Tag Archives: Leukemia

Banking on Stem Cells


Advertisements in the media advise parents to “plan and protect your children’s future and their health status”. These are not commercials for insurance plans, but private stem cell banking facilities, where, for a steep price, your baby’s umbilical cord stem cells can be preserved for future use.
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Stem cells are in the news. Independent national and international laboratories are making claims and counterclaims about the “miracles” they have achieved with them. Paralysed people have been able to walk, rare degenerative nervous and muscular system diseases been reversed, and some cancers of the blood cells cured. People with terminal illnesses have also been offered hope…..click & see

Actress Lisa Ray underwent stem cell therapy for multiple myeloma, a cancer of the white blood cells...click & see

Stem cells may be embryonic, adult or derived from umbilical cords. Embryonic stem cells are obtained from the extra fertilised eggs at in vitro fertilisation (IVF) centres. The use of these cells is controversial, as, theoretically, they have the potential to become human beings. They are the “spare babies” belonging to a particular IVF couple. When supplied to a stem cell research facility, they are grown in a nutrient broth in a culture dish and used for research or treatment.

Adult stem cells are found in bone marrow. These are harvested from the bone marrow of living donors. It’s a surgical procedure done under anaesthesia with some post-operative discomfort. The cells are capable of eventually forming either various types of blood cells or stromal cells from which cartilage and fat tissues arise.

Haematologists treat a variety of hereditary blood disorders and some of the blood cancers with either autologous (the person’s own) stem cells or compatible donor cells from bone marrow transplants. This technology has been used for the last 30 years. Bone marrow transplants are life saving for people with certain blood cancers. They can also be used for serious blood disorders such as aplastic anaemia. They can also help boost the immune system if it is impaired because of an inherited genetic defect or destroyed by cancer.

Umbilical cords are a rich and non-controversial source of stem cells. Cord blood has a greater ability to generate new blood cells than does bone marrow. Also, smaller quantities of cord blood cells are needed for successful transplantation. These cords are normally discarded along with the placenta from labour wards all over the world.

At present, in India, patients who require stem cell treatment or a bone marrow transplant have to search for a relative who is an appropriate tissue match. Sometimes even close first-degree relatives like a parent or sibling are not compatible. India does not as yet have a centralised national bone marrow registry to match recipients and donors.

Some foresighted countries with efficient national health schemes like the United Kingdom and Brazil do have public cord blood banks. Blood is screened for infective agents, documented in a registry and stored. The chances of finding compatible stem cells are high because of the large volumes stored.

India has private cord blood banks which store blood only for the use of that particular child for a period of 21 years. It may be a cost effective option for parents who have a family history of certain genetic diseases, such as severe hereditary anaemias, immune disorders or certain cancers. Even then, the chance that the blood can be used for that particular child is only 1 in 2,000. In families with no such risk factors, there is only about a 1-in-20,000 chance of the child ever needing a stem cell transplantation. Also, even if the child does require a stem cell transplant, it is unlikely that his or her own cord blood would be the desired source of stem cells. The same chromosomal or genetic defect causing the leukaemia, any other cancer or metabolic disorder, is likely to be present in the child’s stem cell line. There is no proof that a transplant using the child’s own stem cells is effective or even safe, especially in cases of childhood cancers.

Indians have a very diverse genetic make-up. The large-scale collection and storage of cord blood in public banks will be very useful. It can be used for matched unrelated recipients who urgently need blood cell transplants.

Stem cells are probably the future of medicine and the human race. They are multifaceted and have the potential to develop into different cell types. They can theoretically keep dividing as long as the person is alive. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become another specialised cell like a muscle cell, red blood cell, or brain cell. This means stem cells can be infused as a sort of emergency repair mechanism to replenish damaged tissues.

Perhaps disease, aging, cancer and even death can be controlled and conquered. And living healthily forever may become a reality.

Source
:The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Grape Seeds May Prevent Worst Health Disasters

For years, scientists have given two thumbs up to grape seed extract as a powerful disease fighter. Now, findings by the American Association for Cancer Research show it may be powerful enough to blast away leukemia cells!
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As its name implies, grape seed extract is pressed from the seeds of grapes. Laboratory studies have shown that grape seeds contain helpful antioxidants that prevent cell damage caused by free radicals.

Grape seed extract has also been shown to strengthen the heart and blood vessels… reduce high blood pressure… improve symptoms of diabetes… lower high cholesterol… and may even help treat and prevent cancer!

According to a statement from the association, a study revealed that after laboratory leukemia cells were exposed to grape seed extract, 76 percent of the cancer-laden cells were completely eliminated! Even more amazing was the fact that other cells were not harmed.

“What everyone seeks is an agent that has an effect on cancer cells but leaves normal cells alone, and this shows that grape seed extract fits into this category,” said Xianglin Shi, one of the researchers and a professor in the Graduate Center for Toxicology at the University of Kentucky.

