Grants - V Clinical Scholars - California - 2021

Alex Herrera, MD

Funded by Lloyd Family Clinical Scholar Fund

New, non-chemotherapy treatments that use a patient’s own immune system have transformed the treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL). Typically used in patients with cHL that is resistant to standard treatment, these immune therapies can control the disease for months to years. However, in the long run, most patients will not be cured. Early research suggests that these powerful drugs are safe to use as part of the first or second treatment in patients with cHL and using them earlier could lead to more cures. However, we have not done the research to clarify when is the best time to use immune therapy in cHL and to determine which drugs are best to combine with immune therapy in order to cure more patients. 

My research will answer important questions about the best way to use immune therapy for cHL: (1) How should we use immune therapy as part of the first treatment to cure the most patients and reduce the side effects of our standard treatments? (2) How should we use immune therapy as the second treatment in patients who are not cured by their first treatment?  (3) Can we predict which patients will respond best to immune therapies to help us choose the patients most likely to benefit from these new treatments? And, in cHL patients who are resistant to immune therapy, can we reverse the resistance?