Amyloidosis Treatments

Amyloidosis is a set of diseases characterized by an overabundance of the protein amyloid in one or more systems, organs, tissues, or nerves of the body. There are several types of amyloidosis, caused by everything from hereditary mutations to liver or other chronic diseases. Although amyloidosis is currently incurable, there are several means of treatment that may relieve symptoms and help slow down the collection of amyloid proteins in the tissues of the body, although the type of treatment is also largely dependent upon the type of amyloidosis present.

AL Amyloidosis Treatments 

Supportive treatment of amyloidosis involves fighting the damage and subsequent symptoms caused by the buildup of amyloidosis. Since AL results from a bone marrow disorder that causes an abnormal protein, chemotherapy can be used to fight this growth. Proteasome inhibitors and immunomodulator drugs may also be effective. If AL is only just beginning in a patient, a peripheral stem cell transplant may be an effective option as well. Before chemotherapy, stem cells are removed from the patient and stored until chemotherapy is finished, at which point it is reinserted through the blood. However, this option is not for everyone. 

AA Amyloidosis Treatments

Since AA amyloidosis is the result of an underlying disease, there is an additional aspect to the treatment of this type: managing the chronic illness. In fact, the Amyloidosis Foundation states that this is the most important aspect of treatment, since the SAA protein is produced because of the underlying illness. However, a drug is currently in creation that will directly affect the AA amyloidosis by getting in the way of the AA production. 

Wild-Type Amyloidosis

Wild-type amyloidosis primarily causes heart problems among older men. The heart issues may be treated with diuretics, which encourage urination to reduce that amount of liquid held in the body. RNA interference therapies may be used to prohibit the problematic gene in some cases. A heart transplant may eventually be required; the Amyloidosis Foundation states that components of soy, tumeric, and green tea have been found to be potentially helpful. 

Other Types of Amyloidosis

Since each case of hereditary amyloidosis may result in a different section of the body being affected, this means the supportive treatment will be wildly different in each case. In ATTR hereditary amyloidosis, the liver is the producer of the abnormal protein; in some cases a liver transplant can be a highly effective source treatment. RNAi may also be an effective source treatment for ATTR.  In the case of non-TTR hereditary amyloidosis, a liver transplant is less common, but may be helpful; kidney transplants may sometimes be necessary. There are a variety of other treatments available depending on the circumstances that a patient’s healthcare team can help decide as a proper course of treatment.

Less common, more recently discovered types of amyloidosis are still compiling appropriate courses of treatment at the present. In many cases, pain medication, blood thinners, and other options are quite common to control symptoms. Compression stockings may be used if edema (swelling of the legs and ankles) is evident. One of the most important aspects of controlling amyloidosis is eating properly and being gentle with the body.