Reducing Treatment Toxicity - Dr. Ari Melnick, LRF Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) Member, leads study to improve patient outcomes

In a large scale study that included several institutions from the US, Spain and Canada, lead investigator and LRF SAB member, Dr. Ari Melnick of New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical Center, recently published important results in the journal Cancer Cell that have the potential to create effective targeted therapies that will reduce the toxicity of treatment for lymphoma patients.

The journal article reported the discovery of an experimental new treatment, MI-2, that permanently inactivates MALT1, a key protein responsible for driving the growth and survival of ABC Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (ABC-DLBCL). ABC-DLBCL is the most 'chemotherapy resistant' form of DLBCL and as a result represents a major challenge in terms of treatment. DLBCL is a common sub-type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and the seventh most frequently diagnosed cancer. During their investigation, researchers found that the agent MI-2 can in fact inactivate MALT1 when tested in mice but without any evident toxicity. As explained by Dr. Melnick "we want to eliminate the use of toxic chemotherapy in the treatment of lymphoma patients, and these new study findings take us one-step closer to our goal of creating effective combinational molecular targeted therapy regimens to reduced treatment toxicity and improve lymphoma patient outcomes."

According to Weill Cornell Medical Center, if these results are tested successfully in human clinical trials, the drug MI-2 could also benefit the treatment of other diseases, including MALT1 lymphoma (mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue), a slower growing type of lymphoma, as well as inflammatory and autoimmune disorders, such as Lupus and Rheumatoid arthritis.

January 2013