Targeted Approaches to Treating B-cell Malignancies

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Dr. Leo Gordon, from Northwestern Memorial Hospital, reviews the developing paradigm shift in the way that lymphomas are treated. He talks about the move from aggressive chemotherapy to more targeted treatments and explores how new categories of medicines, such as monoclonal antibodies and targeted small molecule inhibitors, or pills, may allow people to manage their disease as a chronic condition. Overall, Dr. Gordon is overwhelmingly positive about the future of treatment for lymphomas with novel therapies currently in clinical trials and those that are still in the early stages of development.


This is really the world series of discussions about blood-related cancers, and with us is Dr. Leo Gordon from Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the Feinberg School of Medicine, the Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center.  Dr. Gordon, you specialize in particularly some indolent blood cancers like chronic lymphocytic leukemia, follicular lymphoma.  This is an exciting meeting for these illnesses and hope for people I would think with these conditions. 

But there are drugs that are currently in clinical trials.  There's a drug from AbbVie, ABT-199, that has really very potent activity in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.  We've seen patients where blood counts will go from near 300,000 to almost normal within 24, 48 hours with an oral drug.  And so those trials are ongoing.  We're very excited about those. 

We're very excited about drugs like ibrutinib and idelalisib, drugs which inhibit different components of the pathway down—what we consider to be downstream—from something called the B-cell receptor, which seems to be important for B-cell development and B-cell growth, and these are B-cell malignancies that we're talking about. 

Thank you for joining us.  I'm Andrew Schorr.  Remember, knowledge can be the best medicine of all.  

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, its medical staff or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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Page last updated on August 29, 2014