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Mantle Cell Lymphoma Research Initiative and Consortium

Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL) is a B-cell lymphoma that gets its name because tumors are composed of cells that resemble those in the "mantle zone" of lymph nodes. It accounts for about 6% of all non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leading to about 3,000 to 4,000 cases per year in the United States.

In late 2003, the Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF) had the opportunity to support a special research initiative focused on this orphan disease because of an outstanding gift by a generous donor. Knowing that a focus on MCL would benefit so many who were facing this challenging disease, LRF started an MCL Research Grants program, and has to date awarded $23.5M to support 47 research grants.

The MCL research program grew quickly, beginning with the development of a Consortium (MCLC) in January 2005. The MCLC then developed a spectrum of projects designed to enhance MCL research quality and speed as well as to help patients now. The MCL Initiative and the Consortium have produced many resources for patients and for researchers:

Patient Education & Resources:

  • LRF produces a variety of patient education opportunities that can help patients, family and friends understand MCL, treatment options, and psychosocial issues as well as clinical trials and their possible benefits to the patient. To learn more, visit www.lymphoma.org and click on the Learn tab.
  • Or, go to the new MCL Website: www.focusonmcl.org provides patients with information about MCL, educational programs and the LRF Helpline among other relevant resources including a video presentation about Lymphoma from Oliver Press, MD, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and former LRF Scientific Advisory Board Chair.

Researcher Resources:

Accomplishments:

LRF's MCL Initiative and Consortium helped to jump start research into MCL and has provided a significant support to MCL researchers around the U.S. and around the world.

  • Forty-seven grants were given in 15 states as well as Canada and the European Union.
  • Formation of the MCL Consortium a group of over 100 researchers dedicated to understanding MCL.
  • 9 Annual Workshops have provided researchers an opportunity to learn from one another, test ideas, and find collaborators.
  • A 2011 survey of 33 former MCL grantees revealed 199 publications, overwhelmingly in prestigious medical journals – a measure of project success.
  • LRF funded MCL Research projects made major contributions to our
    • Understanding of the molecular and cellular basis of the various forms of MCL
    • Ability to distinguish indolent from aggressive MCL
    • Capability to predict a patient's prognosis – and to tailor treatments
    • Knowledge of MCL signaling pathways which may lead to targeted therapeutics
    • Understanding of possible molecular targets which may also lead to new therapies
  • We are also pleased to report that improved survival rates have emerged in the past several years.
  • Besides contributing to our understanding and treatment of MCL and lymphoma in general, the MCLI became a model and an impetus for the development of other focused disease initiatives, including follicular lymphoma, CLL/SLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma) and now in 2012 with a new program for DLBCL (diffuse large B-cell lymphoma).