Amyloidosis: Our Approach and Expertise
The Columbia Amyloidosis Multidisciplinary Program (CAMP), led by Dr. Suzanne Lentzsch, is known as a national and international referral center for the treatment of patients with amyloidosis. CAMP is a unique program, bringing together doctors from a wide range of specialties to provide a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to this rare, multi-organ disease.
By using this approach, CAMP fills a significant void in the diagnosis and treatment of systemic amyloidosis, helping us gain a better understanding of its causes and improving care for our patients. Each year the Columbia Amyloidosis Multidisciplinary Program cares for more than one hundred patients with this rare and challenging disease.
Physician of Columbia University have long been leaders in amyloidosis research. In 1974, Takashi Isobe, MD, and Elliott Osserman, MD, from the Department of Medicine and the Institute of Cancer Research at Columbia, conducted a landmark study published in The New England Journal of Medicine on amyloid-related immunoglobulins (proteins in the blood that help form antibodies) and Bence-Jones proteins that infiltrate normal tissue and cause amyloid formation. This research set the stage for the current multidisciplinary approach to amyloidosis at Columbia University.
Here at CAMP, we have brought together amyloidosis specialists in hematology-oncology (Dr. S. Lentzsch), cardiology (Dr. M. Farr), nephrology (Dr. J. Radhakrishnan), neurology (Dr. T. Brannagan), bone marrow transplantation (Dr. M. Mapara), heart pathology (Dr C. Marboe) and kidney pathology (Dr G. Markowitz) to participate in patient evaluation and care with the goal to induce remissions of the disease, manage symptoms, limit the production of further amyloid proteins, and support the affected organs. We discuss each patient in depth in regularly scheduled meetings, considering how to manage symptoms and customize treatment plans for every patient. We identify a tailored approach based on how many organs are affected, the physiologic age of the patient, and his or her activity level. This approach ensures high-level, quality care.
Until recently, therapies in amyloidosis have focused on the destruction of plasma cells in order to stop the production of the light chain proteins that form the amyloid. This prevents new amyloid from accumulating but, unfortunately, does not affect existing amyloid, which means that organ function remains impaired. Our center focuses on a new and exciting treatment approach using monoclonal antibodies to target the amyloid fibrils directly, destroying the existing amyloid.
CUMC is the only center worldwide that offers treatment with the monoclonal antibody 11-1F4 that was developed by Dr Alan Solomon at the University of Tennessee. We hope that with the use of this exciting and innovative approach we will be able to destroy the existing amyloid and improve the organ function in our patients.
Our Columbia Amyloidosis Multidisciplinary Program (CAMP) is known for providing:
A comprehensive and multidisciplinary team approach to amyloidosis involving hematologists, nephrologist, neurologists, cardiologists, pathologists, clinical and basic research experts.
Personalized therapy based on the type of amyloidosis, patient’s organ involvement and the age of each patient.
Patient support services including:
- Nurse Navigators to guide patients through every step of diagnosis and treatment
- Dedicated research nurses caring for patients in clinical trials
- Medical advice on lifestyle, exercise, diet and nutrition
- Psychological counseling and support groups
- Consultation on pain management
- Patient web portals offering easy access to test results, appointments, follow-up care
Mass Spectrometry and Genetic Testing. We use mass spectrometry to pinpoint the type of amyloidosis. This is critical in order to determine the correct treatment. Further genetic testing will rule out or confirm a hereditary (familial) type of amyloidosis.
Opportunities to participate in clinical trials, many of them initiated by our own physicians and which offer access to the latest drug developments and the most advanced and innovative treatments. Furthermore Dr Suzanne Lentzsch initiated and leads a multicenter trial within the Amyloidosis Network including five centers in the U.S testing the role of Bendamustin in AL Amyloidosis.