Defeating Acute Myeloid Leukemia with Innovative Treatment Approaches

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a unique type of blood cancer that stems from the bone marrow (the inner part of bones that makes new blood cells). It can also spread to other body parts, including the liver, spleen, lymph nodes, central nervous system (CNS), and testicles. AML mainly develops from cells that have the function of turning into WBCs or white blood cells (other than lymphocytes), but sometimes AML can also develop from other blood-forming cells.

The treatment period for acute myeloid leukemia cancer is very time-consuming. Hence, it is natural for a patient to worry about the cost. To lighten the pressure from cancer patients, a considerable number of specialized hospitals in India give AML cancer treatment at affordable prices. 

The acute myeloid leukemia treatment cost in India starts from INR 5,00,000. It can increase as per the treatment modality used, and if the patient is required to have a bone marrow transplant, then it can cost up to INR 20,00,000.

What Are the Signs Suggesting Acute Myeloid Leukemia?

Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) presents various symptoms related to disruptions in normal blood cell production. 

  • Common signs include persistent fatigue, easy bruising or bleeding, and an increased vulnerability to infections due to a deficiency of healthy white blood cells. 
  • AML can lead to anemia, causing weakness and shortness of breath, and it may result in a higher risk of bruising and prolonged bleeding due to reduced platelets.
  • Patients might experience unexplained weight loss, fever, and bone pain, particularly in the long bones. 
  • Swollen gums and frequent nosebleeds are also potential indicators. 
  • The rapid accumulation of abnormal WBC can sometimes cause abdominal swelling.

These symptoms arise as leukemia cells interfere with the bone marrow’s capability to produce normal blood cells. It’s essential to recognize these signs promptly, as early detection facilitates timely medical intervention and improves the chances of successful treatment. Individuals experiencing persistent or concerning symptoms should seek medical attention for thorough evaluation and diagnosis.

Can Acute Myeloid Leukemia Be Treated?

Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) demands an aggressive approach to treatment, involving a combination of strategies specific to the individual patient’s diagnosis. The primary modalities include chemotherapy, stem cell transplant, and targeted therapy.

Chemotherapy:

  • The cornerstone of AML treatment is chemotherapy, a potent regimen designed to eliminate rapidly dividing leukemia cells. 
  • Induction therapy marks the initial phase, employing potent drugs like cytarabine and anthracyclines to induce remission. This phase is crucial for reducing the leukemia cell burden and achieving a state where no detectable leukemia cells remain in the bone marrow. 
  • Following induction, consolidation therapy aims to eradicate any residual leukemia cells further. The specific drugs and treatment plan vary based on factors such as the individual patient’s overall health, age, and the genetic makeup of the leukemia cells.

Stem Cell Transplant:

  • For some AML patients, especially those at high risk of relapsing, a stem cell transplant is usually recommended. It involves replacing the dysfunctioning bone marrow with healthy stem cells. 
  • In an allogeneic transplant, stem cells from a compatible donor, often a sibling or unrelated match, are used. The patient undergoes high-dose chemotherapy or radiation before receiving the donor’s stem cells. 
  • Alternatively, an autologous transplant uses the patient’s own stored stem cells, collected before intensive chemotherapy. These stored cells are then infused back into the patient to aid in regenerating healthy bone marrow.

Targeted Therapy:

  • Advancements in recognizing the genetic mutations associated with AML have led to the use of targeted therapies. 
  • These drugs are designed to specifically target molecules or biological pathways involved in the growth and survival of leukemia cells. 
  • For instance, midostaurin is used for patients with certain genetic mutations, and enasidenib targets specific AML-related mutations. 
  • Targeted therapies offer a more precise approach, potentially reducing damage to normal cells and minimizing side effects.

Immunotherapy:

  • Immunotherapy is a type of treatment for acute myeloid leukemia that aims at using your immune system to fight blood cancer. 
  • Generally, cancer cells aim to produce proteins that could potentially hide them from our immune system. 
  • However, immunotherapy does work by interfering with this process and enables your immune system to fight cancerous cells.

Selecting the most appropriate treatment approach is a complex decision involving collaboration among hematologists, oncologists, and other specialists. Continuous monitoring and adjustments to the plan are made based on the patient’s response and emerging health considerations. The overarching goal is to achieve and sustain remission while preserving the patient’s quality of life.

What is the Cost of Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment in India?

The cost of treating acute myeloid leukemia in India is low compared to other Western nations. Various treatment modalities are used when it comes to managing AML. Therefore, the exact price of the treatment would depend on the individual patient’s patient’s needs. 

The acute myeloid treatment cost in India ranges from INR 5,00,000 to 20,00,000. International patients can expect the cost of treatment to be in the range of USD 6,000 to 24,00,000.

  • Chemotherapy is the most widely used treatment for AML. The cost of chemotherapy can range from INR 50,000 to INR 2,00,000 per cycle, depending on the type and dosage of drugs used. 
  • If you get immunotherapy for treating acute myeloid leukemia, the cost would be INR 1,50,000 – 4,50,000 per session. 
  • Radiation therapy, another type of AML treatment, can cost between INR 1,50,000 and INR 3,00,000 per treatment session. 
  • Bone marrow transplant/stem cell transplant is another treatment option for blood cancers like acute myeloid leukemia. The cost of stem cell transplants in India ranges from INR 20,00,000 to INR 40,00,000, depending on the type of transplant and the hospital chosen.

Dr. Radheshyam Naik is a well-known Medical Oncologist with over 25 years of experience. His expertise lies in the management of hematological disorders and bone marrow transplants. He specializes in stem cell therapy, haemato-oncology, and allogeneic/haploidentical bone marrow transplants. He is also trained in treating prostate, lung, kidney, bone, colorectal, and genitourinary cancers.

To conclude, skilled and experienced cancer doctors in India provide several innovative treatment approaches for managing leukemias. Highly specialized Hemato-oncologists work round the clock to provide state-of-the-art treatment for various blood cancers, including AML. Also, the treatment cost of acute myeloid leukemia in India is low, making it a viable option for many patients.

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