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Can Stem Cells Help Chronic Leukaemia?

Chronic leukaemia is a debilitating disease that affects thousands of people in the UK every year. Stem cell therapy can help treat chronic leukaemia by replacing damaged and dead cells due to the effects of chemotherapy. You could invest in a possible future treatment by banking stem cells from your baby’s umbilical cord for them and for close family members.

The wonderful thing about stem cells harvested and put into storage is that they can later become any type of cell that the body needs. This includes those depleted by chemotherapy used to treat leukaemia. Understand how stem cells can help treat chronic leukaemia with this guide.

What is chronic leukaemia?

Chronic leukaemia is a condition where there’s an elevated number of abnormal white cells in the peripheral blood (the blood that circulates throughout the body). It’s also referred to as cancer of the white cells. Chronic leukaemia is one of the most common kinds of leukaemia and mainly affects adults during or after middle age.

It tends to develop slowly, and symptoms may not be apparent for a long time. When symptoms do appear they could take the form of persistent infections, anaemia, and weight loss. Chronic leukaemia is usually considered a long-term disease that can’t be cured but can be well managed.

What are the types of chronic leukaemia?

There are several different types of chronic leukaemia:

  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL) – the most common type of leukaemia. This arises when the bone marrow makes too many white blood cells called lymphocytes, which in this case are abnormal and don’t help you to fight infection.
  • Chronic Myelogenous Leukaemia (CML) – the bone marrow produces more myeloid cells than it should. These are white blood cells that haven’t matured and don’t work properly.
  • Juvenile Chronic Myelogenous Leukaemia (JCML) – sometimes referred to as Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukaemia (JMML). This affects children, most commonly under the age of four. It occurs when the white blood cells (monocytes) are abnormal and lead to symptoms such as bruising, nosebleeds, lethargy, and skin rashes.

How can chronic leukaemia be treated?

Sometimes treatment isn’t needed for certain types of chronic leukaemia to start with as it’s slow growing. However, eventually most patients will need some sort of therapy to manage the condition. The main treatments for chronic leukaemia include chemotherapy or medication to stop the cancer cells growing and multiplying.

Unfortunately, such treatments often come with unpleasant side effects such as tiredness, nausea and vomiting and hair loss. There’s also a vulnerability to infection as chemotherapy can damage normal bone marrow and blood cells. Radiotherapy is sometimes used to reduce swollen lymph nodes and surgery is sometimes an option if a swollen spleen needs to be removed.

How can stem cells help treat chronic leukaemia?

Stem cells are used to replace blood cells damaged by chemotherapy through stem cell therapy or a stem cell transplant. This means that patients can receive higher doses of chemotherapy than they would otherwise be able to.

In a cord blood transplant, stem cells travel to the bone marrow through the patient’s blood and start producing new, healthy blood cells. This means that damaged cells are replaced. The fresh cells build a new immune system that fights off cancer cells and infections to help restore health.

The benefit of using a patient’s own stem cells means they won’t be susceptible to Graft Versus Host Disease. This is a condition where donated blood stem cells see the patient’s body as ‘foreign’ and attack it, which may cause health complications.

How can I bank stem cells for the future?

At Stem Protect, we provide a collection and storage service for taking and banking stem cells for future medical treatments, including therapy for chronic leukaemia. This includes for cord blood and tissue cells and stem cells in dental pulp from milk teeth. However, we do not offer stem cell therapy or stem cell transplant procedures.

Collection and storage of stem cells is a painless procedure that could be the greatest investment you make. It provides a potential lifeline to your child or other family members at their time of need. Find out more about our stem cell banking services and arrange a free consultation today – call 0800 211 8389 or contact us online today.

Discover how stem cells can help other conditions

Stem cells can be used to help treat other types of cancer and health conditions. Learn about their uses in these guides:

Can stem cells prevent anaemia?

Can stem cells prevent acute leukaemia?

Can stem cells treat myelodysplastic syndromes ?

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