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Leukemia is a deadly dangerous oncological disease that often attacks children unlike other cancer types. This pathology is impossible to treat with surgery as there is no a single localized tumor that can be removed. Malignant cells quickly spread throughout the body affecting the nearby and distant tissues and organs.
Chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation are basic techniques for the leukemia treatment in children. Clinical studies aimed at the improvement of the existing therapy techniques are being constantly held. New ways of treatment of this malignant disease of the hematopoietic system are also being constantly developed.
Clinical studies aimed at the following issues are currently ongoing:
- Search for the desirable chemotherapy combinations that allow achieving maximum possible life expectancy among the children suffering from leukemia;
- Definition of prognostic factors that make the therapy schemes more effective and its results better;
- Overcome the leukemia resistance to the chemotherapy;
- Choice of the best time for the stem cells transplantation in the prognostic perspective;
- Influence of stem cells donors’ compatibility on the disease outcome.
New therapeutic methods are being created and immunotherapy has high potential. Immunotherapy includes treatment techniques aimed at the patient’s immune response stimulation that will inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Т-cells CAR-therapy is one of the immunotherapy techniques showing promising results. T-cells are being extracted from the patient’s blood and then processed in the genetic laboratory conditions. Eventually, chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) appear on T-cells surface. They are substances, proteins by the nature. T-cells having CAR on their surface are able to communicate with the cancer cells and destroy them which separates them from normal physiological T-cells.
Studies have shown that CAR-therapy is able to receive good results of treatment even in the children who do not respond well to chemotherapy. In the number of cases, tumor cells were not detected at all after the T-cells therapy. At the same time, it remains unknown whether the full recovery has come, as several years of observations have to pass to understand if the recurrence occurs in these children in the future.
Toxicity is a disadvantage of the CAR-therapy. A child has to be under the constant doctors’ observation for the duration of treatment period. He or she can experience fever, low blood pressure. Medications are used to improve the treatment tolerance, side effects elimination and reducing the risk of complications.
Monoclonal antibodies are artificially synthesized antibodies – substances of the protein origin. They help the body to fight the infections and tumors. Monoclonal antibodies bind to the leukemia cells right after they get into the body. They connect to the proteins on the cells surface and as a result the immune system starts to fight the tumor cells more actively.Currently, such medication as Blinatumomab is being analyzed. It can bind to the two proteins of the tumor cells.
Monoclonal antibodies are used for B-cell and T-cell leukemia. The majority of the research has proved the high efficiency of this treatment. Though they were carried out in adult patients, children are likely to receive good results with monoclonal antibodies treatment as well.
Latest treatment techniques will help to prolong thousands of kids’ lives who have leukemia. Research has proved that these techniques can be effective even in the cases where traditional methods stop working.
Treatment of children with leukemia in the foreign hospitals
Parents of children with leukemia often apply to foreign hospitals for help. There they can receive treatment with innovative drugs or undergo a bone marrow transplantation. Clinics in Europe have access to current clinical trials and the bone marrow donor database.
Treatment of children abroad has certain peculiarities. Not all hospitals are authorized to admit patients under the age of 14. Other hospitals are asking for deposits of several tens of thousands of euros to compensate for possible risks. Booking Health is a medical tourism operator that has been organizing the treatment of patients from 75 countries in the world's leading hospitals for over 10 years. Booking Health specialists will help you choose a hospital and start the necessary treatment as soon as possible.
One of the hospitals that offer complex treatment for young patients with leukemia is the Helios Hospital Berlin-Buch. The hospital has the Department of Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplant, the Department of Oncology and Palliative Care, the Department of Adult and Pediatric Interventional Radiology, the Department of Adult and Pediatric Radiation Therapy, and Radiation Oncology.
In addition to choosing a hospital , Booking Health specialists will provide other kinds of assistance:
- Establishing communication directly with your doctor
- Preparing medical program in advance, without repeating previous examinations
- Providing favorable costs, without overpricing and additional coefficients for foreign patients (saving up to 50%)
- Booking the appointment on the necessary date
- Monitoring medical program at all stages
- Help in buying and forwarding of medicines
- Communication with the clinic after treatment completion
- Control of invoices and return of unspent funds
- Organization of additional examinations
- Offering service of the highest level: booking hotels and plane tickets, transfer organization
Author: Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova