Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Treatment in Israel
Treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in Israel with the use of chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation has proven to be highly effective.
In Israel's leading private hospital Herzliya Medical Center bone marrow transplant is performed at the highest professional level.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia or acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is a malignant lesion of the hematopoietic system, accompanied by the appearance of a large number of hematopoietic cells in hematopoietic tissues, preventing the growth and development of healthy blood cells, which leads to the inhibition of the process of normal hematopoiesis. The disease is most commonly diagnosed in children.
Symptoms of acute lymphoblastic leukemia
Clinical manifestations of acute lymphocytic leukemia may include:
- Bleeding from the gums and nose
- Bone pain
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, abdomen or groin
- Weakness, fatigue
Many of the symptoms of acute lymphocytic leukemia are similar to flu, but unlike flu in all the above mentioned symptoms there is no improvement of health status. With the development of these symptoms one is urged to seek medical help.
Diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in Israel
For the diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia the following studies are appointed:
- A full blood count will reveal abnormalities in the blood: increased number of blast cells and reduced levels of platelets, leukocytes and erythrocytes.
- A bone marrow biopsy; when biopsy of the pelvic bone marrow sample is taken and sent to a lab for testing. If the diagnosis of abnormal leukemia cells are confirmed to be "acute lymphoblastic leukemia" then additional tests will be carried out.
- Computer visualization tests such as X-ray, CT scan or ultrasound are used to determine the prevalence of cancer cells in other areas of the body.
- Lumbar puncture. In some cases it may be necessary to study the composition of cerebrospinal fluid to check for leukemia cells in it. During the procedure a needle is injected into the spinal canal of the lower back.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia treatment in Israel
- Upon confirmation of the diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia it is important to start treatment immediately. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia treatment in Israel is divided into several phases: remission induction, consolidation, maintenance therapy and prophylactic treatment.
- Induction therapy. During this phase of treatment, intensive therapy with chemotherapeutic drugs is assigned. The purpose of this phase is to achieve remission, by maximizing the destruction of diseased cells in hematopoietic tissues and restoration of normal hematopoiesis.
- Consolidation. The purpose of post-remission therapy is to eliminate the remnants of abnormal cells in the brain and spinal cord which was not destroyed during induction therapy. This phase of treatment is aimed at consolidating the results of induction. The main objective of consolidation is to reduce the risk of recurrence. During the consolidation phase cytostatic (chemotherapy drugs) are applied.
- Maintenance treatment is performed to prevent reproduction of abnormal cells. Pharmacological preparations (products, substances) used in this step are assigned for long periods of time in low doses.
- Prophylactic treatment. At this stage in treatment, chemotherapy drugs are frequently administered directly into the cerebrospinal fluid for the destruction of abnormal cells in the CNS.
Acute lymphocytic leukemia treatment is a long process, the duration of therapy can take two to three years.
Methods for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia:
- Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy drugs are designed to destroy the abnormal cells and are assigned at all stages of treatment. Depending on the phase of treatment multiple types of cytostatic can be used.
- Target drug therapy. Drugs targeted therapies affect certain mutations.Often in patients suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, abnormal Philadelphia chromosome is detected. In identifying this gene disorders targeted drugs are applied and destroy cells containing this mutation. These drugs may be used both during and after chemotherapy.
- Radiotherapy. Radiotherapy uses powerful X-rays to destroy leukemia cells. With the development of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, accompanied by infiltration of abnormal cells in the CNS a course of radiation therapy is usually assigned. Radiotherapy conducted in conjunction with other therapies, provides a positive therapeutic effect.
- Stem cell transplantation. An innovative method has been used as consolidation therapy in patients with high risk of recurrent cancer or to treat relapses. This procedure allows a much faster and more efficient healthy stem cells restoration. Before bone marrow transplant patients receive higher doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
At Herzliya Medical Center Private Hospital, the treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia is carried out by leading oncologists working in a modern hospital equipped with the latest technologies.