Pathologist Predicts Genomics Will Impact Future Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Treatment, According to the Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Center

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A Canadian lymphoma expert says the ability to understand the influence of genes in disease could be a vital step forward in the treatment of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Genomics in Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Treatment

Detailing the mutational landscape...has provided profound insights into oncogenic pathways and basic lymphoma biology.

According to a report from the Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Center, the head of British Columbia’s Centre for Lymphoid Cancers says knowledge of genetic mutations in cancers like Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is “perhaps as powerful and revealing as the introduction of the microscope in the mid-1850s”.

Writing in the journal Pathology, hematopathologist Randy Gascoyne, MD, predicts that genomic medicine, the process of sequencing a person’s genetic map in order to look for anomalies, will play an increasingly important role in designing targeted, personalized treatments for people with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

"Detailing the mutational landscape in these lymphoid cancers at base-pair resolution has provided profound insights into oncogenic [cancer-causing] pathways and basic lymphoma biology," he writes.

But the same article also acknowledges that there are challenges ahead for scientists as they work to understand how genetic mutations influence the development, progression, and treatment of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Dr. Gascoyne points out that, although certain mutations have been associated with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, little is known about what causes those mutations to arise in the first place and how they impact patient survival.

He concludes that doctors and pathologists will need to work closely in the future to translate genomic concepts into the clinical practice for the benefit of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma patients. “The future role of the pathologist and the contribution of the laboratory to patient care is a moving target,” observes Dr. Gascoyne. “But [it] will likely require our involvement at multiple times over the course of time in order to inform survival expectations and choice of therapies.”

As genomic medicine advances, scientists are finding that, like Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, many types of cancer may have their roots in genetic mutations. Treatments designed to target these mutations are known as gene therapy. The original article appears in the journal Pathology. (Gascoyne, RD, “Lymphoma genomics: how might next generation sequencing penetrate laboratory practice?”, February 2014, Pathology,

The Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Center is part of the Cancer Monthly organization. The Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Center has been established by Cancer Monthly to provide more comprehensive information on the causes, diagnosis, and treatments for the many different subtypes of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. For over ten years, Cancer Monthly has been the only centralized source of cancer treatment results. Patients can see the actual survival rate, quality-of-life indicators, and other key data for approximately 1,500 different cancer treatments. Cancer Monthly provides timely and ground-breaking news on the causes, diagnoses and treatments of the most common cancers including Bladder, Brain, Breast, Colon, Kidney (Renal), Liver, Lung (NSCLC), Ovarian, Prostate, and Rectal Cancers, Melanoma, Mesothelioma, and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Written for patients and their loved ones, Cancer Monthly helps families make more informed treatment decisions.

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