Donors needed to push fight again lymphoma

A breakthrough in the treatment of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is within reach for researchers at the Griffith Health Institute who have renewed an appeal for public support.

“We need more blood and saliva samples to advance this research,” Professor Lyn Griffiths, Director of the GHI (pictured), says.

“We are looking for patients currently suffering from lymphoma or people who have previously had lymphoma to take part in the study.

“Importantly, we are also looking for healthy donors too because we need their samples to use for comparisons.

“This is a priority for us now. There is an extensive need to develop new treatments for this disease and we need public help.”

In total 250 samples are required but ideally more samples are needed for research by the study team at the Genomics Research Clinic at Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus.

“Donors don’t have to be based on the Gold Coast. Anyone in any part of Australia could participate. When someone gets in touch with us, and if their samples are suitable, we can direct them to a pathology lab in their area,” Professor Griffiths, a leading scientist in cancer research, says.

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is the most common blood borne cancer. Its prevalence in Australia is increasing at a rate of four per cent each year, and is the sixth leading cause of death in the country.

The disease is manifested by abnormalities in the blood stream affecting the lymphoid glands and organs of the immune system.

Research by Professor Griffiths’ team has identified new genes involved in the development and progression of lymphoma.

“Any new understanding of lymphoma and the diverse biological and genetic mechanisms behind the disease is likely to help with developing more sensitive clinical tools and improving survival rates for patients.”

Since 2008, research has focused on determining genes involved in lymphoma development and also genes that could be suitable targets for new therapeutic drugs.

Researchers Emily Camilleri and Carlos Aya Bonilla work with Professor Griffiths on the Gold Coast and the project also involves Professor Maher Gandhi at the Queensland Institute for Medical Research and Dr Michael Green, a research fellow at Stanford University who investigated the treatment strategies for lymphoma when working on his PhD at Griffith University.

“Can genetic factors predispose individuals to develop lymphoma? That is one of the key questions. We want to know why some people develop non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and other people don’t,” Professor Griffiths said.

Anyone interested in taking part in the project should telephone 07 55529201 or email e.camilleri@griffith.edu.au