According to French research, certain types of B cell lymphoma respond to the hepatitis C immunotherapy, interferon alfa. While this isn't the first time HCV has been linked with lymphoma, the results should still persuade makers of interferon alfa drugs, such as Roche and Schering-Plough to investigate usage in this indication.
New study results from France show that hepatitis C may be linked with a certain type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and that the cancer can respond to interferon treatment.
The study, carried out in patients suffering from splenic lymphoma with villous lymphocytes, found that cancer remission was induced in a high proportion of patients who were infected with hepatitis C (HCV), following interferon treatment. In a similar group of cancer patients without HCV infection, interferon did not induce remission.
The concept of treating the root of a cancer through directly targeting its viralogical cause is not entirely novel; previous epidemiological studies have linked HCV to certain lymphomas. Ascertaining the HCV status of a patient before attempting to treat splenic lymphoma will enable targeted antiviral therapy to provide solutions in the oncology field.
Although this is a niche indication with limited patient population, the leading manufacturers of interferon alfa based-therapies, Roche and Schering-Plough, would do well investigate this indication further - particularly as approval may provide patent extension through orphan disease designation in the US and EU.
Related research: Datamonitor, "Market Dynamics 2002: Anti-Cancer Innovatives Series" (DMHC1773)