Rituximab for Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma: A story of rapid success in translation

Andrew M. Harrison, Nassir M. Thalji, Alexandra J. Greenberg, Carmen J. Tapia, Anthony J. Windebank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Translational stories range from straightforward to complex. In this commentary, the story of the rapid and successful translation of rituximab therapy for the treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) is examined. Development of this monoclonal antibody therapy began in the late 1980s. In 1994, rituximab received its first approval for the treatment of NHL by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Rituximab has since been approved for additional indications and has transformed medical practice. However, the social and political implications of these rapid successes are only beginning to become clear. In this commentary, key events in the rapid translation of rituximab from the bench to bedside are highlighted and placed into this historical framework. To accomplish this, the story of rituximab is divided into the following six topics, which we believe to be widely applicable to case studies of translation: (1) underlying disease, (2) key basic science, (3) key clinical studies in translation, (4) FDA approval process, (5) changes to medical practice, and (6) the social and political influences on translation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-86
Number of pages5
JournalClinical and translational science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Hematology
  • Hematopathology
  • Immunotherapy
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Oncology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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