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Success for non-Hodgkin lymphoma drug

Scientists in Houston, America have developed a new chemotherapy drug to fight non-Hodgkin lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

The drug, which was being investigated for its potency against the two different types of cancer has been found to be effective in about one-third of the 58 patients who participated in the study.

The drug, Alisertib, obstructs an enzyme which is already known to be very active during cell division, which aids the spread of cancer cells. Taken orally, it has proved to be very effective in a significant number of patients with aggressive lymphoma when used for between 7 and 21 days.

The study, published in the journal Investigational New Drugs, looked at the safety, tolerability and preliminary stages of success Alisertib has had in treating patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Drugs commonly used to treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia include chemotherapy drugs and some biological antibody agents such as Rituximab which have varying degrees of success.

“The side effects were fairly tolerable in this study,” said Swaminathan Iyar, the doctor who led the study. “We would like to see more information from a larger group of patients to fully understand the drug’s safety and tolerability for those experiencing the middle-to-later stages of these diseases.”

Although Alisertib is not yet approved for general medical use by the governing bodies, its impact on lymphoma and lymphocytic diseases mean that it can be tested on a range of illnesses, and as such the drug is being tested in another study. Initial reports suggest that the diseases are showing a 57% response to Alisertib, which is the highest ever noted response for any tested drug against these sorts of cancers.

The success of Alisertb marks a huge development in the treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, and will hopefully be approved for general medical use soon.

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