Pediatric Chronic Myeloid Leukemia: A Rare Malignancy Requiring Expert Care
With expert care, even rare cancers such as pediatric chronic myeloid leukemia are treatable. Read on to learn more about the disease and advanced treatments available in Israel.
Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), also known as chronic myelogenous leukemia, is a rare bone marrow cancer. CML occurs when a mutation in bone marrow cells, responsible for the body’s blood cell production, causes excessive generation of abnormal white blood cells that do not grow and die like normal cells.
Normal white blood cells fight infections, while their growth and division are regulated by the body through complex signaling mechanisms. In CML patients, the abnormal white blood cells do not respond to these signals, and as a result, multiply uncontrollably. These abnormal cells do not fight infections, but build up in the bone marrow in huge numbers, damaging it and crowding out healthy blood cells. They can then spill into the blood in large numbers, causing a variety of serious problems.
CML tends to progress more slowly than acute forms of leukemia, but can transform into a rapidly growing acute leukemia. While it typically affects older adults, pediatric chronic myeloid leukemia constitutes 2% of all leukemias in children younger than 15 years.
Because of the low incidence of pediatric CML, practice standards for the management of pediatric CML are not as established as for adult patients. Accordingly, it is crucial to choose a medical center staffed with top-tier cancer specialists and medical experts with experience in a wide range of disciplines to treat the malignancy.
Pediatric chronic myeloid leukemia treatment can include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, bone marrow transplantation, and, especially, targeted therapy.
Targeted Therapy for Pediatric Chronic Myeloid Leukemia
In recent years, medical research has shed light on some of the main differences between normal cells and cancer cells. These differences, or mutations, cause the latter to grow and spread out of control. This information led to the development of specialized drugs that can precisely identify and attack specific types of cancer cells.
Targeted therapy, officially classified as biological treatment and also known as targeted chemotherapy, is a type of cancer treatment that uses these specialized drugs that target cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone. Targeted therapy destroys cancer cells by blocking chemical signals that tell them to grow; changing proteins within the cells so they die; preventing new blood vessels from forming that would otherwise feed cancer cells; triggering the immune system to kill cancer cells; or sending toxins to the cancer cells to destroy them. Since these specialized drugs are made to only target specific cancer cells, targeted drugs can, in many cases, be more effective than chemotherapy, and they often have fewer side effects.
In the case of pediatric chronic myeloid leukemia, patients are often treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), which block the action of enzymes called tyrosine kinases. Tyrosine kinases are a part of many cell functions, including cell signaling, growth, and division. These enzymes may be too active, or found at high levels in cancer cells, and blocking them can help keep cancer cells from growing.
As cancer treatment research continues and advances, new and better targeted therapies are constantly being engineered. At Sheba, our skilled scientists and oncologists lead the way in the clinical application of cutting-edge targeted treatments.
Reasons to Seek Treatment for Pediatric Chronic Myeloid Leukemia in Israel
- Quality of Care: Israeli physicians are exceptionally well-trained and often spend even more time on their medical education than American doctors. Also, you can be assured of high standards and strict safety regulations if you choose a hospital accredited by a trustworthy authority.
- Cost: In many countries, healthcare costs can be exorbitant. Without insurance, the costs of cancer treatment can be crippling. Prices are much lower in Israel, averaging 30-80% less than in the US, for example. That said, you’re not trading affordability for quality since Israeli specialists, medical institutions, equipment, and procedures are among the most advanced in the world.
- Advanced Treatment: Medical institutions in Israel and the US often collaborate in advanced cancer research, developing new and effective treatments against the disease, yet Israel has fewer constraints than the US when it comes to adopting novel therapies. Israeli clinical trials still adhere to the highest standards of safety, but innovative treatments are generally made available to patients sooner than in the US.
Where to Pursue Treatment in Israel?
Having discovered a few of the many reasons to undergo pediatric chronic myeloid leukemia treatment in Israel, where exactly should you pursue it? Sheba Medical Center is an exceptional choice. As one of the 10 best hospitals in the world according to Newsweek magazine, Sheba is dedicated to providing patients with world-class medical care.
The advantages of receiving treatment at Sheba Medical Center include:
- Sheba is dedicated to performing procedures that minimize pain and suffering, with deep consideration for the physical and emotional needs of children.
- As a government institution, we have no hidden costs, and our fees are transparent. Although we offer advanced treatments available only in select medical institutions around the world, our prices are affordable.
- Sheba treats each patient as a unique individual, personalizing every therapy program.
- Sheba’s 360-degree care approach to every patient means that our professionals will assist you with arranging medical record reviews, travel, visas, accommodations, and language interpretation as needed.
- Sheba has full accreditation from the Joint Commission International (JCI), the premier international healthcare accrediting group.
- Sheba has both advanced treatment and laboratory facilities. At Sheba, patients receive every aspect of their treatment in a single facility.
- Our physicians are actively involved in the latest research and application of progressive treatments.
Expert care is often effective against CML. Interested in traveling to Israel for treatment? Contact Sheba Medical Center to book a consultation.
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