Lymphomas are cancers that strike immune cells within the lymphatic system, which is a key part of the immune system. Lymphomas are broadly classified as either Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Some lymphomas are highly curable; others tend to relapse and are considered incurable with standard treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. However, some of these lymphomas may be slow-growing and respond to various treatments over many years.
Fred Hutch researchers pioneered bone marrow transplantation, one of the most significant advances in treating lymphoma, leukemia and other blood cancers. We continue to improve bone marrow and blood stem cell transplantation for lymphoma, making these therapies safer and more effective.
Informed by our studies of basic biology, our scientists are also developing new lymphoma-targeting drugs and new tests to help guide treatment. We also carry out long-term studies to understand how survivors fare years after treatment and develop new ways to improve their health.
Our lymphoma research takes place both in the clinic and in the laboratory, where we study the biology of lymphoma cells and develop potential new drugs and immunotherapies. It brings together investigators based at the Fred Hutch, the University of Washington and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, where our world-renowned clinical researchers are developing new methods for treating and caring for lymphoma patients. Our research includes tracking survivors’ quality of life after treatment, sometimes for decades.
Fred Hutch researchers are contributing landmark discoveries about how to engineer immune cells called T cells to target lymphoma. Our scientists are also developing new lymphoma drugs based on antibodies, disease-targeting immune proteins. For example, we are innovators in radioimmunotherapy, in which antibodies ferry powerful radioactive isotopes straight to lymphoma cells. We are also leaders in the development of novel oral low-toxicity regimens for the treatment of lymphoma as well as immunotherapies that do not require T-cell engineering.
We are using our knowledge of the biology of lymphoma cells to devise new ways to disrupt their ability to grow and spread. The goal of targeted drug therapies is to maximize the lymphoma-killing effect while minimizing harm to healthy tissues.
Lymphoma patients can experience numerous medical, emotional and psychosocial side effects during and after treatment. Our scientists are developing supportive care for lymphoma patients to protect them from treatment complications and improve their quality of life. They also study the long-term and late effects of lymphoma treatment to improve the quality of life for survivors, even years after treatment.
In particular, our scientists are world experts in the complications of blood stem-cell transplantation, including infections and graft-vs.-host disease. Our researchers are developing better methods to prevent and treat these complications.
The LTFU program provides lifelong monitoring and care of patients following a bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant. Our experts partner with a patient’s personal doctor to resolve medical problems and to gather information for research. This information is used for patient education and to improve how doctors prevent and treat the long-term effects of transplantation.
Clinical research is an essential part of the scientific process that leads to new treatments and better care. Clinical trials can also be a way for patients to get early access to cutting-edge new therapies. Our clinical research teams are running clinical studies on various kinds of lymphoma.
Our interdisciplinary scientists and clinicians work together to prevent, diagnose and treat lymphoma as well as other cancers and diseases.
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, our clinical care partner, gives patients access to the comprehensive, world-class treatments developed at Fred Hutch.
In 1984, Rita Lawrence’s local oncologist in Illinois delivered a diagnosis of lymphoma. It was the start of a difficult journey. After a year of chemotherapy, and two years of remission, the cancer came back aggressively. After three treatments, she and her doctors recognized the therapies were failing. Then she learned about a new experimental treatment called radioimmunotherapy developed by researchers at Fred Hutch.