a Corixa employee. The university holds patents for Bexxar, and Kaminski and his co-inventor share in royalties.

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