CHICAGO, Ill. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Lung cancer tops the list of cancer-related deaths in the United States, surpassing colon, breast and prostate cancer deaths combined. For patients diagnosed late, survival is slim. Now, a new groundbreaking double lung transplant is giving patients without hope of becoming completely cancer-free.
Time was running out for Albert Khoury and Tannaz Ameli – both diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer.
“I coughed a huge mucus, and it was pink – there was blood in there,” Albert remembers.
Tannaz tells Ivanhoe, “They gave me, like, three months.”
Out of options and out of time, until they heard about double lung transplants.
“In selected patients who have metastasis or cancer only located to the lung, and they have failed all the conventional treatments, we think we can provide a new treatment for those patients,” explains Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Northwestern Medicine, Ankit Bharat, MD.
Traditionally, only one lung could be transplanted at a time. Now, Northwestern Medicine surgeons have performed the first five double lung transplants for cancer patients. This new approach places the patient on a heart-lung bypass. Both cancer-filled lungs and lymph nodes are removed, the airways and the chest cavity are cleaned. Surgeons have to be extremely careful not to let a single cell spill into the patient’s blood stream or chest cavity.
Dr. Bharat adds, “We are now able to carefully remove the cancer-ridden lungs without causing metastasis or escape of these cancer cells.”
The two donor lungs are then transplanted, and nearly two years after their transplants, both Tannaz and Albert are cancer-free.
“This message is for anyone who has cancer – stay strong,” Albert emphasizes.
Surgeons at Northwestern Medicine first performed double lung transplants on COVID-19 patients. Post-transplant survival at one year was above 95 percent. It’s important to note that the double lung transplant is only for people who have lung cancer confined to the lungs. They are planning to track 75 patients in a new research registry called dream. You can find out more on clinicaltrials.gov.
Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Matt Goldschmit, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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TOPIC: FIRST EVER LIFE-SAVING DOUBLE LUNG TRANSPLANT
REPORT: MB #5291
BACKGROUND: Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a hereditary disorder characterized by abnormal, crescent-shaped red blood cells. This condition happens due to a mutation in the gene responsible for producing hemoglobin, a protein crucial for carrying oxygen throughout the body. In individuals with SCD, these malformed cells have a reduced ability to flow smoothly through blood vessels, leading to episodes of pain, organ damage, and a range of complications. SCD is more prevalent in populations with African, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and South Asian heritage. While there is currently no cure for SCD, advancements in medical treatment and ongoing research are providing hope for improved management and quality of life for those affected by this condition.
DIAGNOSING: Sickle cell disease (SCD) is typically diagnosed through a series of blood tests that evaluate the presence of abnormal hemoglobin. A common initial screening is the hemoglobin electrophoresis, which identifies the different types of hemoglobin in the blood. Additionally, a complete blood count (CBC) can reveal the presence of sickle-shaped red blood cells and assess the overall health of the blood. In some cases, genetic testing may be employed to confirm the specific type of SCD and provide insights into its severity. Additionally, prenatal testing and newborn screening programs are essential for early detection and intervention in infants born to parents with a history of SCD. Early diagnosis is crucial for the effective management and treatment of the condition, allowing for better outcomes and an improved quality of life for those living with SCD.
NEW TECHNOLOGY: Advancements in technology have greatly enhanced the management of sickle cell disease (SCD). Telemedicine allows for remote consultations and monitoring, providing convenient access to healthcare professionals for individuals with SCD. Mobile applications and wearable devices can help track symptoms, medication schedules, and vital signs, enabling patients to actively participate in their own care. Also, genetic testing and counseling services have become more upscale, allowing for a deeper understanding of an individual’s specific SCD variant and potential treatment options. Cutting-edge therapies such as stem cell transplants promises hope in the longevity of curative approaches. Additionally, electronic health records (EHRs) help healthcare providers track whether specific therapeutic interventions or immunizations are offered SCD patients. These technological innovations collectively contribute to improved outcomes and an enhanced quality of life for those affected by SCD.
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