Patients with treatment-resistant lymphomas represent a group of patients with limited options and poor prognosis. Though advanced Hodgkin's disease (HD), for example, has been known to be curable by chemotherapy, long-term survival with standard intensity chemotherapy regimens has been uniformly poor. Now, according to researchers, a new technique may offer patients improved survival.

Clinical researchers have for several years noted that patients given high doses of chemo, together with bone marrow stem cells harvested from their own body before the chemo ["autologous bone marrow transplantation" (ABMT)], attained better disease-free survival. Unfortunately, however, the regimen did not improve overall survival.

...[t]andem transplantation using two different chemotherapy regimens offers hope...

So, in an attempt to achieve potential long-term remission, researchers at New York Medical College decided to test tandem transplantation. The tandem transplantation method involves two high-dose cycles of different chemo agents. After each cycle, the patient receives a transplant of bone marrow stem cells that were harvested from their own bone marrow.

Though some of the patients died from the treatment-related toxicity of the chemo agents, surviving patients lived disease-free longer than expected — 7 months as opposed to 2 months. According to the New York Medical College researchers, tandem transplantation using two different chemotherapy regimens offers hope to these patients.