Myelofibrosis is a bone marrow disease in which the content of blood cells the body generates is negatively affected. More specifically, myelofibrosis is defined as a rare version of chronic leukemia. It’s classified as a blood cancer that causes fibers and blood cells to accumulate in bone marrow. Because of the excess accumulation of blood cells and fibers, bone marrow becomes scarred, and it can have multiple adverse effects on the body. Symptoms include shortness of breath, easy bruising or bleeding, excessive sweating, fever, an enlarged spleen, and internal pain. Myelofibrosis occurs when blood stem cells replicate and divide into several specialized cells, which is referred to as a genetic mutation. Unfortunately, scientists are unsure of what causes genetic mutations, but some factors that increase the risk of developing a genetic mutation are age, a separate blood cell disorder, or the exposure to harmful chemicals. Even though myelofibrosis poses multiple harmful effects to health, there are various methods of treatment that can either relieve symptoms or treat the condition altogether. Reveal these now!
Chemotherapy is a popular cancer treatment that specifically uses chemical substances with anti-cancer properties. Not only can this form of treatment relieve the symptoms of myelofibrosis, but it also has the ability to prevent the disease’s progression by killing more cells than the cells divided from a gene mutation. In general, chemotherapy uses certain drugs to treat particular symptoms associated with myelofibrosis. More specifically, cladribine can relieve symptoms of anemia that come with myelofibrosis. In addition to this, hydroxyurea is specifically used to treat symptoms of enlarged spleen caused by myelofibrosis. Hydroxyurea can not only shrink an enlarged spleen but also relieve symptoms of generalized pain known for their appearance with myelofibrosis.
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Radiation therapy, also known as radiotherapy, is classified as a type of cancer treatment that uses X-rays in addition to other forms of radiation to treat myelofibrosis by relieving the negative symptoms associated with the disease. Typically, radiotherapy is a method of treating cancer that uses ionizing therapy specifically and is delivered by using a linear accelerator. Not only this, but radiotherapy uses high-powered beams, also referred to as X-rays, to eliminate and kill cells that have been genetically mutated. Radiotherapy can reduce the size of an enlarged spleen associated with myelofibrosis. This method of treatment is beneficial for individuals who don’t want to participate in surgery to reduce the size of their enlarged spleen and treat their myelofibrosis.
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Ruxolitinib is a medication approved to treat myelofibrosis. This medication is also referred to as the JAK inhibitor, and it has the ability to not only treat myelofibrosis, but also ease multiple symptoms associated with the disease, such as anemia, enlarged spleen, bone pain, and excessive sweating at night. Ruxolitinib is a form of drug therapy used to block the processes the genetically mutated genes facilitate. Overall, using medication to treat and relieve the symptoms of myelofibrosis can specifically target genetically mutated cells, stopping them from dividing and creating more genetically mutated cells. Additional medications with the ability to effectively relieve an individual’s myelofibrosis symptoms are thalidomide, lenalidomide, and pomalidomide. These can improve blood cell counts, and even relieve symptoms associated with an enlarged spleen.
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Treatments That Target Gene Mutations
There are multiple types of treatments that target gene mutations, such as certain drugs and gene therapy. Using certain drugs, like ruxolitinib, specifically prevents particular genetically mutated cells from dividing and producing more genetically mutated cells. Aside from this method, genetic mutations can also be treated using an experimental technique doctors perform. Gene therapy is designed to introduce improved genetic material into cells to compensate for genetically mutated genes.
Furthermore, gene therapy uses genes to both treat and prevent myelofibrosis. More specifically, myelofibrosis can be treated by using gene therapy because gene therapy replaces mutated genes with healthy genes, and restores the function of the genetically mutated cell. In addition to this, gene therapy can also introduce a new gene into the body to help fight myelofibrosis.
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Surgical Procedures And Transplants
Because one of the common symptoms of myelofibrosis is an enlarged spleen, if the patient's spleen becomes too large that it causes pain and no other treatments are effective, patients may be recommended to have it surgically removed. In addition to this, a stem cell transplant is also recommended for patients with myelofibrosis. A stem cell transplant, also known as an allogeneic stem cell transplantation, is a transplant where the stem cells are taken from a suitable donor and transplanted into a patient diagnosed with myelofibrosis. This treatment is beneficial for individuals because it is possibly the only complete cure for myelofibrosis. Before the transplant takes place, patients are required to undergo larger amounts of chemo treatments in addition to radiotherapy treatments to rid the body of dead bone marrow substance. This can be problematic for older individuals, which is why some doctors recommend a reduced-intensity transplant for older adults. This transplant requires individuals to receive less chemotherapy and radiotherapy before the transplant.