Thursday, November 14, 2013

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Leukemia - Cancer of the Blood

Leukemia is cancer of the blood cells. In leukemia, the bone marrow starts to make a lot of abnormal white blood cells (leukemia cells). These abnormal cells out number the healthy cells gradually leading to anaemia, bleeding and infection. The exact cause of leukemia is unknown but risk factors have been identified. leukemia is grouped into how quickly the disease spreads (acute or chronic) and which blood cells are affected ((lymphocytes or myelocytes).


Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).
It mainly affect adults. It affects the myleoid cells and usually grow slowly at first. It has little or no symptoms in the initial stages. It is usually diagnosed in the chronic stage when treatment is very effective for most people.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
This kind almost never affects children. It is found in people over 55 years. It affects the lymphoid cells and grows slowly. It is the most common chronic adult form of leukemia. You may feel well for years and not need any treatment.

Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
Most common types of leukemia in children even though adults may get it. It affects lymphoid cells and grows very quickly

Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
It is the most common type of acute leukemia in adults. It affects children too. It grows rapidly and affects the myleoid cells.

There are also rare types of leukemia like hairy cell leukemia


This increases your risk of AML.

Past chemotherapy or radiation for another cancer makes you a high risk candidate of this cancer.

Exposure to high levels of radiations.
Exposure to these high levels of radiation greatly increases your chance of getting the disease. eg nuclear bomb accidents increases these high level radiations.

Family history.
If members of your family have been diagnosed with leukemia, you have a high risk of getting it too.

Exposure to chemicals
Exposure to chemicals like benzene can cause AML. Benzene is widely used in the chemical industry and found in gasoline and cigarette smoke.

Genetic disorders .
Genetic or inherited disorders such as down syndrome increases your risk.

Blood disorders Myelodysplastic syndrome and certain other blood disorders increases your risk of AML.

Human T-cell leukemia virus type I (HTLV-I): increases your risk of rare type of leukemia called adult T-cell leukemia.


Treatment is based on a lot of factors like type of leukemia, overall health and age.

This is the major form of treatment for leukemia. The drugs are used to kill the cancer cells. You may have a pill or injection into your vein depending on the type of leukemia you have.

Radiation Therapy
X-rays or other high-energy beams are used to damage leukemia cells and stop their growth.

Stem cells transplant
The aim of this type of procedure is to destroy the cells in your bone marrow including leukemia cell and replace them with normal healthy cell. .

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

New Immune Therapy Purges Leukemia - System Works Where Chemotherapy Fails

Leukemia has been driven into remission in two out of three patients with immune therapy. So reports oncologist Austin Porter at the University of Pennsylvania in The New England Journal of Medicine. Porter said, "What we couldn't do with chemotherapy, we were able to do in four weeks with immune therapy."

Leukemia is the destroyer of white blood cells. Low levels of electrolytes diminish the immune system and reduce the body's energy and ability to fight for life.

This immune therapy trial opens the door for new therapies for leukemia and potentially for millions who are suffering from other cancers.

The strategy of this ingenious trial was to enable the body's own immune system to eliminate the cancer cells. The T-cells identify foreign pathogens and prepares for battle. These "Killer Cells" then signal the macrophage to remove the dead cells.

The system used in this trial was to draw blood from the patients, isolate the T-cells, and infect them with a genetically engineered virus. The modified T-cells were then injected back into the patients.

The research team calculated that for every T-cell injected, a thousand cancer cells were killed. It is normal for the patients to develop flu-like symptom due to the quick removal of the dead cancer cells that are processed from the body by the liver and kidneys.

A newborn baby receives Smart Sugars in mother's breast milk and a superload in the colostrum. It is these sugars that supply the immune system for the child and effects him or her for life. These sugars construct the glycolipids and glycoproteins which develop the communication system, the actual operating system (OS) for the human body.

It is a recognized scientific fact that when the human immune system is modulated properly that cancer, HIV, other viruses and harmful bacteria are destroyed by the efficient killer cell team.

