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Lymfactin® aims to become the first drug for treating secondary lymphedema

Lymfactin® aims to become the first drug for treating secondary lymphedema

Lymfactin® is currently in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi center, Phase 2 clinical study in Finland and Sweden in patients suffering from breast cancer associated secondary lymphedema.

About Lymfactin®

Lymfactin® is based on the scientific discovery of VEGF-C, the natural human protein necessary for the growth of new lymphatic vessels. Lymfactin® is a gene therapy, which delivers the human gene coding for VEGF-C and thereby promotes the formation of new lymphatic vessels. Lymfactin® is administered locally at the site with injuries in the lymphatic system with the aim of repairing those injuries. In disease models, this local VEGF-C expression, which lasts for about two weeks, has resulted in the formation of new lymphatic vessels. This may eventually normalize the lymphatic flow and thereby stop the accumulation of the lymph in the patient’s tissue. If Lymfactin® works in human patients as well as it has worked in disease models, it can lead to a significant breakthrough in the treatment of secondary lymphedema. VEGF-C was discovered by Professor Kari Alitalo and his research group at the University of Helsinki.

Lymfactin® mode-of-action

Lymfactin® Clinical Development Status

Lymfactin® is presently being developed for the treatment of breast cancer associated secondary lymphedema (BCAL) in patients who undergo lymph node transplantation surgery. A Phase 1 clinical study is currently in a long-term follow-up and a Phase 2 clinical study is currently ongoing. The patient recruitment has been completed.

The ongoing Phase 2 clinical study is a multi-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. The study is planned to enroll about 40 patients in Finland and Sweden at five university hospitals in Uppsala, Stockholm, Helsinki, Tampere, and Turku. The Phase 2 study will assess the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of Lymfactin®. Half of the patients will receive one dose of Lymfactin® and half will receive placebo in combination with the lymph node transplantation surgery. The efficacy endpoints include the volume measurement of the affected vs. non-affected limb prior and after the treatment, lymphoscintigraphy prior vs. after the treatment for assessing the functionality of the lymphatic system, and the assessment of quality-of-life. More information about the ongoing clinical study is found at

The Phase 1 clinical study recruited 15 patients from which the first three patients received a lower and the last 12 patients a higher dose of Lymfactin®. Both doses were safe and well tolerated based on the one-year follow-up. The higher dose was selected for the Phase 2 clinical study. The Phase 1 study continues with a long-term follow-up on all patients. In the Phase 1 study, there was no control group and, thus, no conclusions of the efficacy of the Lymfactin® treatment can be made based on the Phase 1 data.

About Secondary Lymphedema

Secondary lymphedema is caused by local injuries of the lymphatic system, which can manifest as a result of cancer treatments such as surgery and radiotherapy. The injuries of the lymphatic system may disrupt the normal flow of lymph, which will then start to accumulate in tissue, for instance in a limb. This results in chronic, progressive swelling.

Secondary lymphedema is a painful, deforming disease that often has a significant impact on the quality of life of the patients. Symptoms of secondary lymphedema include progressive swelling of the affected limb, pain, decreased mobility, and increased forming of connective tissue. Many patients also suffer from repeated infections of the affected tissue. Patients are often ashamed of their deformed appearance and may fail to seek appropriate treatment.

According to the global patient organization, LE&RN, misdiagnosis is common. Patients or even their treating oncologists or physicians may not know they are suffering from a disease.

A curative treatment for lymphedema is not known. Depending on the case, the symptoms of LE can be alleviated by physiotherapy or massage. Many patients who have lymphedema of the arm wear a compression garment. These kinds of treatments do not repair injuries of the lymphatic system, which cause the disease. Surgical procedures such as lymph node transplantation, lymphaticovenous anastomosis, and lymphaticolymphatic bypass are also used.

Based on published cancer incident data we estimate that about 30,000 breast cancer associated secondary lymphedema cases are diagnosed annually in the USA and Europe. Secondary lymphedema is also associated with other cancers including melanoma, gynaecologic cancers, and genitourinary cancers resulting in estimated 150,000 secondary lymphedema cases in the USA and Europe. In the USA it has been estimated that the treatment of breast cancer associated secondary lymphedema costs over 10,000 USD a year per patient.

Selected publications

Tervala TV, Hartiala P, Tammela T, Visuri MT, Ylä-Herttuala S, Alitalo K, Saarikko AM. Growth factor therapy and lymph node graft for lymphedema. J. Surg. Res. 196(1): 200-7, 2015.

Lähteenvuo M, Honkonen K, Tervala T, Tammela T, Suominen E, Lähteenvuo J, Kholová I, Alitalo K, Ylä-Herttuala S, Saaristo A. Growth factor therapy and autologous lymph node transfer in lymphedema. Circulation 123: 613-20, 2011.


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Lymphedema After Mastectomy Breathing Exercises & Restorative Yoga

It is not unusual for a woman to develop lymphedema after a mastectomy. Lymphedema is a sometimes-painful swelling in the soft tissues.  This can be due to the removal of lymph nodes, scar tissue, strictures, and other factors.

