Aggressive large B-cell lymphomas include diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, which is the most frequent form of lymphoma, with approx. 450 cases per year in Denmark. The disease is highly aggressive, and fatal if untreated, but curable with immuno-chemotherapy in approx. 65% of patients. With control imaging scans it can be difficult to ascertain whether there are signs of active lymphoma, and, unfortunately, 30-40% experience a relapse.
There is no sensitive and easily accessible method of detecting residual disease or relapse at an early stage. The support of the Vissing Foundation is co-financing a project based at Odense University Hospital.
The aim of the project is to investigate whether an advanced molecular biological method called Next Generation Sequencing can firstly: be optimized to measure lymphoma DNA circulating in the blood; and secondly, if so, can we then – based on genetic changes in the lymphoma DNA, which is a kind of “personal genetic fingerprint” in the blood – reveal minimal residual disease and relapses earlier?
“This project could contribute valuable knowledge and be the first important step on the way to greater certainty in diagnosing patients who have aggressive large B-cell lymphoma, giving them better and more individualized treatment, monitoring and follow-up on their lymphoma. This would be done with a simple and minimally invasive blood test. Ultimately, it is hoped that it will improve patients’ survival rates,” says Gayaththri Vimalathas, senior house officer at the Department of Clinical Pathology at Odense University Hospital.