Blood Cancer Treatment
According to the patient’s needs, doctors select the most efficient course of treatment. The option for treating blood cancer depends on a number of variables:
- Blood cancer type
- Stage of the blood cancer
- Age and gender of the general health patient
- Level of symptom severity
Among the standard therapies for all blood cancer types are:
Chemotherapy As Treatment
- Prior to a stem cell transplant, chemotherapy is also necessary to suppress the immune system and prevent it from attacking the new donor cells. In this situation, chemotherapy is referred to as conditional therapy.
- This is one of the most widespread types of blood cancer treatment that employs particular medications to eradicate cancerous cells.
- Chemotherapy aids in either halting the spread of cancer or putting it into remission.
- Chemotherapy is a unique form of treatment used to combat cancer cells’ accelerated growth and division compared to healthy cells.
- The majority of the time, a patient is treated with two or more medications in combination because they work better together to kill cancer cells.
- Both alone and in conjunction with radiation therapy, chemotherapy is a viable treatment option.
Radiation treatment As Treatment
- High-energy X-ray particles are used in this type of blood cancer treatment to eradicate malignant cells.
- It is a type of targeted therapy that uses an X-ray beam to target cancer cells that are present in a particular region of the body.
- The linear accelerator is a device used in radiation therapy.
- As a low amount of radiation inhibits the immune system, there is no rejection of the donor cells during this procedure, which is used to treat some types of lymphoma and leukaemia as well as to get patients ready for stem cell transplants.
Stem Cell Replacement Therapy As Treatment
- This sort of blood cancer treatment involves injecting the patient’s body with healthy blood-forming stem cells.
- The infused blood cells may be from the patient’s or the donor’s healthy bone marrow, blood in circulation, or umbilical cord blood. Prior to stem cell transplantation, chemotherapy or radiation therapy is frequently used to suppress the immune system and prevent the body from rejecting the donor cells.
- Surgery may occasionally be performed to remove a particular organ or tissue. For instance, to stop the formation of aberrant blood cells, doctors would be asked to remove the patient’s spleen.
There are two main forms of stem cell or bone marrow transplants:
Autologous bone marrow transplant:
- This procedure includes removing the patient’s own stem cells before undergoing high-dose chemotherapy.
- After chemotherapy, these healthy stem cells are kept and subsequently put back into the patient’s circulation.
- With this approach, the doctor is able to effectively eradicate or destroy blood cancer cells while preventing (or storing) the healthy stem cells that will be used to rehabilitate the immune system in the future.
Allogeneic bone marrow transplant:
- This type of BMT gives patients stem cells that have been separated from a donor who is related or unrelated but who has a close genetic match.
- Testing the donor for compatibility is crucial to reduce the risk of transplant rejection.
- Another type of allogeneic transplant is the transplantation of stem cells utilising umbilical cord blood.
- In this, stem cell-rich cord blood is utilised for transplantation.
- When a mother offers to preserve the umbilical cord after childbirth, the cord is kept in a stem cell bank.
- In the course of a bone marrow transplantation procedure, the patient’s or donor’s bone marrow is aspirated or surgically removed in order to obtain the patient’s or donor’s bone marrow’s stem cells.
- While the donor is under general anaesthetic, a needle is inserted through the hip bones during the procedure.
- Due to the ease of peripheral blood collection, it is currently mostly used.
- The leftover blood is returned to the patient’s body after stem cells and other blood cells are separated by a machine.
CAR-T cells As Treatment
A novel form of immunotherapy called chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell treatment uses the patient’s own genetically altered T cells to target and destroy cancer cells. In this therapy, immune cells called T cells from the patient are gathered and their genetic makeup is changed in a lab so they can recognise and destroy cancer cell receptors.
A patient must go through a thorough evaluation in order to find out if they qualify for this therapy because it is a very specialised form of care.
There are now two CAR T-cell therapies that have been given the FDA’s approval to treat certain leukaemia sufferers.
The FDA has approved this CAR T-cell treatment for individuals with
- Adults with refractory or relapsed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).
- Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in young adults under the age of 25 that has relapsed or become resistant.
- This was the first CAR T-cell treatment for adult patients with specific B-cell lymphoma types to receive FDA approval.
Additionally, the FDA has authorised the use of this medication for patients with the illnesses listed below who either did not respond to or experienced a relapse after receiving the recommended course of treatment for these cancers:
- Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL)
- Primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma
- High-grade B-cell lymphoma
- DLBCL that results from follicular lymphoma
Patients who are approved for CAR T-cell therapy will undergo the following step of the process:
- White blood cells, including T cells, are removed from the patient’s body via a procedure called leukapheresis.
- The gathered cells are sent to the manufacturing facility, where the T-cells are genetically modified utilising biotechnology techniques to express a particular protein known as chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) on their surface. This aids in locating the desired cancer cells.
Multiplication of modified cells:
- Genetically engineered T cells are allowed to multiply in the lab in order to boost their population.
- When enough cells have multiplied, they are frozen and delivered to the cancer centre. About two to three weeks are needed to complete this process.
- Conditioning Patients will receive chemotherapy in the days leading up to the infusion as well as throughout the interim.
- This treatment is administered to enhance the CAR T-cells’ capacity to develop and proliferate within the body.
CAR T-cell infusion and In-patient hospitalization:
- Patients receive CAR T cells as an infusion that is administered all at once into their circulation, much like a blood transfusion.
- After the infusion, patients must remain in the hospital for one to two weeks so that medical staff can watch out for any potential adverse effects.
- Depending on the patient’s health previous to treatment and how well the therapy worked, the recovery time following CAR T-cell therapy can range from 2 to 3 months.
- Patients must closely evaluate their own side effects and treatment response during this time because they may be severe.