In the mid-nineties, I personally experienced similar flu-like symptoms when I ate high quantities of Smart Sugars. My next door neighbor was given two weeks to live because he had virtually no white blood cells. His immune system had failed. His family fed him Smart Sugars and he died in the predicted two weeks; however, the doctor conducted one final blood test and said apparently there was an error with the test because he was producing white blood cells again.

ALL roads to health and healing are via of your immune system. ALL roads to your immune system are traveled via glycolipids and glycoproteins. ALL glycolipids and glycoproteins require Smart Sugars.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lymphoma Cancer Symptoms in Women - Be Aware - Stay Alive

Lymphoma symptoms and especially lymphoma cancer symptoms in women are easy to be missed. It is so, because they can be taken for standard discomfort, to which we women are so familiar with by the default of being female.

Lymphoma is a form of cancer of the lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell.

Because our knowledge about this disease is so limited, it comes to be even more dangerous.

Let me share with you what my friend told me about her condition. "At first, I started losing weight. I was so glad to see it happen; we all know how hard it is to lose weight in our age (after 50). The next - somewhat unusual for me condition - was heavy sweating, especially at night. I didn't think twice about this though, it was winter time, I was probably too hot in general from the combination of keeping the house warm and using a heavy comforter, so I thought. You know, we always find an answer if and when we want to. Another day I noticed, my skin was itching; I had an explanation here as well; it must have been something wrong with the soap. Another incident of lymphoma symptoms I did not recognize, another unpremeditated excuse minimizing the seriousness of the situation. It was not until I noticed blood while coughing, when I decided to see my doctor".

Why this story? To help you recognize the limited knowledge about the lymphoma symptoms leading to a very late diagnosis, diagnosis at a very advanced stage of cancer. Should the lymphoma cancer symptoms have been diagnosed early, the condition could be put in regression, if not totally cured. It is not the ignorance though. The difficulty in recognizing lymphoma cancer symptoms is coming from the fact that the same symptoms are very "common" to other, not necessarily serious conditions.

Let's concentrate on lymphoma symptoms in women. What are they?

First and most common of all are the swollen lymph nodes, caused by the lymphoma cancer cells. This can be noticed mainly in the armpits, neck and groin. The nodes are quickly noticeable because of their location near to the skin surface and not so due to pain.

The next symptom is a rapid and unintentional loss of weight. Fever and night sweats, fatigue as well as problems with breathing continue the list. Since these symptoms very closely resemble infection symptoms, a lot of patients are being incorrectly treated for such instead of the true cause - lymphoma.

Mentioned here are only the few lymphoma symptoms in women. There are at least fifteen of them, which women can easily neglect, because we are so used to different kinds of discomforts being women. The list continues with abdominal pain, headaches, weakness and swelling of arms and legs, bowel obstruction, shortness of breath, coughing.

In conclusion, our strong recommendation is to see an oncologist if such symptoms stay unchanged (hopefully not getting any worse) for two - three weeks. It is in the patient's best interest to check it out. With a series of tests the presence or absence of lymphoma can be easily diagnosed; the sooner the diagnosis, the better chances of survival. And - if there is nothing wrong, the peace of mind gained after such visit is just priceless.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Leukemia, The Paradigm Miracle

Another year has gone by, and in a few short weeks, we celebrate National Cancer Survivor's Day. When this day arrives I am always taken back and remember those who never had a chance to celebrate this day.

Having practiced medicine for more than three decades, as physician I was deeply involved with the care of little children. As a hospitalist, I saw my fair share of childhood diseases. I can gladly say I was allowed to save many lives with help from others on the medical teams I worked with, and of course the cutting edge technologies afforded those of us who are privileged to practice medicine in the United States. It is interesting, the things in life which will push a man toward an education and prepare him for the great profession of medicine. One of those things was an event in my childhood in the early 1960s.

When I was a boy, I had many friends in school and outside of school alike. Growing up on a ranch in Nebraska, it was not unusual to have many friends who lived in other towns come to visit. One of my friends outside of school lived in a nearby town, but came over often. David and I were both eight years old. I remember fondly of playing "army" with David in the yard, and board games with him when he would come to visit. I liked him. He was friendly and got along with my sister and little brother too. We were both Cub Scouts but in different troops. You would always hear about how much David loved Scouting.

