In 2020, haematological malignancies were attributed to approximately 294,000 diagnoses and approximately 86,000 deaths in Europe. 
Receiving a blood cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming and sparks fear. We are striving to change this, so that one day the words “you have cancer” will be less terrifying for patients to hear and less distressing for healthcare professionals to say and act upon.
To do this, we are working tirelessly to develop personalised treatments with reduced side effects that can improve quality of life and prolong the duration of remission.
Our precise focus in B cell malignancies
B cells are a type of white blood cell (lymphocyte) that are part of the immune system and play an important role in fighting infection in the body. Usually, the body makes new lymphocytes only when they are needed to replace old cells that have died. In B cell malignancies, these cells malfunction, and become malignant. This means they grow when the body doesn’t need them and reproduce at an abnormal rate.
At Janssen Oncology, we are precisely focused on the three main types of B cell malignancy:
Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL)
CLL is the most common leukaemia in adults. It is generally a slow-growing blood cancer, in which the bone marrow makes too many lymphocytes. CLL patients usually don’t have any symptoms for at least a few years, but over time the cells grow and spread to other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes, liver and spleen.
The overall incidence of CLL in Europe is approximately 4.92 cases per 100,000 people per year and is about 1.5 times more common in men than in women. CLL is predominantly a disease of the elderly, with a median age of 72 years at diagnosis.
While patient outcomes have dramatically improved in the last few decades, the disease is still characterised by consecutive episodes of disease progression and the need for therapy.
Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL)
MCL is typically an aggressive, rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) that develops from abnormal B lymphocytes. It is called ‘mantle cell’ because the abnormal B lymphocytes come from an area called the ‘mantle zone’ in lymph nodes (glands). The abnormal B lymphocytes start to collect in the lymph nodes or body organs. They can then form tumours and begin to cause problems within the lymphatic system or the organ where they are growing.
The average incidence rate in Europe is 0.5 to 1 cases per 100,000 people.
Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia (WM)
WM is a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), affecting two types of B cells: lymphoplasmacytoid cells and plasma cells. WM is characterised by having high levels of a circulating antibody, immunoglobulin M (IgM), which is made and secreted by the cells involved in the disease.
Each antibody (protein) made by the WM cells is the same, so it is called a monoclonal protein (M protein). The build-up of this M protein in the body can lead to many of the symptoms of WM, including excess bleeding, problems with vision, and nervous system problems.
Incidence rates in Europe for men and women are 7.3 and 4.2 per million respectively.
Our approach to research
A better understanding of disease biology and the emergence of newer generation therapies has led to clinical outcomes greatly improving for many patients living with certain types of B cell malignancies over the last decade.,, Janssen Oncology have contributed to this innovation by delivering first-in-class targeted treatment regimens that provide patients and physicians with non-chemoimmunotherapy options for use in treating CLL, MCL and WM. We are committed to a comprehensive clinical development programme to build on our progress in this area. In the future, our hope is that more patients living with these complex forms of blood cancer will be able to benefit from targeted therapies that are tailored to their individual needs and preferences.
With this in mind, we work towards a future where treatment-free remissions and cure may not be far out of sight.