With more than 6,000 people in Australia diagnosed each year, Lymphoma – a type of cancer that begins in the lymphatic system – has become the fifth most common cancer in Australia and the most common blood cancer.

There are more than 80 subtypes of Lymphoma, which are divided into two key categories: Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and Hodgkin Lymphoma. With the incidence of lymphoma more than doubling in the last 20 years in Australia, vital research into this disease is more important than ever.

Thanks to a generous donation of $15,000 by The Green Button Foundation, research into lymphoma will be strengthened at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute (ONJCRI), with the expansion of the Haematology Tissue Bank located at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre to now include a dedicated Lymphoma Tissue Bank.

This means, tissue samples can be taken from consenting lymphoma patients for critical research, enabling ONJCRI clinician scientists and researchers to further understand the biology and nature of lymphoma and identify how the immune system responds to treatment.

Patients are embracing the opportunity to contribute to ONJCRI’s research efforts, with more than 40 people consenting to have their tissue stored for research within the first few months of the Lymphoma Tissue Bank’s commencement.

A/Prof Eliza Hawkes is a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Research Fellow at ONJCRI and Lymphoma Lead and Medical Oncologist at Austin Health. A/Prof Hawkes says, “Using samples from the Lymphoma Tissue Bank, we can quickly identify unusual features of the cancer, then go back to see how it behaved in our patients, to better understand a path forward to better outcomes.”

“The development of a dedicated lymphoma tissue bank located within ONJCRI – only possible with The Green Button Foundation’s generous support – brings patient-focused research full circle and highlights that clinical practice and research are not distinct entities,” she says.

Tissue samples can offer rich insights into lymphoma development and can provide information about which targeted therapies may be most effective for each patient. As researchers learn more about the changes in cells that cause cancer, they can continue to develop new drugs or treatments that specifically target these changes.

Says A/Prof Hawkes, “The Lymphoma Tissue Bank is a fantastic example of the amalgamation of efforts of generous donors, patients who participate in local research efforts, clinicians and researchers, and perfectly showcases what we can achieve by having research institutions embedded within the hospital setting.”

The ONJCRI is extremely grateful for the generous support of The Green Button Foundation.


Image description:

Reed-Sternberg cell; photograph shows normal lymphocytes compared with a Reed-Sternberg cell. Reed-Sternberg cell. Reed-Sternberg cells are large, abnormal lymphocytes that may contain more than one nucleus. These cells are found in Hodgkin lymphoma.

Image source and creator: National Cancer Institute