Treatment For Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia
There is currently no cure for waldenstroms macroglobulinemia prognosis is varied. Because of the rarity of the disease there has not been a large amount of research on effective treatments for waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia. The current treatment of waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia is primarily intended to treat symptoms and help prevent complications rather than treat the disease. Due to the lack of studies comparing different treatment options there is not a single treatment waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia.
Patients who do not show symptoms of waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia are often monitored without being treated. These patients can live for years without requiring treatment. Chemotherapy is a usual treatment of waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia. Chemotherapy can be used both to thin the blood in cases of hyper-viscosity as well as to fight the lymphoma cells. Another treatment for waldenstroms macroglobulinemia is biological therapy which is a treatment that stimulates the immune system so that it fights the cancer. Recent reports show that a combination treatment of chemotherapy and biological therapy has had fairly promising results although more research needs to be done to properly evaluate the effectiveness of this treatment.
If a patient with waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia has high levels of IgM and experiences hyper-viscosity then one of the main treatments is plasmapherisis. Plasmapherisis is a process where blood is removed from the patient and put into a machine which separates other blood cells from the plasma which contains IgM. The blood cells have a substitute plasma added and are pumped back into th patient. This process effectively thins the blood and reduces the negative effects of hyper-viscosity, this means symptoms of waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia are reduced.
Treatment of Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia
Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia can be quite aggressive and in these cases a stem cell transplant may be suggested. This process involves the removal of blood forming stem cells which are restored to the patient following a high dose of chemotherapy. The desired effect of this is that the transplanted stem cells return to the bone marrow and produce new waldenstroms macroglobulinemia free blood cells.
Another possible treatment currently being trial for waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia is the removal of the spleen in patients who have a particularly swollen spleen. In rare cases waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia sufferers who have had their spleen removed have entered into remission for a number of years.