The Society for Investigative Dermatology (SID), dermatology's largest research organization, held its 62nd Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., May 9-12, 2001. A number of the 975 abstracts submitted presented information related to cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), and in particular, CTCL treatments.
Investigators presented preliminary data on therapeutic mechanisms of Photopheresis. One study evaluated narrow band UVB phototherapy in early stage mycosis fungoides, showing that it appears to be therapeutically useful and may have fewer side effects than broadband UVB phototherapy.
German investigators presented an abstract reporting preliminary results of a small vaccine study in CTCL patients. Partial tumor regression was seen in a few patients that were vaccinated with tumor specific T-cell receptor peptides. The peptides, representing portions of the protein sequence of the T-cell receptor expressed on cancerous T-cells, were synthesized after labor-intensive identification processes. While this approach offers a unique way to stimulate the immune system against CTCL cells, it still remains a very experimental approach.
Other investigators evaluated the use of bexarotene (Targretin®) in combination with other forms of therapy, including Interferon, PUVA phototherapy, Photopheresis and ONTAK®. These early studies demonstrate that higher response rates may be achieved when combination therapy is utilized. Further clinical investigation is necessary to determine the optimal combinations for the different stages of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.
Overall, the studies represent encouraging progress over the last year with regard to our understanding and development of new therapies for CTCL.
Dr. Sam Hwang of the National Cancer Institute with his research at the SID meeting.
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