Local Hematologist Receives Prestigious Grant to Support Lymphoma Research

April 29, 2003

A hematologist from the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center received one of two prestigious Lymphoma Research Foundation career development grants to study new treatments for lymphoma, the most common blood cancer.

Jonathan Friedberg, M.D., associate director of clinical research for the Lymphoma Program, will combine Rituxan antibody treatment with immunostimulatory DNA sequences -- new, safer agents that stimulate the immune system -- in a national clinical trial for patients with recurrent follicular lymphoma.

Antibodies use the patient’s immune system to kill lymphoma cells and have relatively few side effects. However, lymphoma often incompletely responds to, or recurs after, antibody treatment. It is hoped that the addition of an immunostimulatory agent will have a synergistic effect and improve antibody treatment for patients.

The $225,000, three-year grant is part of the foundation’s commitment to advance research and the care of lymphoma. Lymphoma is the most common blood cancer and the third most common cancer of childhood. Over 500,000 Americans have some form of the disease.

The Wilmot Cancer Center is building one of the best comprehensive lymphoma programs in the Northeast. Several clinicians and scientists have joined the program, including Richard I. Fisher, M.D., an internationally recognized expert in lymphoma care and director of the Wilmot Center, Steven Bernstein, M.D., hematologist and translational researcher, Gordon L. Phillips II, M.D., director of the blood and marrow transplant program.

Friedberg, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, joined the Wilmot Cancer Center nearly a year ago from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He is a graduate of Williams College and Harvard Medical School. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and fellowships at Dana-Farber and Harvard Medical School.

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