Can IVIG Improve Immune Function?

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Topics include: Treatments and Understanding

How do chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients start to rebuild their health after treatment? What tools can help patients develop immunity to fight infections? On location at CLL Live in Niagara Falls, Canada, noted CLL expert Dr. Thomas Kipps, from the University of California San Diego Medical Center, explains what the biggest suppressor of immune function is for patients, how the immune system may be affected by treatment, and shares techniques that work to recover the immune system post-therapy. 

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Andrew Schorr:

The biggest suppressor of immune function is the leukemia itself, and so what's very hard, and you can imagine, this is the same problem we had with the patients who had deletion 17p in that the leukemia cell tends to inhibit the marrow from functioning well, and if the cells are relatively resistant and you've poisoned the marrow from the therapy it's very hard to regrow the marrow when you have leukemia cells present, not a good situation to be in.  

The same might be true of our immune system, too.  Fortunately, the immune system can be addressed in a way by giving exogenous IVIG, and it really has been a game changer and lifesaving therapy for patients. I think that it's underutilized and can actually be the difference between patients having one infection after the other or, God forbid, a terrible infection which lands you in the hospital or worse.  And I really worry about this.  

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Page last updated on June 25, 2018