The Meyer Cancer Center recently profiled Dr. Lisa Roth and the far-reaching impact of her work in finding new targeted therapies to treat young patients with Burkitt lymphoma. Burkitt’s is an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that is often fatal. Finding alternative therapy options is important because,
“As many as 85 percent of children with Burkitt lymphoma respond well to treatment. Their tumors grow incredibly fast – doubling in size in a matter of days – but also shrink incredibly fast when blasted with high-dose chemotherapy. In order to ensure the tumors don’t return, they undergo intensive sustained treatment that generally lasts from 4-8 months.”
“For those who don’t respond, however, or for those whose disease returns despite the treatment, the survival rate is below 20 percent. And success is often tempered by immediate and long-term side effects, including cardiovascular problems, infertility and secondary malignancies.”
“We do very well, curing the majority of patients; the problem is the amount of chemotherapy needed to get to that cure rate is substantial,” Roth said. “As our patients are surviving longer and longer, we are beginning to see the toll the treatments are taking long-term.”
To this end Dr. Roth has received funding from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to investigate PU-H71 a promising new therapy which kills Burkitt lymphoma cells by attacking a protein required for suvival.
Besides her work in finding new options to treat Burkitt lymphoma, Dr. Roth is building an adolescent and young adult lymphoma program at Weill Cornell Medicine. The program will focus on the needs of patients who don’t squarely fit into either the pediatric or adult categories for treatment. It will also specifically address the needs of young adult patients like fertility.
Look to this space for more information about the adolescent and young adult lymphoma program at Weill Cornell Medicine.
If you are interested in making an appointment with Dr. Roth and the adolescent and young adults lymphoma program you can call her at 646-962-2068