Category Archives: Immune system


Genetic Immunodeficiency In Children


Prof. Adrian Liston and prof. Isabelle Meyts, along with a team of scientists, were able to characterize a new genetic immunodeficiency resulting from a mutation in a gene named STAT2. Patients with this mutation are extremely vulnerable to normally mild childhood illnesses such as rotavirus and enterovirus. The analysis of the genetic defect allows clinicians to provide children with the proper therapies before their illnesses prove fatal.  These findings have been published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

It has become possible for researchers to identify extremely subtle defects of the human immune system with the recent advancements in technologies and tools. Prior to these many patients with hidden immunodeficiencies, or defects that were not obvious from the beginning, often became extremely ill or even died before their genetic disorders were diagnosed. The team was able to identify a gene mutation causing an immunodeficiency that can be fatal during childhood, enabling children to be diagnosed, monitored and preemptively treated for the disorder.

These immunodeficiency disorders are not rare. They range from as severe as the well-known “bubble boy” to nearly impossible to detect “hidden” defects.  Immunodeficiencies are more common than scientists previously thought and they have only just begun to scratch the surface when it comes to defining these latter types of immune disorders that can be specific enough to make sufferers highly susceptible to just one or two types of diseases.

Prof. Adrian Liston stated he wouldn’t be surprised if they discover that up to 1 in 100 children are affected at the completion and identification of all genetic immunodeficiencies. The “hidden” ones are especially insidious because they do not present as obviously as other genetic immune disorders. One patient in their study did, unfortunately, die before a diagnosis could be made.  Another patient is alive and well since being diagnosed and is being carefully watched. If they can identify them, they can do something about most immunodeficiencies.

They stress the importance of assessing the severity of childhood illnesses on the part of parents and suggest that parents look for helpful information online and raise the possibility of a potential genetic immunodeficiency with a pediatrician.  Severe common illnesses may signal immune disorders. They feel that when an otherwise healthy child experiences extremely severe infection with a common pathogen like the flu or chickenpox virus, or when a child is particularly vulnerable to infection with a single pathogen, there is most likely an underlying defect in the immune system.  If there is a history of a child in the family succumbing to infection, this should alert the family and the clinician. Identifying the causative gene defect allows for genetic counseling and preventive measures to be taken.

Prof. Adrian Liston’s lab has developed a unique immune phenotyping platform and gene discovery program that can help identify previously unknown immune system defects and inflammatory diseases, aiding in new treatments that can be administered in a timely way to unravel “hidden” immunodeficiencies.  They seek to identify every possible cause of genetic immunodeficiency so that every child displaying warning signs can be tested and treated before it is too late.

Dr. Fredda Branyon

lower back pain

What Is Pheochromocytoma?

lower back pain

Pheochromocytoma is a rare tumor that usually grows in the middle of your lower back in your adrenal glands.  This is most commonly found in adults ages 30 to 50, but those of all ages can have it. About 10% of all cases are made up of children.  Few of these tumors spread to other organs but can be dangerous and should be treated right away.

The adrenal glands make hormones that control your metabolism, blood pressure and other important function.  Hormones are released by pheochromocytoma at much higher levels than normal. The hormones that are made by these tumors cause high blood pressure that can damage your heart, brain, lungs, and kidneys.

People with high blood pressure all the time sometimes have these tumors. For other people, it goes up and down. This may also be your only symptom but usually at least one of the following exists as well:

  • Constipation
  • Dizziness when standing
  • Nausea
  • Pale skin
  • Racing heartbeat
  • A severe headache
  • Stomach, side or back pain
  • Unusual sweating

You can experience these symptoms suddenly like an attack, several times a day. They might also happen just a few times a month, but as the tumor grows, these attacks may become stronger and happen more often.

Doctors don’t really know why most of these tumors form, but about 30% seem to run in families and are more likely to be cancerous than ones that appear randomly.  

They can also spread to other parts of your body, including your liver, lungs or bones.  They are also more common in people with inherited disorders or conditions that include Multiple endocrine neoplasias, type II, Von Hippel-Lindau disease, Neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1) and Hereditary paraganglioma syndrome.

Many who have pheochromocytoma are never diagnosed as the symptoms are so much like those of other conditions, but there are ways to find out if you have one of the tumors, such as:

  • Blood or urine tests to tell if you have high levels of hormones in your body
  • An MRI which uses powerful magnets and radio waves to make images of organs and tissues to check for a tumor
  • A CT scan which puts together several X-rays taken from different angles to see if there’s a tumor.

