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Method to reroute lymphatic system may help lymphedema treatment

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The BioBridge, a nanofiber scaffold composed of collagen, may be a treatment for the painful condition.
By Stephen Feller   |   June 23, 2016 at 12:55 PM

STANFORD, Calif., June 23 (UPI) — Researchers in California may have found a solution to lymphedema, a blockage of passages in the lymph system that can lead to painful swelling of the limbs in patients.

A scaffolding composed of collagen nanofibers successfully helped new lymph vessels grow around blockages in pigs with lymphedema, giving researchers at Stanford University hope they have found an effective treatment for the condition.

The lymphatic system drains toxins and waste, using immune cell-containing lymph fluid as part of the filtration system. When a vessel in the system is blocked, the fluid backs up, causing painful swelling.

In addition to some infections and genetic conditions, lymphedema is often seen in cancer patients whose lymph nodes have been affected. Doctors can treat an infection causing it, but for the most part temporary relief with physical therapy and massage is the best patients can get.

„Lymphedema is a chronic, debilitating disease with profound functional and psychosocial implications,“ Dr. Stanley Rockson, a professor in lymphatic research and medicine at Stanford University, said in a press release. „Current treatments are extremely limited. While transplantation of healthy lymph nodes represents a theoretically viable treatment option for cancer survivors and others, the success rate of these procedures has been disappointing.“

For the study, published in the journal Biomaterials, researchers at Stanford worked with scientists at the company Fibralign, which has developed a collagen-based matrix meant to be used for soft tissue repair.

The researchers used stretches of the company’s BioBridge nanofibers coated with fragments of lymph nodes, which are known to stimulate new lymph vessel growth. The fibers were then implanted in pigs with lymphedema.

As hoped, the implants stimulated the growth along stretches of fibers around lymph blockages to bypass them, like a bridge, reducing fluid buildup in limbs over the course of three months.

Although the researchers say the sample size for the study was not as big as they would have liked, there were no adverse health events among the animals six months after implantation. This, they say, raises hope for success in a clinical trial in Latin America and another study with breast cancer patients planned for Stanford.

„We were able to take a cue from nature about what molecules spur vessel growth, but also think outside the box and use this nanoscale scaffolding to bridge the blockages,“ said Dr. Ngan Huang, an assistant professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Stanford. „I think combining the two was really key.“

http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2016/06/23/Method-to-reroute-lymphatic-system-may-help-lymphedema-treatment/8841466684985/

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Autor: monica boersch

Vor ein paar Jahre bin ich an Krebs erkrankt, bedingt durch meine Wertheim OP, Bestrahlung und Afterloading habe ich Lymphödeme bekommen, für mich sehr überraschend da ein paar Jahre dazwischen lagen, ich wusste das etwas nicht stimmt aber leider konnten unzählige Ärzte nicht helfen. Hier ist es auch so, wie in viele viele andere Länder auch, dass Lymphatische Erkrankungen erstens nicht wirklich ernst genommen werden und zweitens das kaum ein Arzt darüber Bescheid weiß, wie den auch, wenn in den Lehrbüchern so gut wie NICHTS steht. Mein Bestreben ist alles zu tun was in meiner Macht steht um dafür zu sorgen das jeder der betroffen ist weiß was er/ sie tun kann um sein Leben wieder so gestalten zu können wie er/sie das möchte. . Ich suche und suche immer weiter nach alternativ Möglichkeiten um meinen Leben so normal wie möglich zu gestalten. Die Empfehlungen die ich gebe sind bei mir durchaus wirksam und ich erziele gute Erfolge und behalte meine Lebensqualität. Mein Blog ist kein Ersatz für eine Ärztliche Betreuung und ich empfehle jeden mit seinem Arzt über Therapie Möglichkeiten etc. zu sprechen. Ich kann nur anregen und durch meine eigene, persönliche Erfahrung eventuell einen weg aufzeigen. Seit 2009 beschäftige ich mich weit über das übliche hinaus mit Lymphödeme. Nicht nur die „Diagnose“ interessiert mich, sondern ebenso was für einen Effekt es hat auf unser Sozialleben und unser Selbstwertgefühl. Ich habe viel Zeit und Geld investiert in andere Länder zu reisen um alternativen kennenzulernen, ich war bei Internationale Firmen als Gast um zu sehen welche Lösungen geboten werden, habe fast jeden Lymphologischen Kongress besucht um mich weiter zu bilden und einige Projekte als Freelancer machen können. Wie ihr sieht ist das weitaus mehr als nur ein Blog, es müssen sich grundliegende Dinge verändern um uns alle das zu geben was wir verdienen, Respekt, Empathie und das Bewusstsein das wir nichts Vorübergehendes haben, sondern das dieses ein Teil unseres Lebens ist und auch bleibt. After being diagnosed with Cancer and going through treatments, Wertheim operation, radiation therapy and afterloading I was suddenly hit by Lymphedema. Totally surprising since nobody even gave me a hint that this could happen. Running from one doctor to the other trying to find out what is wrong with me and why my body was changing so quickly, once again being in the situation of not having control of anything. This made me so angry that I started studying like crazy, I wanted to find out why we are left alone, why doctors don’t have a clue (sorry, most doctors) about Lymphedema and the consequences in all aspects of our lives. Sadly, I had to realize that hardly anyone knows anything about it. I started my quest to find alternatives in treatments, I traveled around the world investing my time and money, fortunate enough to spend time in companies specialized in Lymphedema treatment to learn all that I could and can. I hardly miss any Lymphatic congress, listening to the internationally known doctors, discussing what is important for us as patients. I have done some freelance work for the companies that I believe in and had the chance to work with a wonderful company in New Jersey. I have tested alternatives and I am still searching and studying because it is my quest to change things for all affected by this, not only our physical wellbeing but most importantly the impact that it has on our daily life. It’s not something that’s going to go away, it’s with us until the end and the minimum that we can expect is being taken seriously, respect and empathy for our situation and the importance for all of us that have the possibilities to change things for the better. There is so much work to do, and I am not going to give up. As you can see this is more than a blog. If you find something interesting on Lymphfantastic but you are having problems with the German, then just send me a message and I will be happy to translate that for you, my native language is English so that is no problem. Have a great day and looking forward to hearing from you soon. Bless you all, Monica

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