According to an announcement from the International Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia Foundation (IWMF), the organization has recently added a new fact sheet to their website. This fact sheet is focused on the use of human intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) as a treatment for Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia (WM), which is a rare form of blood cancer. This new resource is just the latest of several fact sheets that the organization has provided on their website free of charge for patients who are interested in learning more about their options.
About Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia (WM)
Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia, which is also known as lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma, is a rare type of blood cancer that affects two types of B lymphocytes, including plasma cells and lymphoplasmacytoid cells. A distinct characteristic of this type of cancer is the presence of a high concentration of IgM antibodies. It is a slow progressing form of blood cancer, and many patients can lead active lives. While it cannot be cured, it is treatable; some patients are able to experience years of remission without symptoms. There are only about 1,500 new cases per year in the U.S. Although it mostly occurs due to sporadic genetic mutations, a family history increases risk. Symptoms include vision loss, headaches, enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen, bleeding nose and gums, weight loss, fatigue, and general weakness. To learn more about WM, click here.
IVIG and WM
IVIG is used as a treatment for a variety of different medical conditions and is often used in patients dealing with infections. The IWMF says the IVIG can be a good option for WM patients with certain characteristics, such as those with low levels of IgG. Patients that are dealing with frequent or recurrent infections affecting the bronchial or sinus areas may also see benefit from the use of IVIG. It is also a good option for patients dealing with more severe infections, particularly in cases where other options, such as intravenous antibiotics or vaccines, are not sufficient.
Lately, there has been a shortage of IVIG in the US. The product is usually derived from donations of blood plasma, so if you feel up to it and want to make a quick buck, donations are definitely needed.
Check out the IWMF’s fact sheet here.