Grampians Health researchers tackling diffuse large B cell lymphoma

Tuesday 18 June 2024

A registered nurse for over 10 years, Grampians Health Clinical Trial Coordinator Maggie Zhang is working to improve the overall survival rate of patients diagnosed with diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL).

“The immuno-chemotherapy regimen is the current standard of care for the treatment of patients with newly diagnosed DLBCL, but thirty to forty per cent of patients would still relapse on standard of care. Thus, the development of a more effective first-line therapy is essential to improve long-term outcomes, particularly in high-risk patients,” Ms Zhang said.

Diffuse large B cell lymphoma is a non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and a cancer of the lymphatic system. This type of cancer develops when the body makes abnormal B lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that usually helps fight infections.

“There are several early-stage trials for patients with DLBCL in the first line treatment setting, but none of these trials to date have led to practice-changing results and therefore the current chemotherapy treatment remains the standard first-line therapy for DLBCL. This study aims to improve the response rate and overall survival for first-line treatment in DLBCL,” Ms Zhang said.

Diffuse large B cell lymphoma is aggressive and the most common type of NHL, with approximately 30 to 40 per cent of all NHL patients being diagnosed with DLBCL.

Ms Zhang says the new treatments may be more effective for some patients with DLBCL and is hopeful it will provide an alternative treatment in the future.

“There is a high medical need for additional treatment options with improved outcomes and better safety profiles for patients with DLBCL. This study could potentially bring changes in our future practice,” Ms Zhang said.

Ms Zhang is looking forward to seeing the outcome of this study, while championing the need for more clinical trials in medicine.

“Clinical trials help us find new ways to prevent and detect cancer. Clinical trials also help to improve health care services by raising standards of treatment,” Ms Zhang said.

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