What Breast Cancer Survivors Need to Know About Stem Cells

What Breast Cancer Survivors Need to Know About Stem Cells

By Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj M.D.

 

The fight against breast cancer is a winnable fight. With modern advances in treatment, increased awareness, and early detection, the survival rate for women diagnosed with breast cancer is on the rise.

According to the American Cancer Society, women diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer have a 100% survival rate. Even stage 3 cancer has a 72% survival rate over a period of 5 years. From all indications, it seems that we are winning the fight against breast cancer.

Life after Breast Cancer. What happens after you beat breast cancer? Ask any breast cancer survivor and you’ll immediate find out that nothing is ever the same. Ask a breast cancer survivor who has lived over 20 years post-diagnosis, and you’ll learn that total lifestyle change is required. Reckless choices such as eating a poor diet, not exercising, and excessive stress damage the body that the immune system in a way that the body can no longer take.

The Dangers of Recurrence. Even more alarming is the risk of recurrence, not of breast cancer, but of other types of cancer, most notably leukemia. Studies analyzing SEER data, patients who receive chemotherapy and radiation have an increased risk for cancers such as:

  • Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS)
  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)

During breast cancer treatment, the bone marrow is affected with chemotherapy and radiation, causing significant damage to the immune system. While good diet and exercise are steps that everyone can take, often a patient’s damaged immune system allows diseases like AML and MDS to proliferate.

Overall, the risk of developing leukemia post-chemotherapy amongst breast cancer patients is anywhere between 8-17%. In women aged 20-49, the risk of MDS was 30 times that of the normal population.

This is quite alarming because younger people would expect longer survival periods and a higher quality of life. Yet in younger people, we are seeing higher rates of MDS than even people who are in the 65-74+ age brackets.

The Robin Roberts Effect. This is exactly what happened to Robin Roberts, the beloved news anchor from ABC’s Good Morning America. In August of 2007, at the age of 46, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and immediately had surgery. By January of 2008 she had completed eight chemotherapy treatments, followed by more than six weeks of radiation treatment.

Four years later, she was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), a form of leukemia. Her personal battle brought the risk of cancer recurrence to millions and a public will to effectuate change. Be the Match Registry, a nonprofit organization run by the National Marrow Donor Program, experienced a 1,800% spike in donors the day Roberts went public with her illness.

Difficulty Finding a Match. However, those donors for the National Marrow Donor Program would not necessarily be able to access their own cells should they need a stem cell transplant for a blood cancer like MDS. Many times patients with cancer are not able to find an unrelated matching donor from the national donor program (your own cells are always a 100% match for you). Factors such as race and ethnicity play huge roles in determining the eligible donor pool for a particular patient. Minorities are historically underrepresented when it comes to the National Marrow Donor Program.

The Proactive Stem Cell Approach. As breast cancer survivors become more educated on these risks, many are opting to privately collect and store their own healthy adult stem cells post-chemotherapy and radiation, and not rely on potentially finding a donor if their cancer recurs. The idea behind this strategy is that the adult stem cells form the basis of the immune system. When cancer recurs, typically patients have seen their immune function decrease, with markers such as Natural Killer Cell function taking significant drops.

Natural Killer Cells are cells within the immune system that are responsible for killing cancers and other tumors within in the body. As the function of Natural Killer Cells increase, the body’s ability to defend itself against cancers rises as well.

Studies have shown that patients who have received autologous stem cell transplants have improved patient outcomes, faster recovery times, and better long term disease free survival, compared to patients who have undergone chemotherapy and radiation alone.

Having your adult stem cells in the bank is a safety net for breast cancer survivors. If a patient were to ever be diagnosed with a leukemia or a blood cancer, their banked adult stem cells would a powerful tool in the fight against cancer.

Currently the cost of this type of procedure can vary between $15,000-$45,000. For the most part, these procedures are not covered by Medicare or private insurance. As more patients decide to take these types of proactive steps for their health, the cost is anticipated to drop. However, don’t let the cost of the procedure convince you into waiting to collect and store your stem cells.

