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Radioimmunotherapy for Leukemia
The leukemia experts at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) use a targeted drug therapy, called radioimmunotherapy (RIT), to target leukemia.
As its name implies, radioimmunotherapy combines radiation therapy and immunotherapy. It works by attaching radioactive molecules, called radioisotopes (e.g., Yttrium-90), to monoclonal antibodies to target and destroy leukemia cells.
By delivering radiation directly to the tumor cells, this type of leukemia treatment helps to reduce toxic effects on normal tissues. Radioimmunotherapy may be a promising option for patients with acute leukemia.
Advantages of Radioimmunotherapy for Leukemia
For patients with leukemia, radioimmunotherapy offers the following advantages:
- The radiotherapeutic antibody targets and then delivers radiation directly to leukemia cells.
- By targeting radiation directly to leukemia cells, radioimmunotherapy minimizes side effects associated with most high-dose chemotherapy regimens.
- Radioimmunotherapy is usually delivered over a shorter period of time (seven to nine days), compared to several months with standard chemotherapy.
Helping You Maintain Your Quality of Life
Side effects of radioimmunotherapy for leukemia depend on several factors, including whether you have chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy before receiving radioimmunotherapy.
The most common side effect of radioimmunotherapy is a temporary lowering of blood counts caused by radiation to the bone marrow. This reduction in blood cell counts may cause neutropenia or anemia. Other treatment-related side effects may include fatigue, nausea, weakness, diarrhea or skin rash.
Your CTCA care team will provide various supportive therapies to reduce these side effects and keep you strong throughout your leukemia treatment. Therapies like nutrition therapy, naturopathic medicine, pain management, mind-body medicine and oncology rehabilitation can help keep you nutritionally fortified, increase your energy and improve your overall well-being.
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