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.

 

 

Sneaky Sugar – The “Secret Sugars” that are creeping into your immune system…and destroying it

SNEAKY SUGAR*

The “Secret Sugars” that are creeping into your immune system…and destroying it

People discovered the sweetly satisfying taste of sugarcane on an island in New Guinea nearly 10,000 years ago, and since then, it has ubiquitously sprinkled itself around the world in forms of candy bars and unexpected places like barbeque sauces. When people first picked the raw cane, they chewed on the hard stem until an explosion of sweetness saturated their taste buds and hooked their senses. It spread like wildfire from island to island until it reached the mainland and by 500 A.D., it was already being processed into powders and used as medicine to treat ailments that ranged from headaches to impotence.

Today, it infamously laces its way through our pastries and Piña Coladas, but what about the other less obvious sugar-laden foods? Nutritionists, dieticians, doctors, and dentists alike have warned of sugar’s power to raise energy levels only to plummet soon after and cause a spiral of bad eating habits.

Harvard Medical School has found that even if you aren’t overweight from a diet of sugar and high-calorie fats, it can still increase your risk of dying from heart disease. They reached that startling conclusion after a 15-year study revealed participants who ate 25 percent or more of their calories in sugar, more than doubled their risk of dying from heart disease than those whose diets included 10 percent of sugar. (Learn what sugar is doing to our heart and our immune system at our next webinar)
Where are they getting all of this sugar? Many are getting sugar from sodas, energy drinks, and sports drinks, which account for more than one-third of our national added sugar consumption. However, there are some who are unintentionally having sugar binges with foods that are saturated in sugar, such as sneaky snacks, sauces, and sandwich buns.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends the average person on a 2,000-calorie diet to consume no more than 10 teaspoons of sugar each day, or the equivalent to a 12-ounce soda. Sugar is the quiet chameleon of our food system. It changes forms from sucrose, corn sweeteners, glucose, dextrose, honey, maple sugar, and molasses. It’s guilefully hidden in pizza bread, hot dogs, soups, crackers, canned vegetables, mayonnaise, and peanut butter. (Learn more foods with hidden sugar)

Health advocates turn their backs on added sugars, which are sugars that are literally added to foods or beverages when they’re processed or prepared, because of their emptiness. Added sugars contribute no nutritional value to our diets and are thus essentially useless. But yet we’re consuming almost 152 lbs. of sugar each year, which is equal to 6 cups or 3 lbs. a week. Two hundred years ago, the average American only ate 2 lbs. of sugar each year, according to the USDA. Thanks to our demand, the supply brings us sugar shockers that are ready to ruin our diets everywhere.

Our bodies can only handle 20 grams of sugar a day for adult women and 36 grams of sugar a day for adult men, according to the American Health Association. Anything extra is turned into fat in our bodies unless it’s used as energy in an intense workout or other physical activity, Miller says.

The top 6 “SNEAKY SUGARS” in supposedly healthy diets are:
1.Odwalla Original Superfood Drink: 37 grams of sugar, 190 calories
2.McDonald’s Fruit & Maple Oatmeal: 32 grams of sugar, 290 calories
3.Starbucks Greek Yogurt and Honey Parfait: 30 grams of sugar, 260 calories
4.Ocean Spray Craisins: 29 grams of sugar, 130 calories
5.Yoplait Yogurt, Strawberry: 26 grams of sugar, 170 calories
6.Power Bar Performance, Chocolate Peanut Butter: 26 grams of sugar, 240 calories
If you enjoyed this piece, please click here to register for our next stem cell webinar on diet and the immune system which will be held this Wednesday June 11th at 5pm Eastern Daylight Time. You can also scroll down and learn more about our Stem Cell Webinar.

Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj - Stem Cell Webinar - Diet and the Immune System

***SPACE IS LIMITED – REGISTER TODAY***

Food IS Medicine – The Impact of Diet on Your Immune System (Stem Cells)

Are we really what we eat?

A common misnomer was that diet played a very little role in disease management and prevention. As long as you took medication XYZ your particular ailment would be held in check. You could slam down three Big Macs a day and it wouldn’t make a difference.

Thankfully we know better these days and have seen the impact that diet has on our bodies. From bacterial growth, problems in digestion, to hormonal imbalance, our diets are playing more of a role that you probably think.

