Communication in the medical field doesn’t happen as much as it should. But, when it does, great discoveries often occur.
The thing is, science is complicated. Researchers have so much data to look at in their specific area of study that they don’t have time to read the latest in other areas. It’s not that they don’t want to. They’re just focused on finding answers to the disease they already specialize in.
Besides that, it doesn’t make much sense for a scientist researching a rare cancer to EXPECT to find a connection between their work and, say, a medicine for a common allergy (or the other way around).
But funny enough, a connection like that was just found.
The drug that is commonly used to treat Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia, in addition to mantle cell lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia, now may be able to treat some common allergies to airborne pollutants.
More exciting than this, it may be able to treat more severe, life-threatening allergic reactions like peanut allergies.
The drug is called ibrutinib and it works because of its simple ability to block proteins.
Although it’s not the news Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia patients in particular are looking for, the discovery is exciting. While it doesn’t directly benefit them, it may help lower the cost of the drug. Additionally, it opens another potential gateway for future treatment options, not only for Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia, but for other rare diseases. The thing is, every time a discovery like this is made, it encourages other scientists to be more open-minded and communicative about their research.
The more vocal we are about our successes and failures, the more information we can provide the entire medical community. The more information is shared, the more time is saved, and the faster the chance of finding a cure for the rarest forms of illness.
So while this discovery won’t have a direct affect on Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia patients, it will hopefully impact the future of all rare disease research.