Division of Hematology/Oncology

Clinical Programs

Hematologic Malignancy Program

Penn's clinicians and researchers in lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia have led the way nationally for years; both in the care of patients with these malignancies (blood cancers) and in research on their causes, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. Recently, Penn researchers announced a breakthrough study in treating patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) with genetically engineered versions of their own T cells.

A Multidisciplinary Approach to Care with an Important Research Focus

The Lymphoma and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Program coordinates the clinical practices, clinical research activities, and educational programs related to Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) at the Abramson Cancer Center. The goals of the program are to facilitate translational research related to lymphomas and CLL by integrating basic and clinical research efforts at the University. Other goals include enhancing patient care by facilitating access to clinical trials, and to promote education related to these disorders. Clinical resources at the Cancer Center, including the Clinical Research Unit, are used to support research related to the pathogenesis, diagnosis, prognosis and therapy of lymphomas and CLL.

The investigational therapy program in lymphomas and CLL includes research on molecularly targeted therapies that use monoclonal antibodies, monoclonal antibody combinations, radioimmunotherapy, therapeutic vaccination, and trials of agents targeting intracellular pathways, as well as immunotherapy research that aims to use the body's own immune system to attack these cancers.

Lymphoma and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Program Services

Hematology/oncology services for lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia at Penn include:

The Penn Difference

Penn's hematologic malignancy program is one of the oldest and largest in the country. By putting this experience to work, Penn offers the best possible treatment outcomes.

Penn researchers recently announced they have been able to induce sustained remissions of up to a year among a small group of patients with advanced chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) who were treated with genetically engineered versions of their own T cells (a white blood cell that is involved in defending the body against cancer and certain infections). The protocol involves removing patients' T cells and modifying them in Penn's vaccine production facility. The patients are then treated with chemotherapy and the modified T cells are infused back into the body.

Besides serving as a breakthrough treatment for advanced CLL this treatment scheme may also provide a tumor-attack roadmap for the treatment of other cancers, including solid tumors such as lung cancer and melanoma. The findings, published simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine and Science Translational Medicine, were the first demonstration of the use of gene transfer therapy to create these "serial killer" T cells with the ability to eradicate malignant cells in the body.

Lymphoma and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Physicians and Team

Penn hematologists/oncologists that specialize in hematologic malignancies include:

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