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Old 25th September 2021, 10:47 AM   #1
Fellow Traveler
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Stem cell (political football ? ) or legit?

I have a sister critically ill with cancer. Does stem cell research promise help?
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Old 25th September 2021, 11:10 AM   #2
The Great Zaganza
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I'm really sorry. I hope she'll get better.

I am not an expert, and I would be wary of new miracle cures, especially if you need them NOW.
Remember that not even Steve Jobs found a miracle cure, and he certainly had the resources to find one, if there was one.

I don't quite see how stem cells would fit into a cancer therapy.

There are some very promising therapies being researched.
One that is available for one type of cancer, but might soon become more widely applicable, is a drug carrying an alpha-particle emitting isotope
(https://www.aps.org/publications/aps...1406/alpha.cfm), to locally and internally irradiate the tumor.
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Old 25th September 2021, 11:54 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Fellow Traveler View Post
I have a sister critically ill with cancer. Does stem cell research promise help?
Yes, but not in the short term.
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Old 25th September 2021, 11:57 AM   #4
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Thank you Z . We are all basket cases. She has cancer of the peritonium (sp unsure) the lining of the tummy. She will have chemo every 2 weeks and then they will do the surgery plus more chemo. I fear that part of the body spreads it. Supposed to be genetic.
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Old 25th September 2021, 12:54 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Fellow Traveler View Post
Thank you Z . We are all basket cases. She has cancer of the peritonium (sp unsure) the lining of the tummy. She will have chemo every 2 weeks and then they will do the surgery plus more chemo. I fear that part of the body spreads it. Supposed to be genetic.
<The following is not posed by Catsmate, I've asked one of my SOs [a physician] to comment.>

That's bad luck for her, primary peritoneal cancer is quite rare. Unfortunately (as you probably know) the tissue not only lines the abdomen but also the bladder, uterus, and rectum. It's a pretty tricky one to diagnose too (so it's often caught late), and spreads fast.
I assume she's at stage II or III?

If she's getting chemo every two weeks it's probably being done on an outpatient basis (i.e. she's not hospitalised) and they're not using intraperitoneal chemotherapy (i.e. via a surgically implanted catheter).

I'm sorry to say that survival rates are not good.

My best wishes to her, to you and to your family.
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Old 25th September 2021, 01:07 PM   #6
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Thanks.
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Old 25th September 2021, 02:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Fellow Traveler View Post
I have a sister critically ill with cancer. Does stem cell research promise help?
...
She has cancer of the peritonium (sp unsure) the lining of the tummy. She will have chemo every 2 weeks and then they will do the surgery plus more chemo. I fear that part of the body spreads it. Supposed to be genetic.
Not currently. Nor likely to. There was a vogue for high dose chemotherapy with stem cell rescue, essentially using your own stem cells harvested from blood pre chemo, to help you recover post chemo. It was tainted by some fraudulent research and seemed no better than conventional chemo.

The best bet is if there is a genetic mutation allowing a biological therapy to be used. There are a number of trials that screen for mutations and identify possible biological agents.

As above peritoneal cancer is not really curative by radiation or surgery. What is now called systemic anti-cancer therapy SACT will be the main modality of therapy.

There are a number of cancers than can effect the peritoneum, the only one I can think of that might be genetic is BRAC associated ovarian cancer that often spreads to the peritoneum. Rarely mesothelioma can affect the peritoneum, some cases have been reported as carrying the ALK gene which opens up the possibility of biological therapy.

I wonder if discussions of screening for mutations are what you were referring to by genetic?
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Old 25th September 2021, 03:00 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Remember that not even Steve Jobs found a miracle cure, and he certainly had the resources to find one, if there was one.
My understanding is that Steve Jobs tried to cure himself with woo while his cancer was relatively operable and only when it was far advanced did he try proper medicine.
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Old 26th September 2021, 03:35 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
My understanding is that Steve Jobs tried to cure himself with woo while his cancer was relatively operable and only when it was far advanced did he try proper medicine.
Yeah, I know.
My point is that Jobs didn't like the empirical medicine was giving him, so he looked elsewhere. Part of the anti-big-pharma narrative is that they have a cure for cancer but only hand it out to their pals.
If that cure existed, Jobs would have gotten it.

It's better to be realistic than to waste precious time and money on unsupported medical claims.
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Old 26th September 2021, 04:28 AM   #10
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I don't think stem cells currently offer any treatment for cancer, but perhaps the OP is recalling something related to recent work in cancer immunotherapy?

