There’s always something going on in the world of lymphedema and lymphatic research! It can be a lot to keep up with, so here’s a digest of some of the latest headlines from this past summer carefully curated to keep you in the lymphie loop.
“Consensus Called for When Choosing Optimal Treatment for Breast Cancer–Related Lymphedema”
Is surgical or non-surgical treatment better for breast cancer-related lymphedema? According to research published in JAMA Surgery, inconsistent evaluation and mixed results of health-related quality of life among patients makes it hard to say.
“Lymphatic vessels in mice and humans: Alike yet different”
In an international collaboration, researchers from Uppsala University have mapped the lymph node lymphatic vessels in mice and humans down to the level of individual cells. The results may eventually help scientists to discover new methods for strengthening the immune system against viruses and cancer.
“Growing back the lymph system”
A team of researchers has for the first time documented the regrowth of surgically removed pathways in the lymphatic system, providing hope for cancer-related lymphedema.
“Right now, we don’t have a way to rebuild or reconstruct the lymphatic system. We hardly even understand how it works,” said Dr. John Peroni, a professor and large-animal surgeon in University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine.
“This study was one of the first in fundamentally addressing a basic scientific question that has been left unanswered: If lymphatics are injured, can they remodel or heal?”
“Early detection of Alzheimer’s disease with dynamic MRI measurement of glucose in brain”
A collaborative team from City University of Hong Kong and Johns Hopkins University has developed a new non-invasive molecular imaging approach based on magnetic resonance imaging to dynamically measure glucose level changes in the brain lymphatic system.
“Lymphie Strong Live Q&A with the BIDMC Lymphatic Center”
Dr. Dhruv Singhal and his multidisciplinary team from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Lymphatic Center answer questions about lymphatic surgery & more in this webinar with Veronica Seneriz of Lymphie Strong.
“Impact of Covid-19 on Lymphoedema”
According to a recent poll of European lymphedema patients, 48% of the 471 respondents said their lymphedema has gotten worse during the COVID-19 lockdown period.
“Lymphatic Education & Research Network Announces First Centers of Excellence”
Following decades of research into the workings of the lymphatic system, the efforts of dedicated health practitioners, and a vocal patient population demanding attention, Lymphatic Education & Research Network has established Centers of Excellence in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Lymphatic Diseases to guarantee quality medical care for the lymphedema and lymphatic disease patient communities.
“Researchers identify ‘hot spots’ for developing lymphatic vessels”
Results from a recent study using zebrafish not only provide fundamental new insights into how the lymphatic system develops, but also has relevance for human diseases such as lymphedema.
“Dosing for Complete Decongestive Therapy in the Treatment of Lymphedema”
How many treatments per week should ideally be applied in Phase I, or the intensive phase of Complete Decongestive Therapy? Lymphedema specialist Joachim Zuther discusses the importance of appropriate dosing levels for lymphedema treatments.
“Morrison and Marshall Governments come together to support Australians with lymphoedema”
Australians diagnosed with lymphedema now have greater access to compression garments, thanks to investments from the Morrison Government and South Australian Marshall Government.
“Macquarie University and GenesisCare announce research partnership to investigate management of secondary lymphoedema”
The Australian Lymphoedema Education, Research and Treatment (ALERT) program at Macquarie University and leading radiation oncology provider, GenesisCare, have announced a new joint research partnership to investigate the risks and management of lymphoedema in cancer patients.
“We are incredibly excited to be partnering with GenesisCare to develop evidence-based protocols which will allow us to better identify and manage cancer patients at risk of lymphoedema,” says Louise Koelmeyer, Director of the ALERT program at Macquarie University.
“Alumnus donates $5 million to the Lewis Katz School of Medicine”
Renowned cardiac surgeon Gerald M. Lemole and Emily Jane Lemole have established the Lemole Center for Integrated Lymphatics Research at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University with a transformational donation of $5 million.
“Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN) kicks off National Action Week, 8/17-8/21”
From August 17 through August 21, National Action Week activists led by the Lymphatic Education & Research Network will call on Congress to recognize that lymphedema, lipedema, and other lymphatic diseases have been ignored for too long.
“New Gut Cell Subtypes Identified That Nurture Lymphatics”
A team of scientists at the Center for Vascular Research within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS; South Korea) have identified new subsets of gut connective cells, which are crucial for lymphatic growth.
