Each year, an estimated 20,100 people across America die from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). While treatment is available—namely chemotherapy and immunotherapy—researchers are always exploring new treatment options to help those affected live longer, happier lives. In an article from Medical XPress, the Society of Nuclear Medicine shares that nuclear medicine therapy is one option that doctors and researchers are considering.
Nuclear medicine therapy, as described by the Mayo Clinic, is:
a cancer treatment that uses radioactive drugs that bind to cancer cells and destroy them. It has proved to be successful in easing symptoms, improving quality-of-life and extending life.
Somewhat recently, a research team explored a type of nuclear medicine therapy and radioimmunotherapy called [177Lu]Lu-ofatumumab for the treatment of NHL. This treatment combines an anti-CD20 human antibody with a therapeutic radioisotope. The antibody is used as CD20 is highly expressed on cancerous cells.
Within their study, published in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, the researchers administered [177Lu]Lu-ofatumumab to mice models of NHL. Mice either received no treatment, ofatumumab by itself, [177Lu]Lu-ofatumumab, or [177Lu]Lu-IgG. Those receiving no treatment had a lifespan of around 19 days. Ofatumumab alone and [177Lu]Lu-IgG resulted in median survival of around 25-59 days.
Mice treated with [177Lu]Lu-ofatumumab showed much more significant treatment responses. 8.51 MBq of this treatment contributed to:
- Median survival of 221 days following treatment
- The complete elimination/disappearance of detectable NHL tumors
More research is needed to determine if this therapy could be used in humans.
What is Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL)?
Your lymphatic system plays a role in how your body fights infections and foreign invaders. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer that manifests in the lymphatic system in white blood cells called lymphocytes. There are multiple NHL subtypes, but for today, we’re going to focus on NHL as a whole. Risk factors include having a weakened immune system, being older in age, chemical exposure, or having certain infections or viruses. Symptoms of this cancer can, but do not always, include:
- Abdominal pain and swelling
- Swollen lymph nodes (especially in the neck, groin, or armpits)
- Chest pain
- Chronic cough
- Shortness of breath and/or difficulty breathing
- Fever and drenching night sweats
- Unintentional weight loss