Karmanos Cancer Center gets federal grant for lymphoma research

DETROIT—Officials at the The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute announced that the institute has been awarded a $325,372 grant from U CAN-CER VIVE Foundation. The funds will support cancer research focused on diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL).

“We continue to be amazed by the work the dedicated doctors and researchers at Karmanos have made and are optimistic that this new grant will provide the support they need to continue their lifesaving research,” said Kelley LaFontaine, co-founder of the foundation. “We take great pride in knowing that each dollar we raise goes directly toward cancer research here in the state of Michigan.”

The U CAN-CER VIVE Foundation grant will fund a study, “Circulating Tumor DNA as a Predictive Biomarker of Outcomes of Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation in Relapsed Diffuse Large B cell Lymphoma,” led by Dipenkumar Modi, M.D. member of the Hematology Multidisciplinary Team at Karmanos. In this pilot study, Karmanos researchers will measure circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) to help identify patients who are likely to relapse after autologous stem cell transplantation.

“Diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common subtype of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” Modi said. “Approximately 30 percent of patients with this disease experience a relapse after standard treatment. About half of the patients with disease relapse achieve durable remission when treated with salvage chemoimmunotherapy followed by autologous stem cell transplantation. Currently, the available methods are not highly sensitive enough to identify patients who are likely to relapse following autologous stem cell transplantation. Through this study, we hope to find a biomarker to help identify patients at high risk of relapse and predict transplant outcomes. This will have a significant impact on patient care, and the results of this study will set the foundation for precision medicine-driven treatment strategies in DLBCL.”

Founded in 2016 by siblings Ryan and Kelley LaFontaine, it is the ongoing mission of the U CAN-CER VIVE Foundation has raised nearly $3,000,000, providing funds for research grants in the State of Michigan. This passion toward the fight against cancer stems from the heart and soul of LaFontaine’s commitment to give back after experiencing the affliction of cancer firsthand.

The Karmanos Cancer Institute has 15 locations throughout Michigan and is one of the nation’s National Cancer Institute designated comprehensive cancer centers. It is part of the Flint-based McLaren healthcare system and partners with the Wayne State University School of Medicine. More at www.karmanos.org.

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