Soon though, the visits became fewer and fewer. David seemed to look frail and discolored to me as time went by. The color thing really bothered me. I asked Mom, "What's wrong with David?" Mom said, "He's sick, honey. He has cancer of the blood. It's called leukemia". As you can imagine, this was a little difficult for an eight year old to take in, but as time went by, I learned more and more.

David's parents were good friends of my parents, so we saw each other as families often. After he became ill, we saw less and less of them. Very rarely did I get to see my friend. David had an ever advancing condition of weight loss, bruising, sore joints, infections, was easily brought to tears, and I thought his hair looked funny. How does an eight year old process this inevitable plunge? As children, David, his sister, my brother, my sister and I, we were not emotionally mature enough to process this whole thing.

At home we would get the occasional phone call that he was back in the hospital. My parents were great. When we would get these calls, Mom and Dad would sit with us and try their best to explain this thing called leukemia. Understand, this was 1961, and leukemia was known as an unrelenting killer of children. There were no cures. Not even a good treatment. The medical community was desperate for a foothold.

One night we received a phone call from David's father. David had passed away at the young age of eight. I remember, it was really the first time I heard those words, "passed away". It was also the first funeral I went to for a friend. Friends are not supposed to die when you are kids. It caused me to take pause, and realize, that we are mortal. I know, I was just a child. I had seen two grandfathers buried, but I was very quiet and overcome by this intense event. All of these grownups I knew as strong, would breakdown and start to cry. I never the less watched in a surreal world of sadness, my parents' good friends bury my buddy, David.... And that image which is still so clear.... My friend, asleep in his Cub Scout uniform.

All the while I was there, I remember thinking David might come running out from behind that marble stone, but he never did. Why had this happened? I seemed to feel a pull even then, "The Calling", so many of us drawn to "medicine" and trained as healers will occasionally and quietly talk about.

Time went by, but I often thought of David and how unfair it had been for him and his family. The early 1960s saw almost all children die who had leukemia. The five-year survival rates of children then were only one in ten. All families could do, was wait and watch while their babies died in agony. He never had a chance, I often reflected. A sweet kid, taken from his family at such a young age. He never got the chance to do anything after he became sick. Never got to be an Eagle Scout, play baseball, be cool at school, or fall in love. How scared he must have been.

Time marched on and while in high school, I would hear of small advances in the fight against cancer and leukemia. Then, in the early 1970s, when I was in college studying chemistry, we began hearing about a new drug, a drug with great promise in the fight against leukemia. It killed leukemia cancer cells by attacking their ability to process folic acid for DNA synthesis. Called Methotrexate, I remember thinking.... Damn!.... it's a little late, but in less than ten years they came up with a weapon.

I had grown up with kids who had polio, but now, it was gone. Diphtheria was gone. Small pox was all but vanquished. Psychiatric hospitals were giving way to more advanced neuroleptic drugs, allowing former patients to re-enter society and become productive citizens. They had just invented the CAT Scanner. They had started to use lasers in ophthalmology. And, I thought, even William DeBakey is transplanting hearts with Denton Cooley down in Texas of all places! Things were really happening, and I wanted to be on the inside not the outside. It was an epiphany. Already a man of science, I realized then, that I was going to become a physician.

As time went by, more of these antimetabolite drugs became available and we started to see a real dent in childhood mortality from leukemia. Soon after, in the late 1970s, when I was a biochemist and starting my medical career, a drug from a flower called, "The Rosy Periwinkle", which only grows in the rainforests of Madagascar (go figure) gave us a new drug called Vincristine. A drug that could only be brewed in mother nature's kitchen, this was a monumental discovery. Never before had we been able to reach for a drug that could stop mitosis in cancer cells directly by shutting down their ability to pass through telophase. That's right, Vincristine and its sister, Vinblastine, destroy microtubule formation, so cells can't make spindles, resulting in the inability to replicate.

