View Full Version : Chemo . . .

01-27-2005, 10:10 AM
I have heard positive things about the use of chemotherapy to treat lupus. Is there any truth to this?

01-29-2005, 01:14 PM
Yes, seems to be a truth to it. I completed 6 treatments last June & had very positive results. I currently have no protein in urine, bp normal, no joint pain. I'm not on Prednisone and have not been since last April. I currently take Plaquenil and CellCept.

Don't ever want to do the chemo again, but it probably save my life and restored me to health.

02-04-2005, 02:27 AM
Hi CK:
I've heard about a new way to use standard chemotherapy drugs for re-booting the immune system for Lupus patients.
Doctors at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, reported their successful treatment approach in an issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism. This is pretty much what the article said:
According to researcher Dr. Michelle Petri, the treatment involves blasting the body with extremely high doses of the chemotherapy drug cyclophosphamide. "The idea here is to essentially wipe out the immune system and allow the body to reprogram itself to function normally," Petri says.
In healthy people, the immune system's killer cells are called into play only when a harmful bacteria or other cell-destroying factor invades the body. In lupus patients, however, the immune system goes awry, viewing healthy cells as targets for destruction. In the past, cyclophosphamide has been used in small doses over a long period of time in hopes of slowly wiping out the renegade immune cells. While the treatment was somewhat successful, the effects were not long-lasting. Other attempts at using high doses of cyclophosphamide have produced less favorable results because those trials involved removing some of the patient's bone marrow before treatment, and then replacing it afterward -- ostensibly to help the body rejuvenate after the drug therapy. It was felt that this simply reintroduced the bad immune cells back into the body.
In the new research, Petri and her colleagues found that because cyclophosphamide does not affect stem cells, which help build new bone marrow, there is no need for bone marrow removal or replacement. This, she says, may be the secret to the treatment's success. The immune cells are destroyed but the stem cells remain and they go to work rebuilding a new and hopefully normal immune system beginning right after treatment.
This idea of blasting cells with chemotherapy drugs is still an old-fashioned way of treating disease, but some feel that it's the best thing we have until we discover a major cure for Lupus. It holds the potential for many different diseases. The idea of re-booting the immune system holds much promise in many different areas of treatment, which is what makes this study particularly important and relevant
The new research involved just 14 lupus patients, all with advanced disease that had not responded to previous treatment. Each patient received four days of high-dose cyclophosphamide treatment, followed by close medical supervision for several weeks.
According to Petri, some of the patients developed fevers and infection following treatment -- ostensibly because their immune system was virtually not functioning -- and they required hospitalization for antibiotic treatment. However, after following the patients for up to 43 months, the researchers found five of the 14 had a complete response, with no signs of lupus activity in their body. Six other patients had a partial response and were able to control their disease with the use of several medications that had previously failed to work. The treatment was considered to have failed in just three of the 14 patients.

While the treatment holds much promise, caution should be taken that the treatment should only be performed by extremely experienced rheumatologists under strict laboratory conditions to ensure patient safety.
Further research on this treatment will be conducted at three medical centers beginning almost immediately: Hanneman Hospital in Philadelphia, the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, and again at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
There may be hope for us yet
:lol: :lol:

03-08-2005, 11:24 AM
Yes, Saysusie, I read that article, too, awhile back. They did not use that intense therapy on me. We went the low dosage route over six months, and so far so good. It is encouraging to know, though, that if, God forbid, things get really bad, there are other therapies to try.


03-20-2005, 05:54 AM
Please pardon my ignorance ladies, but i'm taking methotrexate. Is that not a form of chemotherapy? Is that not radiation, but in pill form? I've always referred to it as 'chemo', so now that I hear you guys speaking about other forms of chemo, now i'm a little confused :oops: . Can someone clarify for me? Thanks a lot. :lol:

03-26-2005, 12:17 PM
Hi tdeyne,
I'm not sure if I can answer your question entirely, but I will try. This is what I perceived after speaking to a physiologist. Methotrexate (MTX) is a form of chemotherapy, one of the older folic acid analogs that block purine synthesis (and henceforth DNA synthesis). However the doses that may be used in lupus or RA are much much lower than that used in traditional chemotherapy courses. It's kind of a gray area as to whether or not it is referred to as "chemotherapy" and I tend to not call it chemotherapy because it connotates a certain severity of sickness that I would like to avoid at all costs. Hope you are feeling well and that the MTX is working for you!

03-26-2005, 01:54 PM

Thanks a lot for the info! That actually makes sense. As for how i'm feeling, I actually am in remission right now which is a wonderful thing. I owe it all to the methotrexate and plaquenil. Thanks again for the info-it was very helpful!! :)

hope all is well. :lol: