Diseases / Research

Hodgkin Lymphoma

Reed-Sternberg cell

The presence of the Reed-Sternberg cell, marked by two nuclei, is a clear indicator of Hodgkin Lymphoma. The mutated cell is typically derived from lymphocytes.

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Fred Hutch pioneered bone marrow transplantation as a treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma (formerly known as Hodgkin disease) and other blood cancers. Today, we are spearheading a variety of innovative new treatments and techniques.

Our researcher are developing new regimens combining chemotherapies, subtances and techniques to target therapy to diseases cells and antibodies to prevent relapse.  Hutch researchers have also found that reduced mental capacity after transplant is temporary.

Fast Facts

  • Lymphoma refers to a group of cancers that strike the lymphatic system, an essential component of the body's immune system.

  • Hodgkin lymphoma occurs in lymphocytes, white blood cells that are transported by the lymph system, a network of organs, nodes and vessels that are part of the body’s immune system.

  • Hodgkin lymphoma is characterized by the presence of the Reed-Sternberg cell, which is a lymphocyte that becomes abnormal. The Reed-Sternberg cell does not die when it should, does not protect the body from infections and eventually multiplies to form a tumor.

  • Symptoms include enlargement of lymph nodes, spleen or other immune system tissue, fever, weight loss, fatigue, or night sweats.

  • Hodgkin lymphoma is considered one of the most treatable types of lymphoma with high survival rates.

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Treatment & Prognosis

Pioneering bone marrow transplantation – Led by Nobel Prize winner Dr. E. Donnall Thomas, Fred Hutch researchers have transformed bone marrow transplantation into standard treatment for leukemia, lymphoma and other blood cancers. The procedure is one of cancer treatment's biggest success stories and has saved hundreds of thousands of patients' lives. Learn more >

Developing therapies that zero in on cancer cells – Our scientists are currently researching substances that find cancer cells and carry cancer-killing substances to them without harming healthy cells. One study, led by Dr. Ajay Gopal, looks to administer the antibody prior to stem cell transplant in treating patients with relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma or non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Learn more >

Investigating new drug therapies – Dr. Leona Holmberg is leading a clinical trial examining the drug brentuximab vedotin as an effective therapy for treating post-stem cell transplantation patients who are at high risk of residual Hodgkin lymphoma. Learn more >

Evaluating combination treatments – Dr. Oliver Press is leading a clinical trial to study fludeoxyglucose F 18-PET/CT imaging to see how well it works in assessing response to combination chemotherapy and allow doctors to plan better additional further treatment in treating patients with late stage Hodgkin lymphoma.
Learn more >

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Improving Survival

Understanding chemobrain – Research by Dr. Karen Syrjala shows that the decline in mental skills experienced by many bone marrow and stem cell transplant patients is largely temporary. Patients who experience these symptoms usually return to normal mental function within a year of their transplant, and will continue to improve long-term. Learn more >

Seeing a bright future for survivors – A study by Dr. Syrjala shows that after 10 years survivors of stem cell transplants for blood cancers are nearly as healthy as people who didnt undergo the procedure. Both populations had similar rates of asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and osteoporosis. They also had similar psychological health, marital satisfaction and employment. Learn more >

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