HERBS FOR HEALTH MANAGEMENT

Herbs are a foundational root in medicine and health treatments, dating back thousands of years throughout every culture around the world. Modern Western herbalism comes from ancient Egypt. The Greeks developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine by 100 BCE and the Romans built upon it to create a variety of medical practices, some of which are still used today.

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE IMPACTS PSYCHOLOGICAL HARDINESS

Psychological hardiness is an individual’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. It includes the ability to withstand grief and accept the loss of loved ones. Alternative medicine is a more popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medical approaches but are often used along with conventional medicinal protocols.  Coping and dealing with stress in a positive manner play a major role in maintaining the balance needed for health and well-being.

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ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Some of these remedies include:

St. John’s Wort.  More than 30 studies show it to be effective for treatment of mild forms of depression,…

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Translational Medicine this February. They used a vaccine-like injection containing two stimulators that activate the immune system’s T-cells to eliminate tumors throughout the body, and 87 of 90 mice were cured of cancer. When the agent was injected into tumors, they all disappeared in less than 20 days – including tumors that were not injected. The combination was successful against lymphoma, breast, colon and melanoma tumors.


After testing several molecules, Stanford researchers found combining CpG oligonucleotide, which has been used as a vaccine adjuvant since 2011, and BMS-986178, the antibody that binds to a protein called OX40, was the secret recipe to annihilating cancer completely, at least in mice. CpG and OX40 rouse different immune cells. CpG stimulates dendritic cells, which instigates counterattacks against tumors, and OX40 functions as a throttle for T-cells. On their own they do almost nothing, but together they concomitantly activate the immune cells already in the tumor.


“When we use these two agents together, we see the elimination of tumors all over the body,” said Levy. “This approach doesn’t require wholesale activation of the immune system or customization of a patient’s immune cells. This is a very targeted approach. Only the tumor that shares the protein targets displayed by the treated site is affected. We’re attacking specific targets without having to identify exactly what proteins the T-cells are recognizing.”


This vaccine candidate will not be a cancer cure-all because it isn’t designed to treat cancers that aren’t solid tumors. Levy expects the treatment won’t be available for another year or two if the FDA grants final approval after human clinical trials.

IMMUNOTHERAPY TREATMENTS SHOW PROMISE IN FIGHT AGAINST CANCER

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

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metastases, and since it’s a form of herpes, it is not appropriate for people with weak immune systems or pregnant women.


In 2017, the FDA approved CAR-T, a form of cell therapy for some types of leukemia and lymphoma. Each dose of Kymriah is created by sending the patient’s own T-cells to a manufacturing center where they are modified to include a new gene containing a specific protein called a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). These CAR-T cells, called a “living drug,” are then infused back into the patient, where they target and kill leukemia cells. The treatment is used as a third option for lymphoma and leukemia patients who have not responded to standard treatments such as chemotherapy, says Dr. Michelle Hermiston, who directs the pediatric immunotherapy program at the University of California-San Francisco. The treatment has raised survival rates from about 10 percent to 15 percent to more than 60 percent, but it’s both labor intensive and very expensive. It, too, has a number of side effects: fever, confusion, organ failure and a chance of permanent loss of the B cells responsible for producing antibodies.


Currently, Levy is conducting Phase I human clinical trials for his and Dr. Idit Sagiv-Barfi’s stunning results with mice that were published online in Science

One reason cancer is so devastating is it cons the immune system. Immune cells such as T-cells (a type of white blood cell known as a lymphocyte) recognize the abnormal proteins present on the surface of cancer cells and infiltrate them to attack the tumor. However, as the tumor grows, it devises ways to suppress the T-cells’ activity. Immunotherapy attempts to help the immune system combat cancer’s cunning adaptations.


“Getting the immune system to fight cancer is one of the most recent developments in cancer treatment,” said Dr. Ronald Levy, a pioneer in cancer immunotherapy. His research led to the development of rituximab, one of the first monoclonal antibodies approved for use in certain cancers and autoimmune diseases by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in 1997. Rituximab is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines.


Imylgic was the first injectable immunotherapy approved by the FDA in 2015 to treat melanoma. A genetically engineered form of herpes simplex 1, imylgic is injected directly into tumors and replicates inside the cancer cells, causing them to rupture and die. Antibodies are then released into the body, which may trigger an immune response. Imylgic has proven helpful against skin lesions and lymph nodes, but it has some drawbacks: It doesn’t improve overall survival or prevent