Dr. Chen Fang, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Clinical Research Division's Press Lab, is the recent recipient of a three-year Fellow Award from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The $165,000 award will support Fang's study of pretargeted nanotherapeutics for the treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that causes nearly 20,000 deaths per year in the U.S. Current chemotherapy and radiation therapy cannot completely cure patients with lymphoma because of an inability to destroy all of the cancer cells. Some cancer cells will survive the initial therapy, become resistant to chemotherapy and eventually cause a resurgence of lymphoma in patients.
A new pretargeted approach
Fang plans to design a drug that can deliver chemotherapeutics and radionuclides to cancer cells in tandem, which takes advantage of the synergistic effect of chemotherapy and radiation and destroys as many cancer cells as possible without harming surrounding tissues.
The two-step, pretargeted strategy will utilize antibodies that recognize lymphoma- specific proteins (CD19, CD22) on the surface of the cancer cells to act as targets for the therapeutic nanoparticles.
"This new approach could increase the amount of therapeutics in the tumor while reducing their presence in normal organs and reduce side effects," Fang said.
"Chen has worked very hard to generate exciting preliminating data, and it is gratifying to see his efforts rewarded with this grant," said Dr. Oliver Press, Fang's mentor.
LLS is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. In addition to funding lifesaving blood cancer research, the agency provides free information and support services.