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A new possible treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma

As those who are battling the disease in Wisconsin may already know, Hodgkin's lymphoma can be deemed incurable and potentially fatal for some people who are resistant to the available treatments. The disease strikes a large number of younger adults, potentially leaving them scrambling as they go through rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy and other assorted antineoplastic therapeutic treatments.

As one of the most common cancers occurring in children and young adults in the United States, the disease is diagnosed in about 10,000 new cases every year. Although treatments may initially be successful, about 25 percent of patients will suffer a relapse. Some patients are simply resistant to the current treatments.

In a recent small-scale study, 23 resistant patients received a new immunotherapeutic treatment with promising results. Of those, one-third had failed to respond to more than six different types of treatments. The new drug, called nivolumab, acts by blocking a protein in the patient's immune cells. When this protein is blocked, bodies are then able to fight the cancer. Four of the 23 study participants were tumor-free at the end of the study, while 16 had their tumors decrease in size by half. At a six-month follow-up, the study's authors found that 86 percent of the participants were still alive and were responding to treatment.

Many people who are diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma may have difficulty with working and with paying for the high associated treatment costs. People who have been diagnosed may be eligible for Social Security Disability while they are fighting the disease. People may benefit by consulting with an employment law attorney regarding Social Security benefits eligibility, as the required treatments are often debilitating enough to prevent them from working in the meantime.

Source: Web MD, "Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment Shows Promise", Robert Preidt, December 06, 2014

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