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Tetraspanin CD37: a New Player in the Immunotherapeutic Arsenal Against B Cell Lymphoma

Mar 14, 2016 1:00:46 PM / by Dalia Gaddis

Diffuse large B cell lymphoma can massively spread in affected tissue. Thanks to research a new therapeutic may be on its way. Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.orgResearchers discover a missing link in the progression of B cell lymphoma.

Diffuse large B cell lymphoma is the most common form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), contributing to about 30% of the cases in the United States. It is an aggressive form of NHL that usually presents itself with severe swelling of the lymph nodes at the sites being affected. The most common therapy for the disease is a combined immunotherapy with rituximab and radiotherapy. Secondary therapies are also used for patients who do not respond to the initial therapy, or who relapse after a period of remission.1

IL-6, a cytokine that increases B cell differentiation, plays an important role in lymphoma progression. In B cell lymphoma, there is a constant increase in the circulating levels of IL-6. What leads to the elevated levels of IL-6 and its signaling in lymphoma patients was not exactly understood until very recently.

A study published earlier this year in the Journal of Clinical Investigation shows that tetraspanin CD37, a group of transmembrane proteins that form complexes with multiple growth factors and signaling molecules, is the missing link in the IL-6 and B cell lymphoma story. The research, which was done by a group in the Netherlands, shows that mice deficient in CD37 have increased B cell lymphoma development. The researchers found that CD37 interacted with a suppressor molecule for IL-6 signaling, and thus in absence of CD37, IL-6 signaling was always turned on. To further confirm their results, the researchers examined patients with diffuse large B cell lymphoma that exhibited a loss of CD37 on neoplastic cells and found that these patients have higher levels of IL-6 and more advanced disease progression.2

This research provides interesting insights into the mechanisms of how CD37 can affect malignancies. There are clinical trials on their way to examine the role of CD37 on B cell lymphoma, and we are following the results of those with anticipation. Here, at HemaCare, we provide B cells and non-Hodgkin lymphoma cells that can be used to study the role of tetraspanins on lymphoma progression. You can call us at (877) 397-3087 if you have any questions or would like to place an order.



2 De Winde C.M. et al. (2016). Tetraspanin CD37 protects against the development of B cell lymphoma. J. Clin. Invest., 126 (2), doi:10.1172/JCI81041.

Topics: Cancer, immune system, tetraspanin, Tumors, Basic Research, Immunotherapy (Immunology)

Dalia Gaddis

Written by Dalia Gaddis

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