MONTREAL, Dec. 16, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Lymphoma Canada is excited to officially share important scientific data that was presented during the 56th American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting, which took place recently in San Francisco. Indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma (iNHL) sufferers received positive news about a treatment that increases survival in patients that had experienced relapse of their disease.
Dr. Mathias Rummel, lead investigator of an important trial in certain types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (indolent and mantle cell lymphoma), presented updated results from his study at the ASH conference on Sunday December 7th. The study compared a standard treatment – fludarabine plus rituximab (FR) – with a treatment regimen of bendamustine plus rituximab (BR). The median overall survival of relapsed iNHLand mantle cell lymphoma patients given a treatment of bendamustine combined with rituximab (BR) was 110 months versus 49 months, providing an additional five-year survival for these patients. In addition, Dr. Rummel confirmed the long-term efficacy and safety of this regimen (BR) vs the treatment of rituximab and cyclophosphamide, hydroxydaunorubicin, vincristine and prednisone (R-CHOP) in the newly diagnosed patient with a median follow-up of seven years. "The results of both trials confirm that the regimen of bendamustine plus rituximab should be the standard of care for newly diagnosed as well as relapsing iNHL patients" according to Dr. Rummel.
"This will have a major impact on iNHL patient lives. Today, this new data in relapsed non-Hodgkin lymphoma indicates that patients may expect to live at least five more years versus traditional chemotherapy – a significant improvement," says Dr. Nathalie Johnson, hematologist and researcher, at the hematology department of Montreal's General Jewish Hospital - Sir Mortimer B. Davis, and professor for the departments of Medicine and Oncology at McGill university, after attending the ASH conference. "It is the only new agent since the approval of rituximab in 2006 to show significant improvement versus traditional chemotherapy, translating into longer survival while providing better quality of life to patients."
"For patients, this boils down to the possibility of increasing the number of precious moments they get to spend with their loved ones. It can mean attending their son's graduation or their daughter's wedding, or an opportunity to know their grandchildren, or even realizing projects they would otherwise not have the opportunity to finish. We're talking about a major breakthrough in the fight against lymphoma," asserts Tracey-Ann Curtis, Quebec's regional manager for Lymphoma Canada.
What impacts will these breakthrough results have in Quebec?
All Canadian provinces – as well as over 60 countries throughout the world – already consider BR as the new standard of care for the treatment of indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma. But what about Quebec?
In July of 2013, Lymphoma Canada launched its campaign "Mêmes Chances" (TN: Same Chances) to inform Quebeckers of the fact that a promising new drug for the treatment of relapsed iNHL had not had its therapeutic value recognized by the body responsible for deciding whether a drug will be reimbursed in Quebec. The Institut national d'excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS) refused to recommend that bendamustine, for the treatment of relapsed non-Hodgkin lymphoma, be added to the list of medication eligible for utilization in Quebec hospitals.
INESSS's decision goes against the most recent clinical evidence and the accepted standard medical practices in Europe, in the United States and in the rest of Canada.
"Quebeckers battling cancer deserve the same chances as other patients in Canada and throughout the world," asserts Dr. Nathalie Johnson.
The "Mêmes Chances" campaign is set to re-launch on February 4th, 2015.
About Lymphoma Canada
Lymphoma affects many people, from patients and survivors, family and caregivers, to medical professionals and researchers. Lymphoma Canada connects and empowers this community through education, support and research. Together we are promoting early detection, finding new and better treatments, helping patients access those treatments, learning lymphoma's many causes and finding a cure. For more information about this registered charity, please visit www.lymphoma.ca
SOURCE: Lymphoma Canada
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