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Siteman Lymphoma Researcher Receives $450,000 Grant

Contact:
Jim Goodwin
314-286-0166
jgoodwin@wustl.edu

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Todd Fehniger, MD, PhD

Aug. 5, 2013 – Todd Fehniger, MD, PhD, a lymphoma specialist at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, has been awarded a $450,000 grant by the Lymphoma Research Foundation.

With the three-year grant, he and his team will study the contribution of gene mutations to the development and progression of one of the most common types of indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma, follicular lymphoma. The disease, which is marked by enlarged lymph nodes, usually affects middle-aged and older adults but can strike people in their 30s or 40s. The disease accounts for 20 to 30 percent of non-Hodgkin's lymphomas.

“We are grateful for the generous support of the Lymphoma Research Foundation,” said Fehniger, who also is an assistant professor of medicine at Washington University. “This grant will allow our collaborative group to continue the search for new and effective treatment approaches, and help inform prognosis, for lymphoma patients.”

Fehniger’s collaborators at Washington University include: Nancy Bartlett, MD; Amanda Cashen, MD; and Brian White, PhD, of the Division of Oncology; Friederike Kreisel, MD, of the Department of Pathology and Immunology; and Timothy Ley, MD, and Richard Wilson, PhD, of The Genome Institute at Washington University. Other collaborators are Robert Baiocchi, MD, PhD, of Ohio State University and Eric Hsi, MD, of Cleveland Clinic.

The study will identify recurrent mutations in the DNA of lymphoma cells from a large number of follicular lymphoma patients, and correlate recurrent mutations with clinical outcomes, including responses to treatment and the length of remissions. In addition, the research may identify new pathways important to follicular lymphoma cells for growth, survival and progression, thereby identifying new targets for anti-lymphoma therapy.

Last year, Fehniger received a two-year, $200,000 grant from The V Foundation for Cancer Research for his work aimed at boosting the ability of one type of cell in the immune system, natural killer (NK) cells, to fight cancer, especially leukemia and lymphoma.

For more information about Fehniger’s research, visit www.fehnigerlab.org. To learn more about the Lymphoma Research Foundation, visit www.lymphoma.org.