Grants - V Scholar Grants - North Carolina - 2020

Adam Palmer, PhD

Funded by the Constellation Gold Network Distributors

Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas are common cancers which can be cured in some patients by combinations of multiple chemotherapy drugs. Currently, these treatments consist of giving many drugs at the same time, waiting some weeks to recover from side effects, and repeating the cycle several times. We have discovered that in the most common combination therapy for Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas, while the use of many chemotherapies kills more cancer cells, the drugs do not enhance one another’s activity. Instead, certain drug pairs interfere with one another’s effects. This suggests that treatment might be more effective at killing cancer cells, and cure more patients, if this interference were avoided. This could be accomplished by giving certain chemotherapies at different times from each other. We will study a few lymphomas and measure how chemotherapies interact to determine which should or should not be given at the same time. A computer model will simulate how tumors respond to combinations of drugs given at various times. This simulation will use measured drug interactions to predict which treatment designs will be most effective at killing cancer cells. We will test these treatments on human lymphoma cells, and compare them to the current ‘all-drugs-at-once’ strategy. If this research finds a more effective approach to treatment, it can next be tested in animals, and eventually in human clinical trials. Ultimately we hope to identify a simple change in the use of already approved medicines that has the potential to cure more cases of lymphoma.