“The secret of lymph: How lymph nodes help cancer cells spread”
For decades, physicians have known that many kinds of cancer cells often spread first to lymph nodes before traveling to distant organs through the bloodstream. New research from Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern provides insight into why this occurs, opening up new targets for treatments that could inhibit the spread of cancer.
“Cancer cells stock up in lymph vessels to survive”
A cellular condition called oxidative stress can kill cancer cells. The finding that skin cancer cells evade such destruction using lipids acquired while passing through lymphatic vessels reveals a mechanism that boosts cancer spread.
Looking for some light reading? Settle in with one of these research articles about the lymphatic system.
- Lymphedema: a PRS Global Open Mini-series from MD Anderson Cancer Center
- Increased levels of VEGF-C and macrophage infiltration in lipedema patients without changes in lymphatic vascular morphology
- In Vivo Photoacoustic Sentinel Lymph Node Imaging Using Clinically-Approved Carbon Nanoparticles
- Development of Ectopic Livers by Hepatocyte Transplantation into Swine Lymph Nodes
- T-cells produce acidic niches in lymph nodes to suppress their own effector functions
- Modeling the metabolic interplay between a parasitic worm and its bacterial endosymbiont allows the identification of novel drug targets
Lymphatic filariasis news
Lymphatic filariasis (commonly known as elephantiasis) is a neglected tropical disease caused by parasitic infection to the lymphatic system. It is the leading cause of lymphedema worldwide: of the over 120 million people infected, 40 million are incapacitated or disfigured by the disease.
“Vector borne diseases to strain health systems more as India braces for monsoon”
In India, the lockdown due to COVID-19 is making it difficult for people with lymphedema to access the services they need.
“7 Family Members Battling Rare ‘Class 7’ Disease”
A family in Kenya are struggling as seven of its members suffer from elephantiasis: “[The children] feel bad, they have to take medication every evening but still cry every night due to pain,” their mother said.
UPDATE: “I passed by Governor James E.O. Ongwae’s office and asked him if the hospital can help the family and he said he would see to it that they get medicine from The Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital,” said Janet Ong’era, Kisii Woman Representative.
“Drive to eliminate filaria hits wall of Covid fear in 13 districts”
A mass drug administration program to eliminate lymphatic filariasis has slowed in the wake of the coronavirus: “Earlier, people used to turn up in large numbers, but the attendance has taken a hit in the districts that have higher numbers Covid cases,” said a health department official.
“Biomedical scientists piece together how medication paralyzes parasitic worms”
For years, many scientists and medical professionals likely misunderstood how a commonly prescribed medication for elephantiasis battled the disease, but a new study sets the record straight.
“If you know how this therapy works, you can start to select and develop better drugs that are maybe even more potent,” says Richard Martin, a Distinguished Professor of biomedical sciences at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
- A Lymphoedema Diagnosis? With Care, Gardening Can Continue: In this video, Gaynor Leech shows that, with sensible precautions, you can still enjoy gardening with lymphedema. “I also wanted to show that even if you don’t have outdoor space, you can bring nature into your home.” (PhysioPod UK)
- Girl battles Primary Lymphedema amid COVID-19: For the Trujillo family, the safety for 10-year-old Aryanna is their first priority, but it’s also creating new memories like dancing with her father in the garage, or camping in the backyard in the new tent that her dad built for her. (KYMA)
- The Basics of Compression Garments: Jeanine Doty, RN, shares her thoughts and insights on various compression garment topics as they relate to lymphedema. (Active Life Orthotics and Prosthetics)
- Cruel bullies branded beauty queen ‘elephant girl’ after rare condition made her leg triple in size: “My life changed on the operating table and I am a much happier person now,” says Amy Rivera of Ninjas Fighting Lymphedema Foundation. “But the most important thing for me is providing hope to other people and to raise awareness.” (Metro)
- 1 in 10 women have this condition – two lipedema patients share their stories: “The more that we can tell people about the condition, I think that is 50 percent of the journey right now — creating awareness,” says lipedema patient Ellen Klingler. “The more people we bring to the table, the more likely we are to attract keener, sharper minds that are thinking about a cure and getting patients struggling with lipedema at least some temporary relief, if not permanent relief.” (WRAL TV)
- What is lipedema? All about the fat that’s not your fault: “I tell my patients that lipedema is like a stingy bank,” says Dr. Lindy McHutchison. “It initially takes their deposit of fat, but doesn’t let them take it out when they diet and exercise. Lipedema awareness is key; it helps the patient stop blaming themselves.” (WRAL TV)
- Lymphedema Warrior Embraces Her Bikini Body: “Lymphedema definitely affected my body image for long than I would like to admit,” says Carmen Rene. “It wasn’t until my mid-20s that I learned to really embrace my body and understand that my lipedema did not define me.”
