NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research NewsNCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
January 13, 2004 • Volume 1 / Number 2 E-Mail This Document  |  Download PDF  |  Bulletin Archive/Search  |  Subscribe

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Featured Clinical TrialFeatured Clinical Trial

Depsipeptide Trial for T-Cell Lymphoma

NCI's Center for Cancer Research

This week's "Featured Clinical Trial" is one of about 150 clinical trials currently under way at NCI's Center for Cancer Research (CCR). CCR was created in March 2001 by merging two vital components of NCI's Intramural Research Program - the Division of Basic Sciences and the Division of Clinical Sciences. The merger is an important step toward NCI's goal of promoting closer links between basic researchers and clinical investigators, thereby enhancing their opportunities for both scientific discovery and translational research (bench-to-bedside and bedside-to-bench).

CCR is composed of more than 300 principal investigators in 54 laboratories, branches, and programs. As one of the world's largest cancer research centers, CCR takes advantage of the breadth of its researchers to foster interdisciplinary programs and facilitate translational research.

CCR's clinical trials take place at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md. All study-related health care for patients is provided at no charge. Patients who do not live locally must pay to travel to the initial screening visit but once they've enrolled in a study, NCI will arrange and pay for their subsequent transportation. Travel expenses are similarly covered for a parent or guardian of a participating child or minor.

For more information about CCR, please visit the CCR Web site at http://ccr.nci.
. For information about CCR clinical trials, call 1-888-NCI-1937 (1-888-624-1937), Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Name of the Trial
Phase II Study of FR901228 (Depsipeptide) in Patients With Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma, Relapsed Peripheral T-Cell Lymphoma, or Other Mature T-Cell Lymphoma (NCI-01-C-0049). See the protocol summary at

Dr. Richard Piekarz and Dr. Susan E. Bates Principal Investigators Principal Investigators
Dr. Susan E. Bates and Dr. Richard Piekarz of the NCI's Center for Cancer Research in Bethesda, Md.

Why Is This Trial Important?
T-cell lymphoma is a disease in which certain cells of the immune system (called T lymphocytes) become cancerous. T cells are one type of white blood cell that attacks virus-infected cells, foreign cells, and cancer cells. T cells also produce a number of substances that regulate the immune system. Cancerous T cells may grow in the lymph nodes; or they can grow in the skin, where the disease is called cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, mycosis fungoides, or Sezary syndrome.

This trial is trying to find out if depsipeptide can help bring about remission in patients with T-cell lymphoma. Depsipeptide is a new type of anticancer agent derived from bacteria. Preliminary results from this trial are encouraging, and the study is now seeking additional patients.

"This trial is very exciting because it involves a new class of anticancer drugs that can change the way cells grow," said Dr. Bates. "Whereas many chemotherapy drugs work by causing damage to cells, depsipeptide turns on genes in cancer cells that inhibit cell growth and eventually cause the cancer cells to die."

Who Can Join This Trial?
The depsipeptide trial seeks to enroll an additional 50 patients over the age of 18 who have T-cell lymphoma. See the full list of eligibility criteria for this trial at

Where Is This Trial Taking Place?
Where Is This Trial Taking Place? This study is being conducted at the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Md., as well as other sites. See the list of study sites at NCI-01-C-0049.

Who to Contact
See the list of study contacts at or call the NCI's Clinical Studies Support Center (CSSC) at 1-888-NCI-1937 (1-888-624-1937). The CSSC provides information about cancer trials taking place on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Md. The call is toll-free and completely confidential.