In 2014, The Paul Foundation served as the Founding Sponsor for the Lymphoma Research Foundation’s launch of an AYA Initiative to assist young lymphoma patients in addressing the medical challenges, psychosocial needs, and access issues they may encounter. The Initiative provides expert materials and programs while emphasizing the need for accurate and timely diagnosis. This partnership also created a new mechanism for research by an investment of $100,000 to jump start the program, with LRF awarding the organization’s first research grants focused solely on combating lymphoma in the AYA population. A stipulation of this program was that applications to this initiative must be an adjunct to a major NCI cooperative group research project in lymphoma relating to work in the clinical setting or involving primary lymphoma patient samples.
Innovative research by definition may uncover new questions and new areas requiring investigation. Basic funding often does not allow for additional, correlative studies to explore these areas. Adolescent/young adult patients with lymphoma are an understudied population that would particularly benefit from adjunct studies. The intention of the current request for proposals is to fund adjunct studies to complement and synergize with ongoing lymphoma clinical trials within the NCI Cancer Cooperative Groups.
Priority areas identified for funding are:
- Genomic/genetic analysis of lymphoma. What are the critical pathways involved in AYA lymphomagenesis and what are the molecular predictors of tumor behavior?
- Identification of biomarkers or biologic features. What biologic features of lymphoma and which biomarkers are predictive of the outcome of AYA lymphomas?
- Host-Tumor Interactions. How does the immune system modulate lymphoma? Does the tumor microenvironment influence resistance to therapies?
- Heterogeneity of lymphoma behavior. What are the molecular, biologic, immunologic and micro-environmental factors determining the variability in clinical behavior of AYA lymphomas? In what ways do lymphomas in the AYA population differ from those occurring in pediatric or older adult groups?
- Drug Resistance. What are the molecular, biologic, immunologic and micro-environmental factors determining resistance to key anti-lymphoma agents?
- Imaging. What are common imaging characteristics of AYA lymphomas? What imaging modalities offer an accurate method for staging AYA lymphomas?
- Enhancement of Accrual of patients to clinical trials. Despite a plethora of attractive agents for clinical trials, progress is slow due to the low accrual rate of patients to clinical trials in the USA. Convincing strategies with measurable endpoints documenting improvement in lymphoma trial accrual will be considered for funding.
- Novel therapies. Projects focused on new therapeutics should explore and elucidate the mechanisms of action.
- Quality of Life. What factors impact the quality of life of AYA lymphoma patients?
- Late Effects and Survivorship. What are common late effects for AYA lymphoma patients? What factors impact the incidence or severity of late effects?