The Value of the Immune System. As we age our immune system gradually weakens over time. Starting around the age of 30 our immune systems are in a slow gradual decline until somewhere between the ages of 65-74. At that point, our immune system takes a significant drop. In essence, the longer you wait to collect and store your adult stem cells the weaker your immune system will be.

In addition to collecting and storing your stem cells, breast cancer patients should also monitor their immune systems on an annual basis. While many blood tests such as a CBC may turn up normal, there are abnormalities within the immune system that do not show up on regular diagnostic tests. Tracking the immune system gives a great indicator as to the body’s ability to fight cancer and other diseases.

BRCA1 and BRCA2 Risk. Females who have the BRCA1 and the BRCA2 gene for breast cancer, like Angelina Jolie, also fall into the category of those who need to have their immune system checked annually. While the presence of the gene indicates an increased risk for breast cancer, the mere presence of the gene doesn’t guarantee that you will get breast cancer. That’s why it is so important to monitor the immune system. If an abnormality within the immune system presents itself, it can be dealt with early before the spread of a cancer. While some females are opting for invasive mastectomy surgery, like Angelina Jolie, others are choosing to monitor their immune system before taking such drastic action.

Stem Cell Uses. As the benefits for stem cell therapy evolves, so will the amount of uses that are available for your banked adult stem cells. With over 2,000 U.S. Clinical Trials using adult stem cell therapies, there is clear evidence to show that an individual’s own stem cells have a significant capability for growth, repair, and regeneration of damaged tissue and cells in the body. Currently there are more than 70 accepted uses for adult stem cells including the treatment of many blood cancers, bone marrow failures, and immune disorders. For breast cancer patients, the risks are not just from the recurrence of breast cancer itself. With an impaired immune system, female breast cancer survivors are at an elevated risk for other types of cancer and illnesses. That’s why all breast cancer survivors should seriously consider banking and storing their healthy adult stem cells before it is too late.

 

 

Stem Cell Webinar: Aging & The Immune System – This April 9th at 4pm Eastern Time

Stem Cell Webinar - Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj

Stem Cells, Aging, & The Immune System

Do Stem Cells Hold the Key to Unlocking the Mystery Behind Aging?

As much as the medical community has been trying to cure major diseases like cancer, Parkinson’s, diabetes, etc., could it be that the real disease to understand is aging?  As our immune system ages and decreases in function we start to see dysfunction both internally and externally.

Internally, we see critical markers such as Natural Killer Cell function and Naïve T Cells decrease.  Externally, as patients age, we see wrinkled skin, slowness of movement, and increased susceptibility to infection.

In this webinar we will discuss how the immune system ages, the manifestations that it has in the body, and potential ways that we might have of either slowing down or even reversing the immune aging process. New clinical and laboratory data will be discussed that highlights key concepts in this process.

Come and join Dr. Dipinarine Maharaj MD this Wednesday April 9th as we discuss evidence based information on stem cells, aging, and the immune system.

What: Stem Cell Webinar: Aging & The Immune System

When: April 9, 2014

Where: Online – Click Here to Register or paste link below into your browser
http://stemcell.enterthemeeting.com/m/4PJQEXCC

Cost: Physicians & Medical Professionals can attend free – RSVP today

Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj Delivers Keynote Address to CAM for Cancer Conference

Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj Delivers Keynote Address to CAM for Cancer Conference

On March 8 2014, Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj delivered the keynote address for the Annie Appleseed conference in West Palm Beach, FL. The conference featured leading speakers from North America on common and alternative modalities for cancer treatment.

Dipnarine Maharaj Keynote Address CAM For Cancer

Dipnarine Maharaj Keynote Address CAM For Cancer
This past weekend, stem cell transplant physician, Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj MD delivered the keynote address at the CAM for Cancer Conference hosted by the Annie Appleseed Project Foundation.  Dr. Maharaj lectured on adult stem cells and the advancements that are being made in cancer treatment.The conference was attended by over 200 participants and exhibitors who came from all over the world to hear top presenters like Dr. Maharaj share his stem cell cancer findings.

