Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)
Treatments for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
You will be treated by a highly qualified team of experienced medical specialists at Sheba Medical Center. Multidisciplinary doctors will work together to design your personalized treatment plan for chronic myelogenous leukemia. Treatment options for CML depend on the phase of your disease – chronic, accelerated, or blast phase – as well as age and other prognostic factors. Our hematologists, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists will combine their skills to determine the most effective, integrative therapies for each individual.
Treatment options at Sheba for each phase of CML include:
Chemotherapy (chemo) is the use of anti-cancer drugs that enter the bloodstream and reach all areas of your body, which is why it can be suitable for cancers that spread, such as CML. In general, chemo works to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by preventing them from dividing or killing them.
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Targeted therapy uses new types of drugs that identify and attack specific leukemia cells without harming normal cells. Patients with newly diagnosed CML in the chronic phase are often treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) that target the BCR-ABL gene, and most of the time this type of targeted therapy is effective. Generally, patients need to remain on some form of TKIs indefinitely, however some people are able to stop taking it.
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Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant
A stem cell transplant may be considered if the CML does not respond sufficiently to TKI targeted therapy drugs. During this procedure, diseased bone marrow cells are replaced by specialized stem cells that grow and restore the body’s normal blood cells. An allogeneic (using stem cells from a genetically suitable donor) bone marrow transplant is regarded as the only potential cure for CML.
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Radiation is rarely used to treat CML. However, it may be used to shrink swollen organs that are causing painful symptoms, or to treat pain from bone damage caused by CML cells in the bone marrow. Low doses of radiation may also be administered to the entire body as a part of a stem cell transplant.
Holistic Treatments at Sheba Medical Center
As we treat your leukemia, our dedicated medical team will pay attention to your overall quality of life. We understand that coping with cancer and its treatment is extremely challenging, and we strive to provide therapies that are as comfortable and efficient as possible. With a focus on your psychological, intellectual, and physical well-being, we offer a full range of support services, including social workers, nutrition counseling, and alternative therapies. If you suffer severe side effects or your CML becomes resistant to treatment, we will meet with you to discuss your personalized treatment options.