Dr Mitchell Smith, CMO at the FLF, shares his insights in what the future holds for follicular lymphoma research.
In his article, he outlines the key questions in follicular lymphoma, and lays out which areas of research look to be most promising in leading us to better treatments and ultimately a cure for patients living with FL.
Major underlying unmet needs will need to be addressed in order to make significant progress in the field. We need to better understand the pathobiology of FL, the biological and molecular mechanisms involved in proliferation, apoptosis and the tumour microenvironment, including the role that CPCs (Common Progenitor Cells) play. We need to improve how we detect and predict outcomes for the higher-risk patient cohorts. We need to apply current therapies in novel combinations and optimise clinical trial methodologies.
With recent advances in immune system-engaging therapies and new technologies within clinical and exploratory phases, it is a truly exciting time to be in FL research. Whether it is looking at making therapies more effective and accessible for patients, or developing whole new classes of drugs, there are several avenues opening up in scientific and clinical development.
Considering the wide inter- and intra-patient heterogeneity, elucidating the role of the tumour microenvironment, epigenetics and other key biological mechanisms will be vital – and developing theragnostic biomarkers has the potential to transform the field as a whole.
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Dr Mitchell Smith, MD PhD
Chief Medical Officer, Follicular Lymphoma Foundation
Dr Mitchell Smith has an extensive educational background, having earned his Medical Degree and PhD from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, OH. He has also completed several residencies and fellowships, including a Fellowship in Medical Oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in NY. Dr Smith’s career has also spanned many years and institutions, including serving as Director of the Lymphoma Program at Fox Chase Cancer Centre and Director of the Lymphoid Malignancy Program at the Cleveland Clinic.