During his presentation, Dr. Maharaj shared evidence based information along with clinical studies to educate everyone from the most experienced physicians to the health and wellness minded individual.
“I want to thank Ann Fonfa for organizing an excellent conference,” stated Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj, founder of the South Florida Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant Institute.  “I hope that everyone from the patients to the physicians were able to take away a new piece of information that they didn’t know before.  I always learn from my peers at these types of conferences and they serve a valuable purpose.”
The Annie Appleseed Project began as Ann Fonfa’s personal answers to questions (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAAHa5zDsUI) (video) on natural(CAM) therapies, it has become a nationally recognized organization, and is now a nonprofit corporation in the state of Florida. (May 23, 2003)and tax exempt, 501 (c)3 as of August, 2003. From its inception the Annie Appleseed Project decided to Challenge the Existing treatment paradigm, to Question the existing research methods and subjects, and to Propose new directions for both ending with true Integrative Oncology.
Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj MD is one of America’s leading experts on adult stem cells and cancer treatment.  He has published extensively on bone marrow/stem cell transplants and peripheral blood stem cell collection in revered publications such as the Lancet, and Blood. Dr. Maharaj has also pioneered new protocols for Parkinson’s disease, neurological illnesses, and diabetes.  He was part of the pioneering group in Scotland that developed stem cell transplants for blood cancer patients.  Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj is currently running an FDA approved Phase I/II Clinical Trial for Solid Tumor Cancer Patients.

Stem Cell Cryobank – Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj MD – Medical Director

Bank Your Immune System

Cord Blood and Stem Cells for Life – Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj MD – Medical Director – Stem Cell Cryobank

Stem Cell Cryobank – Cord Blood and Stem Cells for Life

Bank your immune system.

Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj MD – Medical Director

Why bank your adult stem cells – Dipnarine Maharaj M.D.

 

 

Why bank your adult stem cells – Dipnarine Maharaj M.D.

Dipnarine Maharaj

Dipnarine Maharaj in an Adult Stem Cell Collection Procedure –

Adult Stem Cell Banking

The collection and storage of adult stem cells from a healthy individual is an elective procedure. It is an opportunity that an individual should know about, and we would like to give you all the facts so that you can make your own informed decision.
The collection and storage of stem cells is done safely on a daily basis by thousands of healthy individuals who donate their own stem cells to a related or unrelated patient who is suffering from a disorder of the blood or an immune deficiency state. The process by which the stem cells are collected is the same as when a blood donor goes to the blood bank to donate platelets. This process is called apheresis. The difference in the case of a healthy individual donating stem cells is that they are given a medication, which is injected subcutaneously for five days. The stem cells are then collected (by arm veins in most cases) using the apheresis machine.
The opportunity now exists for a healthy individual to collect and store their own stem cells for their own personal use in the future, should they need it. The idea is not new since, for many years, parents have collected and stored the adult stem cells from cord blood for their baby’s future use, should they need it.
Transplanted stem cells are used on a daily basis and adult stem cells have been in use since the early 60’s for blood disorders. Today, they are used to treat over 80 illnesses, mainly cancers of the blood, such as leukemias, lymphomas, multiple myelomas, and from matched donors to treat sickle cell anemia and beta thalassemia.
Many stem cell experts and transplant physicians believe that there will be breakthroughs in the future, and these will be helpful particularly to those individuals who have their own adult stem cells, which have been collected and stored. This is known as the emerging field of regenerative medicine.

Adult Stem Cells

All cell types in the human body originate from a group of stem cells in the early development in the mothers womb. Specialized cells are then formed from various stem cells in early development to form every organ of the body. There are certain cells in the human body that are constantly regenerating tissues throughout life, such as blood, nerves, muscle, and skin. These cells are adult stem cells. Stem cells are capable of replicating themselves, or differentiating into a variety of specialized cell types.
Most adult stem cells are located deep within organ tissue, which means that they are surrounded by many ordinary cells. They regenerate specific tissue when those cells in the body need to be replenished. Adult stem cells are found most often in organs which require a consistent cell supply, including blood, skin, and the gut lining.
Adult stem cells are specialized cells, meaning that they only give rise to a limited cell type. Scientists believe that there is a way to stimulate adult stem cells to be more flexible, so that they would be able to give rise to unspecialized cells.