Treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in Germany
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a malignant pathology of the hematopoietic system when tumour mass grows from the lymphoblasts (immature lymphoid cells). It is the most common oncological disease among the children between the ages of 1 and 6 years old. Leukemic cells spread rapidly through the bloodstream, affecting the lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow and central nervous system.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia – Diagnostics
Clinical blood test results cause a reasonable suspicion of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The main sign is a decreased number of erythrocytes, platelets, and leukocytes. There are changes in the leukocyte formula, as well. In addition, too many immature white blood germ cells (lymphoblasts) are detected in the smear.
Additional laboratory methods are:
- Blood coagulation test
- Blood chemistry
A diagnosis is confirmed only after the bone marrow biopsy. It is usually taken from the pelvic bones, sometimes from the chest. Specialists look at the number of blast cells in the biopsy specimen. Their normal amount is under 5%. When the illness is present, their number will grow up to 20-30% and more.
Additional examination methods are used to detect the prevalence of the illness and to define its prognosis. These methods are:
- Genetic tests
- Lumbar puncture
- Lymph nodes biopsy
- Chest X-ray examination
- Liver and spleen ultrasound examination
- Computed tomography
Best clinics for the acute lymphoblastic leukemia diagnostics in Germany:
University Hospital Ulm
University Hospital Mannheim
University Hospital of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (LMU)
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia – Treatment
Chemotherapy is the main treatment option in the case of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. There are many treatment schemes. Drugs and doses are chosen depending on the stage of the pathological process and prognostic factors represented in the table below.
At first, the induction treatment is indicated. Its purpose is to achieve remission. Remission is a reduction of blast cells in the bone marrow sample to 5% and less. Then the consolidation stage starts. This is a drug therapy aimed at preserving prolonged remission.
Some patients undergo stem cells transplantation at the consolidation phase. Cells are taken from the bone marrow or peripheral blood. Then they are cultivated and transplanted to the patient. Transplantation can be autologous (patient’s own cells are used) or allogeneic (donor stem cells are used). Allogeneic transplantation is more effective as well as more dangerous for the patient.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia – Innovative treatment
New methods of treatment are constantly being developed. They help to increase life expectancy of the patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Among the latest medical achievements are:
- Injection of donor leukocytes. Allotransplantation promises to become even more effective in the nearest future. Research is conducted regarding the possibility of injecting the leukocytes received from the same donor who gave stem cells. This helps to enhance the reaction “graft versus leukemia”.
- Safe chemotherapy. A lot of adult patients, especially, elderly people, find it hard to tolerate chemotherapy. Hence the search for safer and better medications is ongoing. Such medicines appear. “Cloral” is one of the latest drugs that have already been approved for use in children. In the nearest future, it will be possible to use it in adult patients.
- Monoclonal antibodies. Artificially synthesized antibodies are used for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Their action is directed against tumor cells. Monoclonal antibodies react to the special protein cells that are located on the surface. Now, specialists are researching a possibility of using Alemtuzumab and Rituximab drugs for the treatment of this illness.
Best clinics for the acute lymphoblastic leukemia treatment in Germany:
University Hospital Ulm
University Hospital Mannheim
University Hospital Duesseldorf
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia – Rehabilitation
Most patients require rehabilitation after the treatment of complex oncological diseases. It includes the following aspects:
- Prevention of complications that may occur as a result of treatment. It can be pneumonia, lymphostasis, thromboembolic or infectious complications.
- Restoration of general health. The elimination of the consequences after surgeries and chemotherapy is carried out. The functions of internal organs are restored with the help of various medical and rehabilitation measures.
- Restoration of occupation. A person must not just stay alive. He must have physical and intellectual capabilities, which are sufficient for employment.
- Psychological support. First of all, it is required for patients, whose occupational performance was harmed because of the disease. Patients with deterioration of appearance also will benefit from psychological help.
- Restoration of appearance. If necessary, you can use surgical and other methods in Germany to restore appearance defects caused by cancer. For example, to carry out the reconstruction of the breast.
- Social and domestic rehabilitation. A person with reduced workability is trained to act in the society and perform everyday tasks in new conditions.
In German clinics, rehabilitation is carried out in a comprehensive manner. The patients are provided with qualitative care here. Doctors' monitoring and conservative treatment allow to avoid complications, which usually happen after treatment of oncological diseases. Psychotherapy, physiotherapy and physical therapy are actively used in Germany.
Specialists in different medical spheres take part in the rehabilitation process. These are massage therapists, speech therapists, specialists in physiotherapy exercises, physiotherapists. Social and occupational therapy is carried out, as well. If necessary, people are taught how to eat properly, take care of a colostomy or urostomy, etc.
In Germany, rehabilitation is carried out with the maximum level of comfort for the patient. A person feels the results quite quickly and it improves his motivation and promotes further recovery.
Best clinics for oncological rehabilitation in Germany:
Max Grundig Clinic Buehl
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Author: Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova
Here you can find the cost of treatment for this disease at the German University Hospitals. Leave a request and we will provide a free consultation with a doctor and will start organizing the whole treatment process.
The program includes the following:
- Issuing of an invitation for getting a visa for treatment as quick as possible
- Fixing an appointment at a time convenient for you
- Preliminary organization of a comprehensive examination and discussion of the forthcoming treatment plan
- Arranging transfer from the airport to the hospital and back to the airport
- Provision of interpreting services and services of a personal medical coordinator
- If necessary, assistance in the organization of further surgical treatment
- Provision of a medical insurance against treatment complications covering up to 200,000 euro
- Preparation and translation of medical records and recommendations from the hospital
- Assistance in the subsequent communication with your attending physician, including consultations on repeated X-ray images through the unique medical document management system E-doc