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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
16-Jan-2012

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Contact: Alicia Reale
alicia.reale@uhhospitals.org
University Hospitals Case Medical Center
@UHhospitals

UH Case Medical Center publishes study on novel treatment for skin lymphoma

CLEVELAND: Promising findings on a novel combination treatment approach for a chronic type of skin lymphoma are being published today (embargoed for 4 pm) in JAMA's Archives of Dermatology by clinical researchers from Seidman Cancer Center at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

The article outlines findings from a first-of-its-kind study showing that O6-benzylguanine is successful in treating cutaneous T-Cell lymphoma by enhancing the efficacy of topical chemotherapy (carmustine).

"Current therapy for cutaneous T-Cell lymphoma is suboptimal and this new study shows that adding O6-benzylguanine to carmustine is more effective and less toxic to the skin, allowing for more optimal treatments," says Kevin Cooper, MD, Chairman of the Department of Dermatology at UH Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. "This treatment essentially weakens the cancer cells to make the lymphoma more vulnerable to topical chemotherapy and has a lot of potential in alleviating patients' disease burden in this chronic and progressive disease."

Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma is a form of lymphoma which affects the skin and typically relapses and becomes increasingly challenging to treat. The new drug combination offers a potential new option for patients using skin-directed treatments, before the need to undergo systemic chemotherapy.

Clinical researchers at UH Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University have been investigating O6-benzylguanine over the past decade and were participants in the original research into its mechanism of action as a cancer treatment potentiator. This study, funded by National Cancer Institute grants to Case Western Reserve University in conjunction with Keryx Pharmaceuticals Inc., is the first to explore the drug's efficacy to intensify treatment for skin lymphoma.

When used alone, carmustine attaches to the DNA in the patient's cancer cells during the replication process, causing the cancer cells to die. Problems sometimes occur when an enzyme clips off the treatment from the DNA, allowing the cancer cells to replicate. O6-benzylguanine inhibits the enzyme from clipping off the carmustine from the DNA, so the drug can complete its mission and kill the cancer cells.

"By adding O6-benzylguanine, we can effectively lower the dosage of the topical treatment, carmustine, and render it less toxic on healthy cells but more effective at killing cancer cells," says Dr. Cooper. "This combination treatment has had excellent initial clinical results and we are following it up with additional ongoing studies."

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Dr. Cooper was senior author of the study and the first author was Narin Apisarnthanarax, MD. Dr. Cooper has ongoing studies on this NCI-funded research.

About University Hospitals

University Hospitals serves the needs of patients through an integrated network of hospitals, outpatient centers and primary care physicians. At the core of our health system is University Hospitals Case Medical Center. The primary affiliate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, University Hospitals Case Medical Center is home to some of the most prestigious clinical and research centers of excellence in the nation and the world, including cancer, pediatrics, women's health, orthopedics and spine, radiology and radiation oncology, neurosurgery and neuroscience, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, organ transplantation and human genetics. Its main campus includes the internationally celebrated UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, ranked among the top children's hospitals in the nation; UH MacDonald Women's Hospital, Ohio's only hospital for women; and UH Seidman Cancer Center, part of the NCI-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University. For more information, go to www.uhhospitals.org



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