If you test positive, your doctor may recommend tests to see if it was caused by a genetic disorder and if you are at risk for more in the future.  They will also tell you if your children and other family members are at higher risk.

There is a 50% chance of passing it to a child if the parent has a damaged gene. Surgery is most likely needed to remove the tumor but the surgeon using tiny cuts instead of one large opening.  This is called laparoscopic or minimally invasive surgery that will shorten your recovery time.

If there are tumors in both glands, your surgeon may remove just the tumors and leave part of the glands. If both are removed you can take steroids to help replace the hormones your body usually makes. Chances are good that your symptoms will go away and your blood pressure will return to normal. Radiation and chemotherapy may be used if your tumor is cancerous.

Dr. Fredda Branyon

meals trigger inflammation

Meals Trigger Inflammation

meals trigger inflammation

We are not only taking in nutrients when we eat we are also consuming a significant quantity of bacteria. That’s certainly not fun to think about! In order to fight these bacteria, our body is faced with the challenge of simultaneously distributing the ingested glucose and fighting these bacteria. An inflammatory response is triggered that activates the immune systems of healthy individuals and serves as protection. Doctors from the University and the University Hospital Basel have proven this for the first time. This inflammatory response fails dramatically in overweight individuals and can lead to diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is an adult-onset type that leads to chronic inflammation with many negative impacts.  Diabetes, by impeding the over-production of a substance involved in this process called interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta), has been the treatment in a number of clinical studies.  This triggers chronic inflammation and causes insulin-producing beta cells to die off.

There are some positive sides of inflammation that was reported in the journal Nature Immunology.  Researchers from the Department of Biomedicine at the University and the University Hospital Basel have reported these findings. Short-term inflammatory responses play an important role in sugar uptake in healthy individuals and the activation of the immune system.

Professor Marc Donath, head of the Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at the University Hospital Basel and his research team have demonstrated the number of acrophages, a type of immune cell around the intestines, increases during mealtime. These are called scavenger cells that produce the messenger substance IL-1beta in varying amounts. This depends upon the concentration of glucose in the blood and in turn, stimulates insulin production in pancreatic beta cells. The macrophages are then caused to increase IL-1beta production, while along with insulin, they work to regulate blood sugar levels and the messenger substance IL-1beta ensures that the immune system is supplied with glucose and remains active.

The mechanism of the metabolism and immune system is dependent on the bacteria and nutrients that are ingested during meals. The immune system is able to adequately combat foreign bacteria with sufficient nutrients, but when there is a lack of nutrients, the few remaining calories must be conserved for important life functions at the expense of an immune response.  This may help to explain why infectious diseases occur more frequently in times of famine.

Dr. Fredda Branyon

Alternative Medicine

Alternative Meds Go Mainstream

Even though billions of dollars a year is being shelled out for alternative medicines, the decision to try those hot new supplements is grounded on only a friend’s recommendation or gossip. Do you ever wonder why that is? Doctors are admitting to being unfamiliar with the products and unsure of their benefits.

You might be concerned about your cholesterol is being a little high and have heard that you can actually lower it with some magical new product. It sounds great but then you wonder what brand is best, do they really work and are they safe. Check the package ingredient list and look it up! There is a new PDR for Nutritional products to give you information which are for real and which are a waste of money. There is an ever-growing array of these functional foods, vitamins, minerals, sports nutritional products, amino acids, probiotics, metabolite, hormones, enzymes and cartilage products, so you should spend time researching these various products.

This consists of a 600-page book that gives doctors and laymen a complete reference source for these alternative remedies. It provides a scientifically validated and trustworthy compendium of chemical formulations, indications, actions and even potential hazards of nearly every alternative med in use. A whole bunch of stuff out there is not accurate and not to rely on, according to Sheldon Saul Hendler, MD, PhD, so choose a reliable source such as the PDR. except for herbs and botanicals and is a critique of these products. Many of the items in the herbal PDR are exclusively medicinal and the nutritional supplements include only bioactive substances found in foods that we eat. Information on substances only available outside the U.S. is also provided. The entry for each substance will begin with a list of common trade names and a description of its chemical structure, then if they are legitimate. A comprehensive summary of existing scientific research follows and a rundown on potential side effects, adverse reactions, interactions with prescriptions and nonprescription drugs and foods. Finally, a proper dosage, where applicable, is listed. This is why it’s called Physician’s Desk Reference. Most supplement books are too simplistic, and they are wrong.

