The human immune system helps to protect the body against illness and infection caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. This process is achieved by a collection of reactions and responses made by the body to damage these infected cells. It is also called immune responses.
This immune system is very crucial in cancer patients to help fight cancer, it dictates this cancer as abnormal and destroys it, but this is not enough to rid of cancer altogether. In most cases, cancer will weaken this immune system because it will spread into the bone marrow that produces blood cells that fights against infections and cause the bone marrow to decrease in its blood cell production.
When this immune system is unable to recognize these cells as abnormal, cellular growth will occur, causing uncontrolled growth and division of cells, that will, in turn, lead to cancer.
Cancer has been a serious and sensitive talk for both patients and doctors. Being diagnosed with cancer is frightening and tormenting, but due to the latest treatment method, recovering from this disease is increasingly possible. Living with cancer often brings an initial psychological crisis, but surprisingly it does not only affect you but your family and others close to you.
Cancers, especially genetic cancer can’t be prevented, so it is essential to be proactive about your health. If you’re diagnosed with cancer, some individual lifestyles that will help improve your cancer care, which includes managing stress. Reducing your stress level can help you to maintain physical and mental stress; you can use relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga. Getting enough sleep is also crucial for patients living with cancer; this will help improve their health, mood, and coping ability. Also, it is best the limit their exposure to toxins that can increase one’s risk of being exposed to other deadly diseases.
A healthy feeding habit is critically important and can help manage cancer side effects, improve health, and quick recovery. Some tips to help you develop a good and healthy feeding diet include:
- Consuming assorted types of vegetables in all your meals. Vegetables are essential and should not just be a side dish but the centerpiece of your meal.
- Consuming foods rich in fiber like grains, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.
- Consuming less red meat, like pork, lamb, goat, and bison.
- The presence of probiotic and prebiotic foods helps to support a healthy gut. Probiotic foods include yogurt or other fermented vegetables, and prebiotic foods include raw or cooked onions, dandelion greens, and legumes.
- Avoid processed and canned foods
- Avoid foods high in calories and low in nutrients like fruit-flavored drinks, sodas, candies, and sweets.
- Lastly, cut down on the excessive intake of alcohol.
Some other routines can help improve cancer care like regular exercise. Regular exercise helps to control fatigue, muscle tension, and anxiety in those with cancer, and it is essential, especially during and after cancer treatment, so keep fit and avoid adding unnecessary weight.
There are many cancer treatment options for different types of cancers. Cancer treatments depend on the type and how to advance it is. Some patients with cancer will only have one treatment option, while others will end up with a combination of more that one treatments technique depending on the type and stage of cancer.
Curing cancer is one of the significant challenges of the 21st century. However, few advances to tame the immune system are getting closer to a future where cancer can be a curable disease.
Although cancer treatment is dependent on the stage and type, we need a wide range of therapies that work on cellular level like NK cell and stem cell therapies, wide enough to cover the whole spectrum of cancer. Cancer therapies involving the immune system is believed to be a milestone for cancer treatment advances, and the development of multiple immune cells as a therapeutic tool.
Our knowledge of cancer has dramatically improved in recent years. And it seems increasingly evident that there has been a surge of new technologies, and these technologies could make a great impact on the way we treat cancer, taking us closer to finally curing this deadly disease.
One of these promising cancer treatment advances is the natural killer (NK) cell-based immunotherapy.
Natural killer cells have emerged as the newest promising therapeutic approach to cancer. Our understanding of the biological processes that take place in cancer is increasing rapidly, leading to this new type of targeted treatment and therapeutic approach. It is hard to overstate the possible importance of NK cells in the future of cancer. Modern researches have shown that NK cells are a type of treatment that stimulates a persons’ immune system to fight cancer, and this may give room for a greater number of chances to beat cancer for good. NK cells are also known for their ability to target cancer stem cells making these cancer stem cells visible to the immune system.
NK cells was first identified in the 1970s as a unique lymphocyte subset that can recognize and kill abnormal cells without prior sensitization of specific tumor antigen, thus preventing the growth of many cancers. During the late 1980s, something was observed, and this was that NK cells could destroy a lymphoma cell line that had lost MHC class I surface molecules while the original MHC class I+ cells were resistant to lysis, which led to the formation of the “missing self-hypothesis” which states that NK cells can sense the absence of “self” MHC class-I molecule on target cells. In recent years, the hypothesis was confirmed by the inhibitory and activating NK cell receptors.
This discovery indicates that autologous cells are not killed by NK cells, thanks to an appropriate expression of all self-HLA alleles, do not kill an autologous cell. In contrast, a wide spec of cancer types can be killed due to the loss of HLA molecules and to the expression/overexpression of ligands for NK cell activating receptors.
Now, this is how NK therapy works
NK cells firsts recognize the tumor cells via stress or danger signals from their sensors.
Then, the Activated NK cells directly decimate the target tumor cells through at least four mechanisms. These mechanisms are cytoplasmic granule release, death receptor-induced apoptosis, effector molecule production, or ADCC.
Furthermore, NK cells act as regulatory cells when reciprocally interact with DCs to improve their antigen uptake and presentation. This action helps in facilitating the generation of antigen-specific CTL responses that is vital in dictating foreign invasion and tumor cells.
Also, by producing cytokines such as IFN-γ, activated NK cells induce CD8+ T cells to become CTLs. Activated NK cells can also help in the differentiation of CD4+ T cells toward a Th1 response and promote CTL differentiation. Cytokines produced by NK cells might even have the unique ability to regulate antitumor cells, making them more proactive.
Accordingly, The cytokine gene transfer approach induces NK cell proliferation, and this increases survival capacity. Further enhancing their activation and also making them more potent in malignant cell multiplication dictation.
