Other Names

Campath 1-H® (There may be other names for this medication)

How is it Administered?

Your medicine will be given slowly by injection into a vein (IV or intravenous).

What is it Used For?

This drug is used to treat B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

How Does it Work?

Alemtuzumab is not a traditional chemotherapy medication; it is in a class of medications called monoclonal antibodies, a type of targeted therapy.

Traditional chemotherapy drugs identify cancer cells by their rapid rate of reproduction, and then attack those cells. Unfortunately, there are also cells in our bodies that normally reproduce rapidly and these cells are also affected by traditional chemotherapy drugs, resulting in side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and hair loss.

Alemtuzumab is designed to work differently. It targets CD52, an antigen found on B cells and T cells (types of white blood cells that help fight infections and other “foreign invaders”).

Once the alemtuzumab attaches to the CD 52, your body’s immune system attacks and destroys those cells. Unfortunately, in the process of killing the cancerous cells, some healthy B & T cells are also destroyed and your immune system is weakened, potentially seriously. Special precautions will need to be taken to prevent infection during this period of time.

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