Then, when I was a resident in medicine, we discovered a way to perform bone marrow transplants, exchanging cancerous white cells for fresh, normal white cell precursors. You guessed it. We were now seeing cures and not just remissions. Lives were now being saved in this war.

My friend David had what we call, "Acute Leukemia". There are many types of leukemia, but there are two well-known leukemias that prey on children. They are Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, ALL, the one David had, which generally seeks out kids two to ten years of age, and Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, AML, which generally hunts down our babies under 1 year of age.

The acute leukemias are proliferating bone marrow tumors of cancerous precursor white cells still in the immature blast cell phase. The cells do not work like healthy white cells to combat infection. They multiply wildly, creating havoc in the body, literally consuming the patient to death, a condition we call "cachexia". Patients have intense bone pain, anemia, infections, swollen lymph nodes, enlarged spleens and livers, and, for some, meningitis, strokes, heart attacks, and renal failure. Without treatment, they are dead in a few weeks to a few months.

We still do not have a full grasp on their cause. Most are caused by oncogenes, which are mutated cancer inducing genetic codes for programming carcinogenisis and disrupting programmed cell death we call "apoptosis". What causes this, is the head scratcher. Many of us feel it is radiation exposure, or certain viruses. Perhaps environmental toxins, or even cosmic radioactive bursts. And of course, man-made toxins are obvious suspects.

By the early 1990s we were seeing cure rates in both ALL and AML of fifty percent and remission rates in the eighty percent range. What a leap. In just 3 decades we saw a paradigm shift in the treatment and outcomes of our children with leukemia, moreover, a shift in therapies which utilizes a team approach to protect our children from the acute depression and other collateral illness which accompany these frightening diseases.

Newer drugs like Daunorubicin have accelerated these therapies to even better outcomes. Although this drug is very effective, it is extremely cardio toxic and not generally used in children. However, it should be noted that we are now seeing ninety five percent remission rates and sixty percent cure rates in our children with ALL, and AML, a true shift in mortality that could only be dreamed about just thirty five years ago.

The drug Methotrexate is still at the heart of leukemia therapy, and is used in combination with other drugs. Unfortunately, there has been a recent shortage of this drug due to decreased production, and the drug makers asking for more money and charging outrageous prices. This is an unethical practice, and shameful in my opinion. It has been treated much in the press of late. Hopefully attitudes will shift and our lobbying campaigns to continue cost-effective production will be fruitful.

But now, what treatments are on the horizon for leukemia? There is a new drug. This drug arrived on the cancer chemotherapy shelves about a decade ago, but shows outstanding promise even outside of cancer therapy. Used mainly for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, CML, a leukemia which is seen mostly in older adults, it is highly effective. Rendering oncogenetic codes for cancer cell induction dead in their tracks, it is a target directed drug aimed at a specific chromosome translocation defect which exists in more than 90% of CML patients, called the Philadelphia Chromosome. The drug, Imatinib, was built from a rational drug design based on biochemical research already in place regarding the specific allele the Philadelphia Chromosome codes for, and shuts down the production of a protein called tyrosine kinase which induces cancerous breakdown of normally functioning white cells.

Imatinib has been used as therapy for other leukemias including refractory Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, and Myeloproliferative Disorders (chronic bone marrow cancers generally seen in the elderly) with outstanding success. But what is also very interesting is its experimental applications which are currently being investigated.

Imatinib has been touted as a treatment for pulmonary hypertension, a rapidly fatal form of high blood pressure in the lungs. It has been shown to reduce outcropping we call smooth muscle hypertrophy and hyperplasia of the pulmonary vascular tree. In systemic sclerosis, the drug has been tested for potential use in slowing down pulmonary fibrosis. In addition, current laboratory investigations show promise in stopping the progression of atherosclerotic vascular disease in mice. Yes, a treatment for coronary artery disease and heart attacks.

At Emory University in Atlanta, there are promising studies suggesting that Imatinib could be used as an antiviral against smallpox. Why is this important? Although this disease has been wiped off the face of the earth with the remarkable efforts of the World Health Organization, and no case has been identified in almost thirty years, We continue to believe a weaponized form of small pox launched from a rogue nation is possible.