The NK cell scientist has assured that by using NK cell lines, modifying genes such as IL-2, IL-12, IL-15, and stem cell factor (SCF). They have been demonstrated the ability of the NK to restore their cytotoxic capacity as well as increase their proliferative rate, survival ability, and in vivo antitumor activity. However, the specificity of NK cells is still limited, and studies are even passing through phases. The approach focuses on retargeting NK cells to tumor cells by gene transfer of chimeric tumor-antigen specific receptors.
NK therapy is promising research; it raises the prospect of “one-end-solution” to many different types of cancers across the Globe. If the studies and experiments work out pretty well, the NK cells will be able to increase the activity of CD4+, CD19, and other important disease-fighting cells of the body.
There is no doubt that this an unimaginable feat, both in advancing our basic knowledge about regenerative medicine and for the possibility of future cancer treatment advances.
A lot of viruses that has taken a toll on life, the ebola virus in Africa, The Nipah virus of Nipah and the most recent one corona virus that left china running helter skelter all seemed to have originated from bats. During the course of the virus epidemic in Wuhan where it was first detected, some Chinese researchers in Wuhan examined some patients affected in that area and then took samples of the virus.
They did findings on the genetic sequence of the virus with other viruses that were known. The corona virus surprisingly had a 96% match with the horseshoe bats that are dominant in the southwest of china. The research findings were then published in a study on February, 2020.
A virologist Vineet Menachery from the university of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston though not affiliated to the study said “They’re too close in terms of their pure genetics to say they’re not related, or that they didn’t have a common ancestor.”
Menachery was a reputable virologist and had done other research works. He contributed to the theory that the spread of the corona virus must have been from these bats to humans. And possibly must have had another animal that served as an intermediary for the spread.
This same thing had happened with other forms of corona viruses as noted in the case of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) an outbreak that took place in 2002-2003 where civets, a mongoose family member were infected with the bat corona virus and spread as humans bought them for food.
Another case was the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak. This one happened in 2012 and was as a result of infected camels from the virus. People who ate undercooked meat of camels and as well drank the raw milk of camels were all affected.
So why is it that there are so many diseases that are spread from bats?
Its no doubt, bats have a lot of viruses that they carry with them. And these viruses in their variety are spread and manifests its tolls on people. Scientist are not sure why this is the case as confirmed by Kevin Olival, a research vice president as EcoHealth Alliance, a non-profit organization based in the U.S. He went further to say that it may have something to do with the family of the viruses carried by the bats. So you know, there are over 130 different families of viruses that bats do carry around.
And then, most bats and humans do come in contact through several means. The millions of populations of bats are ubiquitous to all the continents apart from in antartica. Rebekah of Colorado State university who researched infectious pathogens said “There’s a lot of viruses we’re finding in bats because there’s a lot of bats out there.”
They move about in multitudes and live in colonies of large populations. Some these members live in caves and share caves and trees where there can be a contact between humans and bats. Hence, these viruses can spread from these bats to humans.
Despite their sizes, bats have relatively long lifespans and can live over 30 years.”So there’s a long time for them to be persistently infected with the virus and shed it into the environment,” Kading says. The mode of mechanisms for these viruses are through urine, saliva and feces of bats. The outbreak of Nivah that happened in Bangladesh was linked to the sap of a date palm gotten from some trees that some bats licked and had infested with their urine.
Reading through all these, it is not absurd to wonder why the bats themselves do not get affected by the viruses they carry.
The answer to that question is based on the fact that the bat is the only flying mammal in the world. Their body metabolism and process quite differ from that of normal mammals too. When bats fly, their heart rates rise to about a thousand beats per minute with a temperature rise of about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Linfa Wang a student of bat viruses at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore says that when these signs manifest in other mammals, they are signals that can trigger death. But this is not the same case for other bats. This is a lifestyle for them, every day.
Their system is also capable of producing molecules that other organisms do not have. The molecules carry out repair functions and prevent cell damage. This makes their system a bit irresistible to infections and also make them recalcitrant to viruses and resilient to diseases such as diabetes, cancer and other health conditions.
This is a prove that the manifestation of viruses in mammals is not always as a result of the virus itself, but as a result of the body’s reaction to the presence of such a virus that makes us ill by triggering other chain reactions, as Wang explains.
Olival at EcoHealth explains that these bats have coevolved with these viruses and it is not totally their fault that we humans are infected and affected by these viruses. The actual problem is when the viruses move from their species to other species of mammals which is also fostered by human activity.
Naturally, it would be hard for most animals and mammals to cross paths. But Olivial says that the presence of some activities and availability of exchange platforms made available by humans can allow such interaction to occur. She gave an example using wildlife markets like the one in Wuhan, where a bat could be mixed up with a civet. Who later on come in contact with humans – eg. Butchers who do not observe proper hygiene and protection from animal blood.
“The way that we’re coming into contact with these animals, hunting, selling, and trading them is to a scale that really we haven’t seen before,” he says.
Investigative teams did some in-depth search and they discovered some traces of this virus in 22 stalls and in a garbage truck that was found at Huanan Seafood Market right there in Wuhan, a place known for booming trade for live animals. This discovery led to shutting down the market as it was tied to majority of the cases.
The intermediary animals to this viruses are still a mystery, but it is clear that some of these animals are prone to interact more with humans. This is why when they are infected, the likelihood for human infection is widened. These other infected animals can sneeze, urinate, be cooked as food or even owned as pets.
Bats are not just vectors for viruses, they play an important role in balancing the eco-system. They feed on insects and fruits and are active agents of pollination. In fact, Wang believes that since these bats have successfully coevolved with these viruses, there is every possibility that they can be the agents that can lead to the cure and provision of therapies for these viruses.