Primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) is a deadly and incurable form of lymphoma that is specific to those with HIV/AIDS. A researcher, however, has recently determined that a drug already approved by the FDA and on the market for treatment of multiple myeloma may actually be more effective at treating PEL as part of the HIV treatment.

Once the researchers discovered that existing medications can help fight PEL, the search was on to see what other existing cancer treatments would also be effective. That is when they decided to look into BRD4 inhibitors. These inhibitors, when combined with the immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs) for multiple myeloma worked exceptionally well in the lab as anti-PEL treatment.

The problem with PEL is that there have been no treatment options up to this point. Combine this with the fact that the disease is very fast moving, and most patients do not survive half a year after diagnosis. Current attempts at treatment are all IV drugs and are very toxic to the patient. These drugs are expensive and very difficult to administer in remote parts of Africa where the condition is the most prevalent.

The research, however, does not mean that patients can go out and get multiple myeloma treatment if they currently have PEL. It means that clinical testing will now begin to see if this combination of medications could, in fact, be effective. The fact that all of the drugs involved have already been approved by the FDA should help things move along rather quickly in the testing phase.

While this is not one of the more common diseases on earth and is even rare among HIV treatments, it is certainly one that has a high mortality rate. It is satisfying to see research going on that helps a very select group of individuals, even though the need for such medication will not drive the same earnings as treatment for a more common condition.