“These results could have implications for the incorporation of agents such as grape seed extract into prevention or treatment of hematological malignancies and possibly other cancers,” Shi said.

However, the results of the study do not suggest that people should go overboard in eating grapes in hopes of staving off cancer. “This is very promising research, but it is too early to say this is chemo-protective,” Shi added.

Source: Better Health Research. Jan.29 ’09

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Green Tea is Good for Leukemia

Mayo Clinic researchers are reporting positive results in early leukemia clinical trials using the chemical epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an active ingredient in green tea. The trial determined that patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia can tolerate the chemical fairly well when high doses are administered in capsule form and that lymphocyte count was reduced in one-third of participants.
…………….green tea
“We found not only that leukemia patients tolerated the green tea extract at very high doses, but that many of them saw regression to some degree of their chronic lymphocytic leukemia,” says Tait Shanafelt, lead author of the study. “The majority of individuals who entered the study with enlarged lymph nodes saw a 50 percent or greater decline in their lymph node size.”

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow, the spongy tissue inside bones where blood cells are made.

The term “chronic” in chronic lymphocytic leukemia comes from the fact that it typically progresses more slowly than other types of leukemia. The “lymphocytic” in chronic lymphocytic leukemia comes from the cells affected by the disease, a group of white blood cells called lymphocytes, which help your body fight infection.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is the most common subtype of leukemia in the United States. Currently it has no cure. Blood tests have enabled early diagnosis in many instances; however, treatment consists of watchful waiting until the disease progresses. Statistics show that about half of patients with early stage diseases have an aggressive form of chronic lymphocytic leukemia that leads to early death. Researchers hope that EGCG can stabilize chronic lymphocytic leukemia for early stage patients or perhaps improve the effectiveness of treatment when combined with other therapies.

The research has moved to the second phase of clinical testing in a follow-up trial, already fully enrolled, and involving roughly the same number of patients. All will receive the highest dose administered from the previous trial.

These clinical studies are the latest steps in a multiyear bench-to-bedside project that began with tests of the green tea extract on cancer cells in the laboratory of Mayo hematologist Neil Kay, M.D., a co-author on this article. After laboratory research showed dramatic effectiveness in killing leukemia cells, the findings were applied to studies on animal tissues and then on human cells in the lab.

In the first clinical trial, 33 patients received variations of eight different oral doses of Polyphenon E, a proprietary compound whose primary active ingredient is EGCG. Doses ranged from 400 milligrams (mg) to 2,000 mg administered twice a day. Researchers determined that they had not reached a maximum tolerated dose, even at 2,000 mg twice per day.

Source:Eleminets4Health

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Exercise can combat fatigue in leukemia patients

Exercise may be a great way to combat the debilitating fatigue in patients suffering from leukemia, say researchers.
……………….WEIGHTLIFT.

The research team from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that physical activity can significantly improve symptoms of fatigue and depression, increase cardiovascular endurance and maintain quality of life for adult patients undergoing treatment for leukemia.

They recruited a total of 10 patients undergoing treatment in the EQUAL (Exercise and Quality of Life in Leukemia/ Lymphoma Patients) study and of them were provided with specially treated exercise equipment to minimize the risk of infection.

The exercise prescription comprised of aerobic and resistance exercises, core exercises, and light stretches tailored to the patient’s level of fitness and leukemia symptoms.

“We found that the patients experienced significant reduction in total fatigue and depression scores, as well as improved cardiorespiratory endurance and maintenance of muscular endurance,” said Dr Claudio Battaglini, assistant professor of exercise and sport science and UNC Lineberger member.

“This is important because of the numerous side-effects related to cancer treatment, and particularly leukemia treatment, which requires confinement to a hospital room for 4-6 weeks to avoid the risk of infection.

“We have demonstrated that these patients not only can complete an exercise program in the hospital but that they may receive both physiological and psychological benefits that could assist in their recovery,” he added.

Source: The Times Of India

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A/C in Car – Precautions

Do not turn on A/C immediately as soon as you enter the car. Open the windows after you enter your car and turn ON the air-conditioning after a couple of minutes.

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According to a research done, the car dashboard, sofa, air freshener emits Benzene, a Cancer causing toxin (carcinogen – take note of the heated plastic Smell in your car).

In addition to causing cancer, it poisons your bones, causes anemia, and reduces white blood cells. Prolonged exposure will cause Leukemia, increasing the risk of cancer. May also cause miscarriage.

Acceptable Benzene level indoors is 50 mg per sq. ft… A car parked indoors with the windows closed will contain 400-800 mg of Benzene.
If parked outdoors under the sun at a temperature above 60 degrees F, the Benzene level goes up to 2000-4000 mg, 40 times the acceptable level… & the people inside the car will inevitably inhale an excess amount of the toxins.

It is recommended that you open the windows and door to give time for the interior to air out before you enter. Benzene is a toxin that affects your kidney and liver, and is very difficult for your body to expel this toxic stuff.