Manual lymph drainage massage is the usual recommended technique to treat this swelling.  It may be surprising to know that another therapy that benefits lymphedema is yoga, especially restorative yoga. When the lymphatic system is at its optimum, it is like a free flowing river, running without obstacles.  However, when the lymph nodes are removed or damaged, that same river meets obstacles and begins to slow down and this creates a pooling of fluids.  This build up in the tissues can cause swelling and inflammation and reduce oxygen in the lymphatic tissues. The white blood cells, or immune soldiers of the body, can be impaired in their function in this situation.  This may increase the risk of infection and create a possible permanent disability.  Edema is often found in the arms and legs, but can be found in other parts of the body.

Knowing how important it is to keep this fluid running like a free flowing river, we need to foster relaxation and gentle movements that encourage its increased flow.  This is especially important after breast surgery or removal of nodes, when it is paramount to undertake new activities to increase impaired lymphatic function.

The need to develop a deeper state of relaxation to counter the mental and physical stress of illness and its treatment is critically important to our health and well-being.

Practicing yoga, especially Restorative Yoga which targets the pectoral area, keeps the fluid moving through the body rather than slowing down and creating a back up.  This benefits the breasts by promoting drainage and healing and creating a sense of safety when expanding the chest.

Practicing Restorative Yoga daily will undo the harmful effects of too much sitting or inactivity.  Starting yoga practice with a knowledgeable Restorative Yoga teacher is as important as wearing a bandage or support garment.

An important thing to understand in your practice of Restorative Yoga is that you must to slow down enough to listen to what your body is telling you.  Any time you overwork your muscles or strain your healing tissues,  you run the risk of fluid build up.

Let this be the yoga practice of self-understanding.

More Great Articles

  1. How Breathing Exercises Can Raise Energy Levels For Breast Cancer Patients
  2. Breathing, Yoga and Cancer
  3. Breast Cancer Breathing Guidelines & Techniques During Exercise
  4. Diaphragmatic Breathing for Cancer Survivors
  5. Learn Natural Breath Breathing Exercise For Breast Cancer Treatment
  6. Yoga Pose for Breast Cancer – Root Lock KRIYA Breathing
  7. 4 Benefits of Breathing Exercises For Breast Cancer Treatment
  8. Why Start A Breathing Practice For Breast Cancer Recovery? Good Health!

Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at if you have questions.

Lymphedema After Mastectomy Breathing Exercises & Restorative Yoga



Einen schönen guten Tag ihr. In den letzten Wochen bekomme ich immer mehr Mails von Betroffene die sich für das taping interessieren, das hat mich inspiriert nochmal etwas zu veröffentlichen. Ich hoffe das dieser Beitrag etwas mehr Information gibt, ansonsten könnt ihr mir gerne schreiben. Ich wünsche euch alle alles erdenklich gute und überhaupt, alles liebe.

Lymphtaping/ Medicaltaping- gute Infos für Physiotherapeuten, damit natürlich gute Infos und Hilfe für uns Patienten.


Ich hatte schon beschrieben das ich mit Lymphtaping sehr gute Erfahrungen und erfolge sammeln konnte. Allerdings ist es wirklich schwer ein Therapeut zu finden die sich intensiv damit beschäftigt hat, es wäre schön und fortschrittlich wenn diese Methode intensiv gelehrt würde und als selbstverständlich bei der Ausbildung gelten würde.

Sehr „spannend“ finde ich dass in Deutschland eine Studie wegen tapings ausgerechnet von  einem Kompressionsstrumpf  Hersteller gemacht worden ist. Wenn wir doch ganz offen und im Sinne der Patienten mal völlig unvoreingenommen diese Tatsache mal betrachten erweckt es den Eindruck das Man „ sorge“ haben könnte das Erfolge erzielt werden mit taping. Ich kann nur nochmal betonen, alles muss im Fluss stehen und ganzheitliche betrachtet werden, es gibt kein nur das ist gut oder nur jenes bringt Erfolg. Jeder Mensch ist anders, es wäre wünschenswert wenn jeder Mediziner auch jeden Patient als Individuum sieht. Ziel ist es doch zu helfen und zu lindern, und doch nicht die Interessen eines Herstellers zu unterstützen. Bedingt durch meine Besuche bei zahlreiche Lymph Kongresse weiß ich auch das es da draußen einige „ rebellische „ Ärzte gibt, die hinterfragen, die nicht mit den Strom schwimmen, dessen Patienten/in das wichtigste ist und vor allem das sie nachhause gehen und wissen dass sie ihr Bestes gegeben haben. Dafür danke ich im Namen von uns Patienten die nicht in eine Schublade passen.

Es musste doch eine spannende Herausforderung sein die unterschiedlichsten Methoden für ein Patient so zusammenzustellen das Erfolg einsetzt, das eine Motivation erreicht werden kann und es ist nun mal fakt das unsere Psyche zu unglaublichen in der Lage ist, positive sowie negative. Ich sehe die Zukunft in der Behandlung so dass jeder ein Maß geschneiderte Therapie erhält mit alles was die Welt so zu bieten hat. Das alle Institutionen zusammen arbeiten weltweit, das es ein „ United“ Lymphvereinigung gibt, das Forschungsgelder so zusammenkommen und dort eingesetzt werden wo dringend geforscht werden muss. Das wäre wirklich schön.

Hier auch etwas Wissenschaftliches für die, die es interessiert.