Lymphedema is a disease of swelling that can occur after the removal of, or injury to, the lymphatic system as often occurs after certain cancer surgeries and/or radiation treatment. Some people are also born with deficiencies in their lymphatic system which can lead to a life-long battle to control the swelling. According to Dr. Stanley Rockson at Standford University, over 10 million Americans suffer from lymphedema, which can affect appearance, mobility, self-esteem, finances, depression, and more.
Reducing the Risk of Lymphedema
To this point, we are able to reduce the risk of lymphedema with patient education, exercise, and compression garments. CDT, or Complete Decongestive Therapy, is the gold standard for controlling active lymphedema and involves patient education regarding good skin care (to prevent infection), exercise, compression, and lymphedema massage…but we do not yet have a cure.
Or Do We?
Dr. Stanley Rockson and colleagues at Stanford University have discovered a link between lymphedema and inflammation via a substance called Leukotriene B4 – and are in the process of working on a drug called bestatin (ubenimex) in a clinical trial (ULTRA).
This is the first pharmaceutical-sponsored study of lymphedema, and we are hopeful that this new approach to a previously unanswered problem can provide relief to those 10 million Americans and millions of others world-wide that suffer from this condition.