Cell Therapy for Cancer, Autoimmune/Immuno Deficiency Disorders

Solid tumors and autoimmune/immune deficiency disorders (e.g. AIDS, Epstein Barr, Chronic Fatigue syndrome, scleroderma, Lyme disease, etc.) are a challenge to conventional standard of care practitioners for two primary reasons; 1) inability to obviate causation of disease, and/or; 2) inability to hamper progression of degenerative nature of the disease.

However, over the last several decades an increase in the number of peer-reviewed publications reflecting the favorable outcomes select stem cell therapies are having in treating certain solid tumor cancers (e.g. colon cancer, etc.), and more dispersed cancers like leukemia.

For decades, it has been difficult to assess the degree of benefit derived from stem cell transplantation used for treating immune-deficiencies; even though conventional medicine has few therapies to offer with the exception of novel advanced cell therapy ("ACT"). This also can apply cancer, where the immune system becomes greatly compromised due to the underlying illness and/or toxic treatment protocol used to combat it.

It is believed that ACT functions as an immune-modulator which is yet to be fully understood or scientifically explained, in spite of the fact that survival of any living organism without a proper defense against harmful factors, is doomed to die.

The body's defense mechanism, which has developed over millions of years, is a complicated and highly organized system designed to protect the biologic existence of every living being.

Contacts with, and corresponding defenses against the environment are key properties of life. All life sustaining matters are recognized as fundamental biological features, but the ability to defend against damaging and life-threatening matters is at the same level of importance.

As sophisticated as our immune system is, it still operates on a very simple basic principle. To distinguish "itself" from "non-self” and attack any “non-self" found within the body. This usually works in our favor, e.g. when our body is being attacked by pathogenic microbes. At other times, it works against us, especially after receiving a heart, liver or kidney transplant. One can think of the immune system as a defending army. This army consists of many different battalions, each battalion has to carry out a predetermined activity, and each soldier is ordered to handle a specific task.

This army has to fight off many kinds of invaders: bacteria, fungi, viruses, tumors, toxins, foreign proteins, and every one requires a different battle plan. Without such army of immunological soldiers to fight the invaders and operating according to the correct battle plan, we would die by the invaders before ever growing out of infancy.

The immune system consists of four components:

  1. The epithelial surface, protecting us against outside the world and microbial world inside our bodies (there are more microbial cells in our body than of our own) - this is historically (phylogenetically) the oldest part;
  2. The reticulo-histiocytary system, spread diffusely throughout our body - this one historically developed next;
  3. The thymo-lymphatic system, consisting of the thymus gland, and network of lymphatic vessels carrying lymph, which is filtered in lymphatic nodes, and;
  4. The spleen, which filters blood, among other functions.

The lymphocytes are the most important cells of our defense system. More than one trillion are in the body at any given time, circulating either in the blood or on guard in the lymph nodes. There are two types of lymphocytes: T-cells and B-cells. Both are formed in bone marrow. B-cells mature in blood, while T-cells must pass through and mature in thymus gland. Thymus, located just behind the upper part of the breastbone, is like a drill sergeant, it instructs the lymphocytes how to recognize 'non-self' and what to do when 'non-self' invades the body. T-cells are the sentries of our body.

When invaders enter the body, T-cells sound an alarm and direct the battle. Through a complicated system they mobilize other lymphocytes and other 'soldiers', such as histiocytes, macrophages, etc., and 'weapons' (complement, cytokines, etc.) to fight the enemy. They also enter the battle directly.

B-cells produce plasma cells, which in turn produce antibodies. This system has a memory. Once a B-cell produced an antibody against a specific foreign antigen, it never forgets how to make it.

Thus, each succeeding wave of the same infection (or other type of antigen) is fought off with an increasing efficiency. This is the basis for immunization and explains why we fall victim to several childhood infectious diseases only once.

Of course, this 'immunological memory' can sometimes work against the body. When allergic to something - even though the object is not in itself a threat - our body's immunological memory can unleash 'defensive' biochemical weapons and turn it into an illness ranging from sniffles to sudden death by suffocation (anaphylaxis). Sometimes the immune system fails to recognize even parts of our own body as 'self' and attacks them as 'non-self'. This leads to 'autoimmune diseases', such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, glomerulonephritis, etc., against which there is no real treatment.

The defense capabilities of our immune system have a 'life profile'. After 'immune-tolerance' of the embryonic and fetal stage of life (when the immune system is not functioning and its entire defense depends on the immune system of the mother and her placenta), the immune system gradually 'wakes up', until it reaches the optimal functioning level between 10 to 15 years of age.

During puberty the immune system becomes depressed again, with exact timing depending on the gender. Thereafter, the immune system will work full capacity for the next say 30 to 35 years. During the 40's, a regression period will inevitably ensue, with the immune system diminishing relentlessly until a senile 'immune-paralysis' period is reached and the body becomes relatively defenseless against malignancies and even some of the most banal infections.

Autoimmune diseases are divided into two groups:

  1. Diseases where the antigen is organo-specific, e.g. Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Addison's disease, pernicious anemia, IDDM, etc. or;
  2. Diseases where the antigen(s) are non-organ specific, e.g. scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, etc.

NOTE: there are some autoimmune diseases where the antigen is organ-specific but antibodies react together with other antigens, e.g. idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, Sjogren syndrome, idiopathic leukopenia's. For autoimmune diseases, ACT of mesenchyme, liver, spleen and thymus should be used as the primary therapy. Follow-up ACT can be continued as often as clinical course requires maintaining the function of all components of the immune system at a normal or near-normal level.

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