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Stem cells


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I have a question about stem cells. I am of couse not educated on this or for that matter, not in the medical field so I probably will not have a good understanding how this works. this is youe expertise. Stem cells, should tese be extracated before any type of treatment (chemo, radiatio, etc.) or is it ok after treatment. Also how does it help to rid you body of CA, tumor, blood supply and etc. I hope I don't sound stupid, but I know you are familiar about how this works. What I am asking is layman's translation...



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I am definitely a layman also, but here goes.

Stem cells are cells that are not specialized and have the ability to become other cells (red and white blood cells in particular).

There are two types of stem cells: embryonic and adult

adult stem cells are a little different from embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells have the ability to become any kind of cell (brain, heart, liver, etc). You everyone is born they are essentially a mass of about 30 cells that eventually become specialized.

There are different therapies using stem cells:

1) stem cell support

"Stem cells are immature blood cells that are often killed by treatment which normally develop into red blood cells, which carry oxygen to tissues; white blood cells, which are immune cells; and platelets, which aid the blood in clotting. The collection of stem cells from the patient prior to treatment and re-infusion following treatment remedies the situation of low blood cell levels and allows for more aggressive treatment."

http://www.411cancer.com/syndication/ve ... ypeID=NEWS

2) stem cell transplant

Stem cell or bone marrow transplants are usually used in Leukemia and lymphomas.

It is interesting that low-dose chemo is also being tried. I guess no one knows for sure yet.

High-Dose Chemotherapy: High-doses of chemotherapy are more effective at killing cancer cells than lower doses. However, high-dose chemotherapy (HDC) destroys many other cells in the body, including stem cells. Stem cells are immature blood cells produced in the bone marrow which mature into either red blood cells, which carry oxygen to tissues; white blood cells, which fight infection; and platelets, which aid the blood in clotting. A stem cell transplant (SCT) is a procedure that replaces the stem cells that are destroyed by high-dose chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy with healthy stem cells. There are two main types of stem cell transplants. Autologous stem cell transplants use a patient’s own stem cells, which are collected prior to the high-dose treatment and then re-infused after the treatment. Allogeneic stem cell transplants use stem cells collected from the blood or bone marrow of a related or unrelated donor.

Early attempts at using very high doses of chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant produced high cancer response rates, but the treatment was associated with significant side effects. In the 1990s, several technologic advances have made high-dose chemotherapy safer and easier to deliver. Two studies have indicated that high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplant improve progression-free survival and overall survival in patients with limited disease SCLC. In one of these studies, doctors from Harvard University used HDC and autologous SCT to treat patients who had achieved a partial disappearance of cancer after standard chemotherapy treatment. Five years following treatment, 41% of patients survived. Of the patients who achieved a complete or near-complete remission prior to receiving HDC, 53% were alive without evidence of cancer recurrence five years from treatment. The other, more recent, study was conducted in Switzerland and involved 18 patients with limited disease SCLC who received HDC and autologous SCT. Fourteen patients in the study were able to complete the intensive therapy. The total anti-cancer response rate was 95%. Two years following treatment, 55% of patients had no progression of cancer and the overall survival was 65%. The average progression-free survival was 29 months and the average overall survival has not yet been reached.

Recent studies have also indicated that higher initial doses of chemotherapy appear to improve long-term survival rates in patients with limited SCLC. The New England Journal of Medicine recently published long-term follow-up data from one study that compared higher and lower initial doses of chemotherapy. This clinical trial involved 105 patients who received either higher or lower doses of the chemotherapy agents Platinol® or cyclophosphamide. The results of the trial indicated that patients who received higher doses of chemotherapy had improved survival compared to patients who received lower doses. The researchers who conducted this clinical trial recently re-evaluated these patients after an average follow-up period of 11 years to determine if the survival benefits of the higher doses of chemotherapy persisted. Two years following treatment, 42% of the patients who had received higher doses of chemotherapy were still alive, compared to only 20% of the patients who had received the lower doses. Similarly, five years following treatment, 26% of the patients who had received higher doses were alive, compared to only 8% of patients who had received lower doses. Although the survival benefits of the higher dose chemotherapy declined over time, survival was still highest 10 years following therapy in the patients who had received the higher doses of chemotherapy.

The results of these studies suggest that higher initial doses of chemotherapy appears to improve long-term survival rates in patients with limited SCLC. These results emphasize the importance of maintaining dose intensity, indicating that dose reduction due to side effects may hinder achievement of optimal outcomes. To learn more about high-dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplant, go to Stem Cell Transplant.

3) future stem cell research

There seems to be some research on finding the way cancer behaves like stem cells and figuring out how to target that using new drugs.

nucleostemin is one

I may be incorrect in some of this info since I am not an expert, so keep on asking questions.

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