Even worse is when our body has to utilize the power of its immune system to undo the damage inflicted by poor foods that stimulate the production of inflammatory cytokines. As inflammation proliferates in the body we end up seeing thing such as hyperinsulinism, weight gain, and overall immune dysfunction.

Conversely, those with a proper diet have been shown to have lower risk factors for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and so much more. In addition, individuals who have undergone a diet overhaul have seen in many cases their immune function go up.

In this webinar we will discuss how the immune system plays a role with diet, and potential ways that we might have improving stem cell function and overall immune function with diet. New clinical and laboratory data will be discussed that highlights key concepts in this process.

Come and join me and physicians from around the world this June 11th as we explore evidence based information on diet and the immune system, discussing some of the latest breakthroughs and studies in patient care.

What: Stem Cell Webinar: Aging & The Immune System

When: June 11, 2014 5PM Eastern Time

Where: Online – Click Here to Register or paste link below into your browser

If you get out what you put in, then people should really start to examine the harmful impacts of eating a poor diet.

To sign up for the free webinar please visit the link below:
http://stemcell.enterthemeeting.com/m/PUFEJWYB

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

Kind Regards,

Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj
Medical Director
South Florida Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant Institute

Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj MD Featured on the Cover of Boomer Times & Senior Life Magazine

Dipnarine Maharaj featured in Boomer TImes Magazine Cover

Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj Featured on the December 2013 cover of Boomer Times & Senior Life Magazine

Recentley, Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj MD was featured on the cover of Boomer Times & Senior Life Magazine.  Dr. Maharaj was chosen to appear on the cover along with several other prominent physicians after his address at the C.U.R.E. Symposium.  At the CURE Symposium Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj lectured on his latest breakthroughs in adult stem cell therapies and regenerative medicine.  Dr. Maharaj wants everyone to know that by working on the immune system we can unlock the body’s ability to reduce inflammation, and heal itself.

Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj first made his discoveries with stem cell therapies while working with patients with various blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.  What he recommends to every healthy adult is to check your immune system and to bank your immune system for the future by collecting and storing your own healthy adult stem cells.

Dipnarine Maharaj Community Education Outreach Effort Begins

Community Education Outreach Effort Begins

Dipnarine Maharaj

Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj MD speaking at a lecture

 

As part of our ongoing efforts to promote the viability and efficacy of adult stem cells.  The Stem Cell Cancer and Regenerative Medicine Inc. Foundation has launched a new community outreach program designed to educate local groups in Palm Beach County and South Florida about the advances in adult stem cells as well as the approved treatable diseases.  In addition, we are also educating the community about our own clinical trial and what that could present to the future of Medicine for the treatment of illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and many others.

To date, the Foundation has coordinated adult stem cell lectures with the Rotary Club of Boca Raton Downtown, the Palm Beach County Democratic Club, Kiwanis Club of Boca Raton, Rotary Club of Delray Beach, Kiwanis Club of Palm Beach, Point Vecchio Community, Arden Courts Retirement Community, MDVIP Patient lecture series, Avenue Wellness Summer Lecture Series, and several other local synagogues and community groups.

Dr. Maharaj has been actively educating the general public on the need to collect and story their own stem cells while they are healthy so that they can have their immune systems stored in the event that they develop a major disease down the road.  As the number of approved indications rises the benefit of collecting and storing your stem cells will only grow.

Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj Discusses Adult Stem Cell Breakthroughs in Parkinson’s

Dipnarine Maharaj

Dipnarine Maharaj during the apheresis process

The South Florida Bone Marrow Stem Cell Transplant Institute, under the direction of Medical Director and this Clinical Trial Principal Investigator, Dipnarine Maharaj MD, FACP, is studying the neuroprotective effects of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) in several neurological disease models including Parkinson’s disease (PD).  The present study is an extension of his previously published work which reported on the therapeutic effect of G-CSF after the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3, 6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) model of PD in mice was established.

Based on the mouse model, he found that G-CSF treatment markedly increased the number of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) of the G-CSF-treated group. Consistent with this finding, he found a significant increase in dopamine release under high K+ stimulation in the striatum of the G-CSF-treated animals compared to the MPTP-exposed mice.

Finally, he observed a persistent recovery of locomotor function in the G-CSF-treated animals. These results suggest the potential therapeutic value of G-CSF in treating PD, which he wishes to study further on humans with funding.