Studies also suggest that a modified version of Imatinib can bind to the protein which increases the production and accumulation of amyloid plaques in Alzheimer's disease, rendering it inert. Yes, a treatment for Alzheimer's induced dementia.

But with all of this in our doctor bags, there is still a dark and ominous specter. Although great strides have been made, and I was privileged to meet and take care of children with leukemia, and even watch them overcome the illness and move on with their lives, one patient stands out.

I was working the Emergency Department one night in 1995. It had been relatively quiet that evening, when at approximately two in the morning a man walked in carrying his teenage son. We acted quickly and helped him get his son to a gurney in an open bay.

The staff and I immediately recognized the man's son as Eric, a well-known high school football star. The father said he found his son crawling on the floor trying to get to the kitchen to get a drink of water. Eric looked awful. There was that damn color again. Eric was delirious with fever, weak, and poor to respond. We went to work on him immediately. His dad said that he was fine just a month ago, but had developed a sore throat at about that time, and was seeing one of our local doctors who just kept giving him antibiotics. We managed to get young Eric stabilized. Just as we were settling him in and making his father comfortable, I received a call from the laboratory. The lab tech asked me to come down to the lab. I ran to the laboratory. When I got there the tech was shaking her head as if to say, "this is really bad". I looked at the blood count machine's screen. "my God", I said to the tech. "His white count is seventy thousand". I looked in the microscope, "blast cells". I knew right away we were looking at an acute type of leukemia, but couldn't recognize it.

When I dashed back to the Emergency Department, Eric was coming around a little. I spoke with him and reassured him. But the look on my face when I turned to his dad, could not be masked. He knew I didn't have good news. We talked at length, then, I called in Eric's regular doctor. They talked while the team and I continued to work on Eric. I called in the helicopter, spoke with the hematology fellows at the university, returned to Eric and his dad, made sure they knew what we were doing and flew them both to University Hospital. All eyes turned to the Hematology Oncology Service with hope that they could help young Eric.

One week later, while seeing patients in my office, the Hematology service at the university telephoned me to say that Eric had "passed away". You sit by yourself and reach for introspection when these things sting you as a healer. I wondered. How does a robust young athlete get sick with leukemia, fail in health so quickly, and die in one month? As it turned out, Eric contracted a type of AML, called Promyelocytic Leukemia, one of the most deadly forms of AML, one which preys on teenaged children, and takes them away from us with stealth and quickness. So you see, our job is not done. I am reminded as to why we call it a "practice".

Our knowledge of the genome, stem cell technology, oncogenetics, and nanotechnology races onward. Our ability for rational drug design is extraordinary, and the technical savvy to produce these great magic potions has been nothing short of miraculous. In just four decades, we have all but squashed the disease that took my friend, David. But as you can see with Eric, we are not finished. I still think of David fifty years later, and how his death stirred in a young boy, the spark of becoming a physician. If I was educated only to save but one human being, it was all worth it.

We already have at our fingertips two technologies that must be placed into motion. Stem cell research has already given us the ability to crush this killer, and should never be interrupted. And, the science to manipulate the oncogenes so responsible for the fuel that drives these diseases is already available. My hope is that with our new technologies, in the near future, we will not need any drugs for leukemia. We will simply turn off the genetic machinery of bone marrow cancer and not allow leukemia even to exist, and therefore, never threaten our children again.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Chemotherapy for Cancer Treatment

Chemotherapy prevents the cancer cells from spreading and growing by destroying them or by stopping them to divide.

Cancer cells tend to grow and increase very quickly if they have no control or order. As these cells will grow very quickly, sometimes they may get divided from the actual tumor and they can also travel to other places of the body. So, chemotherapy will be helpful in weakening and destroying the cells at the actual tumor and also throughout the other body parts.

Most usual cells will grow and get divided in a precise and in an orderly way. Some cells can divide very quickly, including the cells in nails, hair follicles, digestive tract, bone marrow, and the mouth. This treatment involves the usage of chemical agents, which can stop the growth of the cells. This can also eliminate the distribution of the cells to other parts from the original site. As a result, this is considering as the systemic treatment.

