News from Illinois CancerCare

Illinois CancerCare Brings Hope To Lymphoma Patients

Access to the most cutting-edge healthcare cannot be underestimated, and when it comes to cancer, it can mean hope in the bleakest circumstances. Cancer research trials at Illinois CancerCare often allow patients access to the newest treatments prior to worldwide release. This is the case for numerous central Illinois patients with lymphoma (cancer of the immune system) who qualified to receive Umbralisib over the past four years. This was prior to its FDA accelerated approval last Friday, February 5th. Not only did these patients receive premium access to this leading treatment, their participation aided in the accelerated approval, leaving a legacy of hope for future lymphoma patients.


Umbralisib is the first and only oral, once daily, inhibitor of phosphoinositide 3 kinase (PI3K) delta and casein kinase 1 (CK1) epsilon. Accelerated approval was granted based on results from the phase 2 clinical trial titled UTX-TGR-205 (UNITY-NHL). This study showed that patients with marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) or follicular lymphoma (FL) that did not respond to prior treatment, or had their cancer return over time, exhibited a strong response to this new cancer treatment! Umbralisib led to a reduction in cancer in 49% of patients with marginal zone lymphoma and 43% of patients with follicular lymphoma in the study.


The FDA instituted its Accelerated Approval Program to allow for earlier approval of drugs that treat serious conditions. With very few treatment options currently available when initial treatments fail, this is an important advancement for these patients. Each year, more than 8,000 new cases of marginal zone lymphoma and 13,000 of follicular lymphoma are diagnosed in the United States.

“These are considered chronic, incurable conditions with limited treatment options after patients relapse from prior treatments,” states Dr. Madhuri Bajaj, an oncologist at Illinois CancerCare, and site principal investigator of this clinical trial. “This drug is yet another recent example of how clinical cancer research offers patients hope to continue their fight against incurable diseases. We will continue to work hard to bring tomorrow’s treatments here today for our patients in central Illinois!

Illinois CancerCare physicians stay well-informed of developing science and actively seek out promising therapies such Umbralisib, ensuring that these groundbreaking treatments are available to our patients through clinical research trials. Illinois CancerCare opened enrollment to UTX-TGR-205 in 2017, allowing our patients to benefit from this therapy years ahead of its recent FDA approval. Our patients continue to advance cancer treatment forward through their participation in clinical cancer research.


Research of Umbralisib (UKONIQ), given both alone and in combination with other drugs, is ongoing in several cancer types. Illinois CancerCare is currently offering TG Therapeutics clinical trial ULTRA-V (U2-VEN-207), which is investigating the efficacy of Umbralisib in combination with 1-2 other targeted therapies for treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), another cancer that can be challenging to treat due to varying cellular and genetic markers.

Learn more about Illinois CancerCare’s research program & clinical trials here.