Chemo Therapy works for some but not for all

From a post on Team Inspire

Chemo Therapy works for some but not for all. Alternative treatments.

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March 18, 2016 at 12:36 am 1,201 replies Shared with the public

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I have worked in the chemistry of biological molecules (biochemistry) my whole life, but not in cancer research or cell biology. So after I got 2 cancers I am educating myself (and others) about cancer by reading original research papers.

1. Do we need to strengthen our immune system to fight cancer?

If we don't have constant infections then our immune system is strong. We don't need anything to strengthen it more.

2. Why does not our immune system kill cancer?

Because cancer is our own cells and the immune system knows not to kill them. Cancer cells have signals of "self" on the surface.

3. How chemotherapy drugs work?

They chemically attack DNA of the cells when they divide because DNA is exposed during cell division. After their attack the cell dies. As cancer cells divide very frequently, the chemo drugs kill mostly cancer cells and much less normal cells. There are also fast dividing normal cells like white blood cells or hair follicles. But they can recover after the treatment.

4. Can cancer return after chemotherapy and why?

Cancer is not a homogeneous mass. It's a combination of many subclones with different mutations that are unique for every person. It's like a tree with many branches. The growth of cancer tumor occurs via branched clonal expansion. Chemo drugs may kill >99% of the tumor, but a tiny % of cells might survive due to some specific mutations in their DNA. It's called a minimal residual disease. This clone of cells with these specific mutations that helped them to survive becomes drug resistant. The tumor from the drug resistant clone proliferates also by branched clonal expansion and becomes very heterogeneous, so no new drug can kill the whole tumor 100%. It's the biggest problem in cancer research.

5. Alternative treatments?

Cancer is so complicated that without understanding its mechanism and cell biology you cannot cure cancer by home made remedies. They might have a placebo-like effect and people feel that they are doing something for their cancer.

6. How do the new immunotherapies work?

They block the signals of "self" on cancer cells or signals on immune cells (checkpoints) that recognize those "self" signals. There are many checkpoints on immune cells and there are many signals of "self" on cancer cells. Examples: PD-L1, PD-L2, CD47 of "self" signals. Other immunotherapies teach our immune cells to recognize cancer despite "self" signals.

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  • "Alternative treatments?

    Cancer is so complicated that without understanding its mechanism and cell biology you cannot cure cancer by home made remedies. They might have a placebo-like effect and people feel that they are doing something for their cancer."

    Interesting. I have spent over 20 years exploring the so-called alternative world. I now like to call it Holistic. One segment is to strengthen the immune system. In this era when Immunology is the rage, it cannot be ignored. My nonprofit Annie Appleseed Project, has been proposing healthy lifestyle (simple) 3 Steps 4 Health that help you take control of your own body.

    Other areas are related to the human body. Yes, cancer is complex and partly because we are ALL different. Cancer is our own cells going haywire - there are thousands of reasons it is so current. Dirty air, water, soil, pesticides, preservatives, plastics, artificial colors, artificial flavors, fire retardants on clothing and furniture, formaldehyde everywhere. Toxic cleaning products, and of course what we could have control of - what we EAT, how physically ACTIVE we are, and how we handle Stress. We could DETOX in many ways, we can take Dietary Supplements to support our bodies, minds and health. And there is tons of evidence, just NOT Level 1 because it is unaffordable for any but Big Pharma and their Billion$.

  • Sorry this post was no meant to be offensive I just found it to be an interesting article. The focus of this post was was meant to be on the biology and molecular make up of cancer cells not about alternative treatment. This post was about how certain chemos are ineffectual in the treatment of certain types of breast cancer

  • I do not find it offensive, but I felt sone information would be helpful to all.

  • AnnieAppleseed/Sisters/Warriors Yes there are many contributing factors that cause cancer. I also believe there are also many known, and unknown ways to cure it. Thank you so much for standing up for some of the alternative treatments that may work for some women and,may not work for other women, no different than some pharmaceutical company cancer treatments.Many women/men should look into the best of both worlds by speaking with or consulting with an Integrative doctor. This is a medically certified doctor trained like traditional doctors in hospitals,private practice, and other health care facilities. These doctors have additional training in alternative holistic modalities.God knows more options/choices for a cure will save more lives.For me my #1 doctor is Doctor/God ,and my prayer is that he will direct the medical doctors , holistic doctors or Integrative doctors on my and those struggling with this disease on a path to restoration/healing.Amen!

  • Is this a plug for you're company? I don't get it! We deal with people whom are. It dealing with Mets or cancer in any capicity telling us to do something different than the paths we have chosen to take. Giving us advice to just take something for the fungus, herbal medicines, tumuric, drink this, eat that, take bitter mellon, use oil from marajuana. But, to see this here really is silly.

    I am not sure of anyone else but, I for one did not expect to see anything like this.

    I look at what everyone else is going through and what is working for their bodies. I definitely know what happens to mine. And we can derive any help to use to talk to our Oncologists about when we are not aware of some of the other treatments due to the choices our Oncologist have made for us with protocols used at this time for our situations, and our bodies needs.

  • I believe that this forum is open to the various opinions that community members might have. CAM or Complimentary Alternative Medicine can offer a wide range of treatment options designed to enhance quality of life, increase self-awareness, and help prevent and manage physical and emotional symptoms of cancer More and more Doctors are embracing CAM therapies, often combining them with mainstream medical therapies — spawning the term "integrative medicine. Although conventional medicine values therapies that have been demonstrated through research and testing to be safe and effective, there exists much scientific evidence for some CAM therapies which can be a integral part of cancer treatment.

  • Great Glad to have an expert's opinion

  • Thank you. This information is very helpful. The research in immunology is exciting and has been useful in treating certain cancers. Hopefully, it will open more doors for other cancer treatment.

  • Fightterm has done an enormous amount of research and is clearly very well informed - I read her posts on another site and found them most informative. Far from being offensive I believe her take on treatments is all part of how we should be looking at our own situations. I too use a holistic approach as far as possible but am also on chemo (Xeloda) for ER+ mets to the liver (seems to be working well) but I do believe we all need to keep our bodies & spirits as well as possible irrespective of how the biology of cancer works and I don't think she would disagree.

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