- Lymphedema shouldn’t stop life: Mpho Mokola developed lower limb lymphedema in 2009 as a teenager. “I went to several traditional healers who told me that I was bewitched with unequal legs,” said Mokola. “I also had several relationships which ended because people I got involved with couldn’t accept my condition.” (Rosebank Killarney Gazette)
- Pandemic giving nurses ‘freedom to care differently’ for leg and foot ulcers: Dr. Leanne Atkin, chair of the UK’s Legs Matter campaign, said the changes during COVID-19 had allowed staff to care for double the number of patients with leg and foot ulcers, lymphedema, and other problems. (Nursing Times)
- South Australians with lymphoedema receive funding for medical garments: “It’s just, it’s an unbelievable life changing subsidy scheme for South Australian lymphedema community,” says Monique Bareham, president of the Lymphoedema Support Group of South Australia. “It really is bringing tears to my eyes when I’m thinking about the people I’ve spoken to and what it means to them.” (ABC News)
- CURE Community Vlogs: Staying Active At Home Through Virtual Yoga: Registered yoga teacher Tamera Anderson-Hanna discusses the benefits of continuing to perform yoga at home for both patients with cancer experiencing lymphedema, as well as caregivers looking to address their own mental well-being. (Cure Today)
- Tens Of Thousands Of Missourians Lose Health Insurance After Coronavirus Job Losses: “Folks who have chronic diseases or lymphedema … haven’t been able to keep their chronic medical problems under control, and they come into the emergency department in a flat-out crisis,” says Dr. Howie Mell, an emergency physician at HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon, Illinois. “When somebody comes in and they’ve been obviously ill for quite a while … You find out, tragically, it’s fear of the bills.” (St. Louis Public Radio)
- Weight Loss, Diets and Fitness: I am Spilling all the Tea: In an emotional video, plus-size fashion blogger and YouTuber Anna O’Brien (aka Glitter + Lazers) opens up about her recent lipedema diagnosis and how she had to change her diet, routine, and outlook on health to better manage her condition.
- Pirie lymphoedema sufferers to benefit from subsidy: “[The compression garment subsidy] is exciting for people with lymphoedema because the garments can get quite expensive, particularly if they need to be custom-made,” said breast care and lymphoedema nurse Ros Mayfield. (Port Pirie Recorder)
- Devon mum’s struggle with rare ‘fat lumps’ invisible condition: Lipedema patient Sharon Stone’s aim is to keep working and “not be a burden,” but feels if this condition worsens without intervention she won’t be able to do so. (Plymouth Herald)
- Bahumi Mhlongo chooses to embrace her flaws and find beauty in them: South African actress Bahumi Mhlongo opens up about what it means to live with lymphedema, and hopes to encourage others to be nothing less than who they are. (Briefly)
- Limited access to lymphoedema treatment prompts Te Awamutu nurse to start a clinic: After struggling to access therapy herself, Valerie El-Gamel opened a clinic focused around helping people with lymphedema: “There’s lots of information that I as a patient didn’t get, and there’s lots of ways to manage it that I didn’t know of either and I just think people deserve to know.” (Te Awamutu Courier)
🎉 Congratulations and Kudos
Congratulations to lymphatic researcher Catharine Bowman for receiving University of Calgary’s prestigious President’s Award! Driven by a promise to her mother to help find a cure for lymphedema, Bowman came to UCalgary as a high school student and began working with lymphedema expert Dr. Pierre-Yves von der Weid, PhD, at the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases. (University of Calgary)
Congratulations to Meghana Cheela, a junior at Jonathan Law High School! Meghana was honored at the 5th annual Invention Convention U.S. Nationals for her invention, Lymph-flow: “The purpose of my invention is to provide a tool that provides more immediate relief and treatment for patients who are affected by lymphedema,” she explains. (The Milford Mirror)
Kudos to Zappos Shoes, who are now offering the opportunity for customers to buy mixed size pairs. Great news for lower extremity lymphies! (CNN)