Major achievements in blood and marrow transplantation for blood cancers
UNMC and The Nebraska Medical Center

  • 1982 – Formation of the Nebraska Lymphoma Study Group. The group is an ongoing, statewide collection of oncologists, pathologists and other health care professionals who provide clinical and tissue samples of lymphoma patients for analysis at the medical center. The collaboration improves diagnostic and treatment methods.
  • 1983 – performed the first bone marrow transplant in Nebraska.
  • 1984 – pioneered peripheral stem cell transplants, now standard therapy around the world.
  • 1995 – became one of the 13 charter members of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network – a network of some of the world’s leading cancer centers. The primary goal of the NCCN is to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of oncology practice so patients can live better lives.
  • 1997-2013 – studied the addition of radioimmunotherapy as part of the transplant regimen for lymphoma treatment.
  • 2000 – pioneered the use of molecular genetics to identify unsuspected differences in lymphomas.
  • 2000-2010 – participated in studies to better define T-cell lymphomas and others that demonstrate that using the expression of genes in lymphoma cells can identify previously unknown subtypes of lymphoma and offer new targets for therapy.
  • 2001 – participated in clinical trials to customize and use vaccines in lymphoma patients. Cancer vaccines use the patient’s own cells to produce an immune response that kills cancer cells that may be leftover in the body after standard cancer treatment, and hopefully prevent recurrence of cancer.
  • 2001-2013 – One of 16 centers funded by the National Cancer Institute to perform bone marrow transplant clinical trials.
  • 2012: participating in studies using lymphoma genetics to try to design individualized therapy for patients.

 UNMC’s involvement in clinical studies included FDA approvals of these drugs:

  • Gleevec – an oral therapy for chronic myeloid leukemia. In 2001, the approval of the drug was the most rapid FDA approval ever.
  • Luekine (also known as GM-CSF) – a drug that stimulates the growth of bone marrow cells. The drug was the first of its kind to be approved.
  • Rituxan (Rituximab) – the first monoclonal antibody drug approved to treat cancer -- an antibody that attaches to cancer cells and kills them.
  • Bexxar (Tositumomab) – a drug that attaches to a protein found only on the surface of B lymphocytes such as cancerous B-cells found in many forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The radioactivity targets the B-cell, destroying it.
  • Brentuximab vedotin (SGN-35) – for patients with recurrent Hodgkin lymphoma and anaplastic large cell lymphoma. A monoclonal antibody that directs an attached chemotherapy drug to the lymphoma cells which destroy them.
  • Lenalidomide – for maintenance therapy following stem cell transplantation for multiple myeloma – now a standard treatment.
  • Lenalidomide – for the treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.