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Early Research Finds New Drug Effective Against Lymphoma

Initial research done by doctors at the University of Michigan Health Rogel Cancer Center has found that the oral medication zanubrutinib was very helpful for patients suffering from a slow-growing type of cancer known as marginal zone lymphoma.

Among the 20 patients who took the clinical trial, the cancer shrunk in 80 percent of the cases, with a fifth getting complete remission. A very small proportion of the 33 participants with follicular lymphoma, which is a similar cancer, also responded to the drug.

The common side effects of the clinical trial ranged from diarrhea, bruising and rashes to colds, fevers and lower levels of white blood cells, which are part of the immune system and are very important in fighting infections.

Based on these trial results as well as a secondary study named Magnolia, the Food and Drug Administration has approved zanubrutinib on a contingent basis for adults with marginal zone lymphoma, which has recurred or become resistant to other treatments.

Commenting on the trial results, Tycel Phillips, MD, a hematologist at the Rogel Cancer Center, a clinical associate professor at the University of Michigan Medical School and the lead author of the study, said, "Treatment options with improved tolerability and better disease control were much needed for marginal zone lymphoma and follicular lymphoma. While the small size of this study limits broad conclusions, the safety and efficacy results highlight the potential for zanubrutinib as an addition to available therapies for these cancers."

Lymphoma is a type of cancer, which begins in the lymphatic system, the tissues and organs that produce and store white blood cells. The marginal zone and follicular lymphomas happen when white blood cells known as B cells become damaged and start to grow uncontrollably.

Till now, researchers have not been able to cure patients of these two forms of lymphomas with chemotherapy, so they have been looking for new methods to cure these diseases.

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