Cheap blood test measures Hodgkin lymphoma chemo success

Researchers out of Australia have helped concoct a cheap and easy diagnostic test to determine the success of chemotherapy for patients enduring Hodgkin lymphoma.

The Times of India reports on the details, which come from the minds of Maher Gandhi and Kimberly Jones at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research's Clinical Immunohaematology Laboratory. They tested the blood test on 47 Hodgkin lymphoma patients over 6 years, according to the story, from the initial diagnosis through recovery.

Typically, more expensive imaging scans helped doctors and clinicians determine how well people respond to chemotherapy and then make treatment adjustments based on those results. But the Queensland team came up with what it bills as a simple blood diagnostic that would also be a lot cheaper than imaging in accomplishing the same goal. And if it can, as the story explains, the new diagnostic could offer an affordable way to take personalized chemotherapy treatments to a whole new level.

The Queensland team's test looks at levels of the CD163 protein in the blood. Those levels spike for Hodgkin lymphoma patients, but chemotherapy makes levels of protein decline, according to the article. So the very simple idea is to test for CD163 and, based on those levels, increase, decrease or stop chemotherapy doses in the course of Hodgkin lymphoma patients' treatments.

"It means a way forward to personalized treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma patients, and hopefully smaller doses of chemotherapy drugs," Jones told the newspaper.

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