Research Directions in Follicular Lymphoma

In an unprecedented event for LRF, ten distinguished follicular lymphoma (FL) experts and six Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF) board members gathered in Houston, TX on October 27, 2011 to develop priorities for the LRF's FL Research Program. The group, led by Scientific Advisory Board Chair (SAB), Dr. Bruce Cheson, spent the day charting promising areas of research, processes that would improve LRF's granting program, and ways to promote collaboration among LRF grantees. Lively discussion examined the range of issues affecting FL research and the questions that remain unanswered in the field. The group aimed to identify the most important challenges, the best ways to address them, and those that LRF can most effectively address.

Ultimately, the priority research areas established were

  • Personalized medicine
  • Targeted approaches to pathways
  • Research focused on completion of the FL genome
  • Developing a comprehensive understanding of the micro-environment
  • Transformation and heterogeneity of FL; and
  • Re-invigorating the LRF's FL Consortium as the organization's FL leadership

A variety of ideas were generated to facilitate achieving the objectives of high priority actionable items. These ideas include:

  • LRF supporting an FL Consortium meeting to discuss endpoints
  • Clinical trial designs, and publishable results
  • Catalyzing collaboration among researchers of different disciplines
  • Contributing to the genomic mapping of FL
  • Exploring collaboration with companies dealing with molecular profiling
  • Supporting studies designed to understand the heterogeneity of FL and
  • Developing novel therapeutics based on heterogeneity. The discussants decided that the LRF FL research program should put an emphasis on Advocacy, Clinical and Translational research (ACT).

The group ultimately concluded that the overarching LRF FL research vision moving forward is to

  • Enable physicians to consider individual tumors and what drives them
  • Understand the molecular basis for differences in FL and help select therapies to address those differences; and
  • Move the understanding and treatment of FL forward by fostering synergies between researchers.

Just weeks later, LRF posted a new "Request for Proposals" (RFP) on our website, advertised in medical journals, and promoted through an email blast to researchers. To see the RFP, click here. LRF hopes to see some exciting proposals which will be reviewed by the SAB in April 2012.