I am Tayler Corbett, a senior at Monona Grove High School, Class of 2015. I was interested by the topic, stem cell therapy for cancer, because my grandpa was diagnosised 3 years ago. Although he wasn't the first in my family to be diagnosised with cancer, he was the first survivor. Due to new medical discoveries and techniques over the years, my grandpa was able to stop the cancer before it became severe and/ or changed into a more severe type of cancer. I want to know how and why my grandpa recieved cancer, and learn about new medical discoveries (like stem cell therapy) that could have saved other members of my family.
Stem Cell Therapy for Leukemia
Cellular therapy is the process that uses cells to prevent, treat, or cure diseases. From the 1970's, doctors have been using bone marrow and blood and umbilical cord-derived stem cells to restore bone marrow/blood/immune system cells destroyed by chemotherapy and radiation used to treat cancer. But today, reasearchers have developed more advanced mechanism to treat diseases more accurately. Today, according to investigators from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, cellular therapy is one of the most exciting methods of cancer treatment today. 88% of patients with advanced leukemia were able to complete remissions after being treated with cellular therapy. This gives tons of people hope today, because it demostrates that cell therapy is a extrodinary treatment for patients who have tried many other treatments with no luck.
Cell therapy can be traced back to nineteenth century, when injected animal testicle extracts was an attempt to stop the effects of aging. Later on, in 1931 Paul Niehans attempted to cure a patient by injecting material from calf embryos. Niehans claimed to have treated many people for cancer using this technique.In 1953, researchers found that laboratory animals could be helped to reject organ transplants by pre-inoculating them with cells from donor animals.In 1998, James Thompson created the first embryonic stem cell lines. Later in that same year, James Gearhart got germ cells in tissue. The old way to get these cells was through in vitro fertolization. This was a great accomplishment but it did cause some ethical complications. In 2004, it was made legal to perform stem cell research in California. Recently, cell therapy using human material has been known as an important field for treatment of human diseases. Stem Cell Therapy has shown promising way to cure cancer in patients today.
Since the beginning of stem cell therapy in 2004, people have founded two different groups of stem cells to help cure patients. The first type of stem cell is pluripotent stem cells. These cells have the ability to change into any type of tissue. They are very abundant and easy to identify. Pluripoten stems are obtained from embryos cells. Another group of stem cells, multi-potent stem cells, have several advantages and disadvantages. Their advantages are that they can be isolated from adult patients and that there isn’t the possibility of rejection by the immune system. However, its disadvantages are that they are only found in some tissues, they are rare and hard to identify. Both stem cells are still a work in progress due to the fact society hasn't come to a conclusion over whether they wants to create a new life or repair an existing one. People are also arguing over the question if human life starts when the sperm fertilizes the egg. Some people believe that embryos only have the potential to develop into a human being, because they do not have brains, memories, internal organs, limbs, consciousness and sensory organs. They believe that the life of humans only begins when the heartbeat develops, which is during the 5th week of pregnancy or when the brain starts to develop activity, which is 54 days after conception.
Learn more about these two different types of stem cells:
"Roger Madoff was diagnosed with leukemia in 2002. After enduring two years of chemotherapy and radiation, two stem-cell transplants and numerous immuno-suppressive treatments, he felt strong enough to write about his experience.
Roger was a reporter for Bloomberg News and lived in New York City with his wife, Jen, and dog, Milo. He died on April 15, 2006, at the age of 32, from the debilitating side effects of his second transplant.
This book is filled with the strength, humor, love and hope that defined his life."
The Emperor of All Maladies
by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Publication Date: 2011-08-09
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificent, profoundly humane "biography" of cancer-from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence. Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist's precision, a historian's perspective, and a biographer's passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with-and perished from-for more than five thousand years. The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience, and perseverance, but also of hubris, paternalism, and misperception. Mukherjee recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories, and deaths, told through the eyes of his predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary that, just three decades ago, was thought to be easily vanquished in an all-out "war against cancer." The book reads like a literary thriller with cancer as the protagonist. From the Persian Queen Atossa, whose Greek slave may have cut off her diseased breast, to the nineteenth-century recipients of primitive radiation and chemotherapy to Mukherjee's own leukemia patient, Carla, The Emperor of All Maladies is about the people who have soldiered through fiercely demanding regimens in order to survive-and to increase our understanding of this iconic disease. Riveting, urgent, and surprising, The Emperor of All Maladies provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of cancer treatments. It is an illuminating book that provides hope and clarity to those seeking to demystify cancer.
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Although this video may be long, I recommend watching this video so that you can form your own opionons on how you feel about stem cell therapy.
Discovery of key new biomarkers and the development of new molecular diagnostic tests that may be linked to new therapies are likely to transform cancer patient care. New molecular diagnostic tools have the ability to predict disease progression and drive personalized care. This will allowdoctors to more clearly and specifically define medical conditions. Personalized medicine can increase the percentage of patients who benefit from treatment, lower the rate of serious adverse events and ultimately improve outcomes. As far as cancer care is concerned, immunotherapy, the use of a vaccine for cancer treatment, is recognized as a potential breakthrough treatment option for patients. Immunotherapy is likely to deliver the promise to “cure cancer,” or at a minimum, convert cancer to a more manageable chronic disease promising extended time periods of disease free survival and minimal side effects. Advancements in laboratory automation and multiplex testing will continue to evolve also.