What is antibody drug treatment for lymphoma?

Antibody drug treatments have substantially improved the prognosis for people with some of the most common types of lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system that has been on the rise in the United States for decades.

They turn a person’s immune system against the lymphatic cancer cells. “These antibodies represent a more rational, targeted approach to killing the cancer cells without the side effects of chemotherapy,” says Lauren Pinter-Brown, MD, director of the UCLA Lymphoma Program.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma – any of a large group of cancers of the lymphatic system that comprise 90% of all lymphomas – is the fifth-leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Approximately 75,000 people are diagnosed each year, which, for reasons that aren’t well understood, is nearly double the annual U.S. incidence in the 1970s. But treatment of B-cell lymphomas – the vast majority of non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas – has improved considerably with the addition of antibody drug treatments.

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