It’s obvious we are in a new era where patients are taking control of their healthcare and empowering themselves. This PDR has been written with the consumer in mind and is less obtuse. Self-prescribing may not always be the best idea, but at least this book gives them ready-to-use access to more authoritative information than simply what they hear via the grapevine.

The PDR isn’t flawless, though. The PDR reference is great for what it covers, but it doesn’t cover it all. From the healthcare provider’s point of view it is handy and useful, concise and comprehensive. Most doctors haven’t been trained and often are not even interested, so they know relatively little about dietary supplements. They often neglect to ask their patients about supplements, as they don’t know what to do with the information once they have it.

They view this reference guide as a bridge between the patients and health professions. Most patients leave their physicians out of the loop because they think the physician knows little about nutritional supplementation. The physician now has a reliable source.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Hospital Equipment


Hospital Equipment

Immunotherapy, sometimes called biologic therapy, has been a game changer for many types of cancer. This might actually improve your life and extend your years longer than with other treatments.

With allergies, you might have gotten allergy shots. With each shot they provided a very small amount of the allergen, which was the thing that caused your problems. These shots put your immune system on alert but don’t make you sick. Over some time your doses get bigger and that helps you build a tolerance to the allergen, or causes you to become immune. These shots are a type of immunotherapy. Vaccines for diseases like the measles, mumps and flu are all a type of immunotherapy as well.

In relating to cancer, the disease starts when one cell in your body goes rogue and the researchers are hoping that immunotherapy treatment will harness the power of your body’s natural defenses to fight cancer cells, just as it would with a germ, virus or allergy. Two approaches can be used: one is to tell your system to stage a full-out assault on cancer cells and another is to try to make your defenses stronger. Currently, the researchers are exploring new ways to help your immune system recognize and destroy cancer cells. New Hope Unlimited has been doing Immunotherapy with great success for years without using synthetic drugs.

The Adoptive T-cell immunotherapy is designed to boost your key immune cells. This is where the researchers remove T cells (the white blood cells in your immune system) from your tumor and then figure out which ones are fighting the growth the most. Then they can genetically engineer the genes in those cells to be stronger and return them to your system through an IV. Using this approach shows a lot of promise in the treatment of many types of cancer.

Cancer vaccines work like many others and fall into two groups. Preventive vaccines have a lot in common with tradition types and work with a substance called an antigen that gives your immune system a nudge. The preventive cancer vaccine is used against the human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes cervical, anal and other types of cancer. Treatment vaccines help your T cells pick out and destroy specific cancers.

Checkpoint inhibitors work with the cancer cells that hide from your defense, almost disguising themselves as normal cells. These drugs will help your immune system see the cancer as a problem and then fight it. The inhibitors are in clinical trials for many cancers and some people with metastatic melanoma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma are being treated with them.

Monoclonal antibodies are molecules that are made in a lab. They are designed to act the same way as your own antibodies, which are part of your defense against viruses and germs. The immune system can spot things that cause harm, but don’t always see cancer cells as bad. The monoclonal antibodies help to mount an offense as they attach to cancer cells. Like a beacon, they then make those cells more visible to your immune system in order to fight them better. It might also be possible for this to help stop the growth of cancer and help traditional treatments better target the cancer cells.

The researchers are working to find other ways to help your immune system fight cancer and to better understand your defense and how they protect you. How to combine immunotherapy with other treatments to make them work even better is also being investigated along with looking into what happens when you pair two types of immunotherapies. The big question is still, why does this work for one patient but not another? Much more study, and discovery will continue for the sake of those suffering from cancer.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Causes of High White Blood Cell Count

As I always tell our patients at New Hope Unlimited, our immune system is an amazing thing! Vital components of the blood are the white blood cells. They fight infection and are essential for our health and well being. It may indicate an infection if a person has a high white blood cell count. The immune system is working to destroy the infection and it may also be a sign that the person is experiencing physical or emotional stress. Some blood cancers may also show high white blood cell counts.

This might signal that something is destroying the cells faster than they are being made, or that the body is producing too few of the cells. These white blood cells account for about 1% of the total blood cells and are essential to normal immune function. These cells are also known as leukocytes. White blood cells have a very important function in protecting the body from attack that can be from bacteria, viruses or other foreign substances that the body sees as some kind of threat.

Bone marrow continuously produces white blood cells and keeps them ready within the blood and lymphatic systems until they are needed. A large number of white blood cells are produced by most people. Laboratory levels that are considered normal are between 4,000 and 11,000 cells per microliter of blood, but this can vary according to a person’s race.

