Amyloidosis: Hope for Patients

A New Multidisciplinary Approach for Detecting and Treating Amyloidosis

What do heart failure, bruising around the eyes and carpal tunnel syndrome have in common? They are a few of the many signs and symptoms seen in patients with amyloidosis, a rare but often fatal disease for which the CHUM now offers a new treatment approach.

Professionals, researchers and doctors from a dozen medical specialties have joined forces to improve patient care. “Amyloidosis is a little-known disease that’s difficult to diagnose because of the many different forms it can take. While treatment options have been very limited until recently, the arrival of innovative drugs and treatment protocols offers new hope,” indicated Dr. François Tournoux, cardiologist and project co-initiator with hematologist-oncologist Dr. Émilie Lemieux-Blanchard. “By combining our areas of expertise, we can not only act more quickly and efficiently with our patients — and give them access to advanced treatments — but also help develop and disseminate knowledge, in collaboration with our partners in the network.”

Already More Than 100 Patients

Already more than a hundred patients have been identified to take part in this new multidisciplinary approach at the CHUM. “The data collected will allow us to better understand the disease and better assess its prevalence in the population,” stated nurse practitioner Stéphanie Béchard. Several research projects are under way or will begin shortly to test new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. A symposium is also slated to take place in the coming months to raise awareness about amyloidosis among health professionals and the public at large.

What Is Amyloidosis?

Amyloidosis is a disease in which a protein builds up in different organs of the body in the form of aggregates (amyloid substance). The larger these deposits become, the more difficult it is for the organ to function. Symptoms are directly related to the organs affected. When the disease attacks the heart, amyloidosis leads to heart failure. It can also affect the kidneys, the digestive tract, the liver, nerves, eyes, skin, etc. To date, there is no way to prevent amyloidosis. The prognostic is generally related to the patient’s cardiac damage.

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