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The first new treatment for adult patients with particular forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma has been launched in the UK, and offers hope for those who have proved previously unresponsive to first and second lines of treatment.
Pixuvri, or pixantrone, is the first monotherapy treatment option for patients with either multiply relapsed or refractory aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and the only existing therapy licenced for use on stage 3 and 4 aggressive B-cell NHL patients.
Aggressive B-cell NHL affects the white blood cells responsible for producing antibodies. It’s an extremely rare but aggressive form of NHL which effects patients of an average age of 70, although occurrences have been recorded in children and younger adults.
Administered as a form of chemotherapy, it works by killing cells which are dividing, such as cancer cells, and interferes with the cell DNA preventing them from making more copies of the DNA and making proteins which ‘tell’ other cells to divide and spread the cancer. This means that the cancer cells in non-Hodgkin B-cell lymphoma that cannot divide eventually die.
There are approximately 37,000 new cases of aggressive B-cell NHL each year in the EU, and from that 1,700 people diagnosed are from the UK. Symptoms include a painless swelling in the neck, armpit or groin caused by enlarged lymph nodes. Often the lymph nodes are also affected, or even the stomach or bowel. Other symptoms may include loss of appetite, fatigue, a fever or high temperature or weight loss.
This particular form of NHL was previously treated through other types of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, steroids and antibodies or stem cell treatment. Pixuvri offers an alternative to these, providing a far superior form of anti-lymphoma chemotherapy medicine, and offers a better hope for patients who have not responded to second or third line therapies.