CAR-T cell therpies for instance have shown some important success, though I understand mostly in blood-cancers.

The idea behind cancer immunotherapy is that the immune system actually destroys most cancerous cells that develop. Those that escape this fate do so by having particular mutations that hide them from the immune system. For instance there is a particular mechanism by which t-cells can double check if something they are attacking is your own cell. Tumors often produce this molecule to tell the immune system not to attack them. One method of treatment is to turn off the receptor that the t-cells have to that molecule, thus they will then attack the cancer (problem: they are also more prone to attacking other cells in your body as you've just turned off a failsafe).

There are a number of different immunotherapies under development, but all work with the basic premise of getting the immune system to recognize and attack the cancer cells in the body. This is a relatively old field but one that didn't have any real successes until around 2010. Since then there's been a lot of new work happening.

Whether or not this is at all of interest to the OP, I have no idea. I have just learned a little about an exciting new field of research on cancer treatment from recently reading a book on the subject. As should be obvious I don't remember the details particularly clearly. Though there's exciting research happening and treatments being developed, this is all relatively new. There are dangers and people have been killed by these treatments (though generally they were likely to be killed by their cancer soon, given that they were participants in clinical trials).

I only comment because I think the OP may have been trying to ask about cancer immunotherapy without knowing enough to use that term.
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Old 26th September 2021, 05:03 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
I don't think stem cells currently offer any treatment for cancer, but perhaps the OP is recalling something related to recent work in cancer immunotherapy?

CAR-T cell therpies for instance have shown some important success, though I understand mostly in blood-cancers.

The idea behind cancer immunotherapy is that the immune system actually destroys most cancerous cells that develop. Those that escape this fate do so by having particular mutations that hide them from the immune system. For instance there is a particular mechanism by which t-cells can double check if something they are attacking is your own cell. Tumors often produce this molecule to tell the immune system not to attack them. One method of treatment is to turn off the receptor that the t-cells have to that molecule, thus they will then attack the cancer (problem: they are also more prone to attacking other cells in your body as you've just turned off a failsafe).

There are a number of different immunotherapies under development, but all work with the basic premise of getting the immune system to recognize and attack the cancer cells in the body. This is a relatively old field but one that didn't have any real successes until around 2010. Since then there's been a lot of new work happening.

Whether or not this is at all of interest to the OP, I have no idea. I have just learned a little about an exciting new field of research on cancer treatment from recently reading a book on the subject. As should be obvious I don't remember the details particularly clearly. Though there's exciting research happening and treatments being developed, this is all relatively new. There are dangers and people have been killed by these treatments (though generally they were likely to be killed by their cancer soon, given that they were participants in clinical trials).

I only comment because I think the OP may have been trying to ask about cancer immunotherapy without knowing enough to use that term.
Yes this is one part of biological therapies that are showing great success whether immunological, or cell signalling, or growth factors. This is now wrapped in with traditional chemotherapy to be what is now called SACT; systemic anti-cancer therapy.
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Old 26th September 2021, 05:59 AM   #12
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There are "clinics" in Mexico, China and other places offering stem cell "treatments" but as per what others have said, if they are making claims to cure or treat your sister's cancer it is sadly simply a lie.
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Old 28th September 2021, 02:38 PM   #13
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I am not a doctor, so take this with a healthy dose of skepticism. I only know a little about it because my dear Rose had something similar a few years back. So far she is hanging tough. But hers was caught in "precancer" stage. She still must go through screenings often though. So far she seems to be the exception to the rule. Surgery caught it soon enough to work. They did remove a whole lot of peritoneal tissue, one ovary and her uterus though. That has its own negative side effects but she is alive and functioning well enough to even go back to work.

The only legit use of stem cell research on cancer I have seen is bone marrow/stem cell replacement for certain bone cancers.

Sadly what I saw said even the new breakthroughs with Immunotherapy are not very useful for peritoneal cancer because of the multiple failsafe's that need turned off...

Unless it is really ovarian/fallopian tube cancer that spread to the peritoneal tissue. If that is the case, then there are several treatments and even immunotherapy and cancer vaccines that have shown a LOT of promise. Also there are trials available that your sister can sign up for if her particular type hasn't got an approved effective treatment as of yet.

Sending compassionate love and prayers for your sister.
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