How it works?

Specifically this is designed to kill the cancer cells. This will be administered through the vein and injected into the cavity of the body, or it can also be given in the form of pills, that will depend on the drug which is using to treat you.

Chemotherapy works by reducing the growth or destroying the cancer cells; but unfortunately it cannot know the difference between healthy cells and cancer cells. So, this can also be unintentionally harmful to the other types of quickly dividing cells, possibly chemotherapy causes side effects.

Some cancer cells will grow rapidly while others grow slowly. As a result, several types of drugs are used in the chemotherapy to target different growth patterns of cancer cells. Each and every drug used in this therapy has specific way of working and they work effectively in the lifecycle of the cancer treatment by targeting the cancer cells. Your physician will decide which chemotherapy drug is suitable for you.

What are the side effects?

The aim is to make your treatment as timely, problem-free and as effective as possible. The treatment works by destroying cancer cells, but it can also cause some side effects such as:

• Low count of red blood cells
• Low count of white blood cells
• Vomiting
• Nausea
• Fatigue
• Hair loss

Though some side effects are uncomfortable, they are temporary. Some can also cause reduction in dose and delays in the treatment or even life-threatening. Fortunately, efficient progress has been made in the improvement of "proactive" therapies, which will be helpful in managing the side effects.

Monday, September 24, 2012

How to Diagnose and Treat Lymphoma Cancer?

The lymph system is a tubular structure branching out to all the parts of the body and is vital to fight infections. Lymph is a colorless fluid that contains white blood cells (lymphocytes) and is carried by the lymph system.

There are various types of lymphoma cancers and hence, answering a question, how to diagnose and treat lymphoma is a great challenge. The most common type of lymphoma and the term that is used interchangeably is Hodgkins disease and the rest of the types are known as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.


Although, there are several symptoms of lymphoma cancer, but they may be similar to any other illness, making it difficult to suspect the diagnosis of lymphoma.

Some symptoms are:

    Swelling of the lymph nodes
    Fatigue feeling
    Weight loss
    Recurrent fever
    Night sweats

Once a patient experiences symptoms, he/she may consult a physician, who may carry out the diagnostic procedure to confirm the disease. The diagnosis will be based upon:

    Thorough physical examination of the patient
    Inquiry about the complete personal and family history
    Physically examining the lymph nodes for any abnormalities present
    Biopsy test to confirm about the malignancy present in the lymph nodes
    Chest x-ray to verify any enlargement of the lymph nodes in the chest
    Magnetic Resonance Imaging(MRI) or Computer Tomography (CT) scan
    Ultrasound examination

After the diagnosis is done and the lymphoma cancer is confirmed, then the patient may further undergo a few tests to detect the exact stage of the disease.

Cancer Treatment:

    Radiation Therapy - Powerful x-rays or any such radiations may be used to treat the lymphoma cancer. The radiations are directed to kill the abnormal cancerous cells either by internal or external radiation therapy. However, pregnant women are not eligible for radiation therapy until delivery.

    Chemotherapy - This therapy uses anti-cancer drugs to destroy the malignant cells in the lymph system. The therapy may be administered through mouth, intravenously or placing directly into the cerebrospinal fluid. Although, chemotherapy may be observed in pregnant women, close watch is required to see any danger to the fetus.

    Vaccine Therapy - This is a new treatment technique used to treat lymphoma. This technique aims at strengthening body's immunity to fight the cancerous cells. The medications used are directed to restore the immune system and boost its defense against the malignancies.

    High-dose chemotherapy in combination with stem cell transplant is another treatment option lately being considered. The technique is to replace the destroyed blood-forming stem cells in the patient with the donor stem cells.

Lymphoma cancer is type of cancer that affects the lymph system of the body. There are around 35 and more types of this cancer. Hence, how to diagnose and treat lymphoma cancer is a challenge for medical professionals. Like any other cancer, early detection and prompt treatment are vital.