Several different types of white blood cells are:

  • Lymphocytes that are vital for producing antibodies that help the body to defend itself against bacteria, viruses and other perceived threats.
  • Neutrophils are powerful white blood cells that destroy bacteria and fungi.
  • Basophils alert the body to infections by secreting chemicals into the bloodstream, mostly to combat allergies.
  • Eosinophils are responsible for destroying parasites and cancer cells, and they are part of an allergic response.
  • Monocytes are responsible for attacking and breaking down germs or bacteria that enter a person’s body.

The monocytes travel to other organs, as needed, such as the spleen, liver, lungs and bone marrow, where they transform into a cell called a macrophage that is responsible for many cellular functions. These include removing dead or damaged tissue, destroying cancer cells and regulating the immune response.

An increase in white blood cells (leukocytosis) typically occurs in response to the following conditions: infection, immunosuppression, medications, bone marrow or immune disorder, certain cancers as acute or chronic lymphocytic leukemia, inflammation as that experienced with rheumatoid arthritis, injury, pregnancy, smoking, allergic reactions and excessive exercising.

If levels of one particular type of white blood cells rise, this may be due to a specific trigger as monocytes, lymphocytes, neutrophils, basophils or eosinophils. Those affected by idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome may experience symptoms as weight loss, fevers, night sweats, fatigue, coughing, chest pain, swelling, stomach ache, skin rash, pain, weakness, confusion or coma.

Some other imbalances of white blood cells could be a sign of a weakened immune system due to HIV or Aids, leukemia, lymphoma and a number of conditions known as myeloproliferative disorders.

If the white blood cell count is too high it might be indicating there is a problem as cancer or an infection. A blood test can assess the white blood cell count and other tests might be needed to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem.

Dr Fredda Branyon


Our Toxic Roads


The new coal-tar pavement or sealant that is laid on a driveway, street, parking or playground lot is something you’ve probably smelled many times. We have all wondered about the toxicity of the horrible smelling stuff. It is toxic as it contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). A study recently released by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District have identified coal-tar sealants as the primary source of PAHs and called a major source of contamination in urban and suburban areas as well as a potential concern for human health and aquatic life. And considering this awful finding…what about the risks for CANCER as well!

When toxic coal-tar sealants were found to be responsible for up to 94% of the PAHs found in 40 samples of streambed sediment, or muck, collected from 19 creeks and rivers with dust from six parking lots in metropolitan Milwaukee, it finally made the headlines.

Austin Baldwin, lead study author and USGS scientists reported that 78% of the samples contained enough PAHs to be considered toxic and capable of causing adverse effects in aquatic animals. PAHs and contaminants from sealed and blacktopped surfaces wash into stormwater storage basins and sewers from rain and melting snow, and washed right into the closest waterways, poisoning them.

Sealants used for paving in commercial, residential and industrial areas contain up to 1,000X more PAHs than asphalt emulsions that do a comparable job but cost more. Both the sale and use of coal-tar sealants were banned as far back as 2007 in Dane County, Wisconsin. Before that cut-off 300,000 gallons of the stuff were used every year on driveways and parking lots in that county alone.

Finding PAHs in the water is not an isolated or new problem. In Minneapolis-St. Paul area it is believed that it will reach a cost of $1 billion to clean up PAH problems in stormwater ponds. The PAHs in area streams were worse in 2013 for aquatic life than any other chemicals. There are projects to restore the salmon’s habitations, but many died before they could spawn, right after rainstorms, including 90% of the females in a waterway called Longfellow Creek.

These toxic materials, right up close and personal, are not anything new. In April of 1887, a 27-year-old man was committed to Hudson River State Hospital for the insane and less than two weeks later, another man was in a similar condition. When a 3rd man showed up, it was found they all worked at the same rubber factory and an investigation ensued. They all exhibited bizarre, incoherent and erratic behavior caused from carbon disulfide, a solvent in manipulating PAH materials.

Carbon disulfide has a history of manufacturing and testicular hysteria. As far back as 1856, a researcher noted that everything from weird dreams to memory gaps, and premature aging abolished sexual desire. Many of these victims actually worked in condom factories. These illnesses were associated with hysteria that were usually women, but more than 60 case histories of male hysterics were logged in Paris in the 1880’s. It is still a problem and compromises Federal standards. Many states still spread roads with brine from oil and gas operations, believing it’s a safe way to recycle it. The wastewater is tainted with chloride as well as radium and barium, which are radioactive.

Salt on roadways is toxic to humans and animal life. Scientists have had a bad feeling about the potential of toxins from run-off for a long time, but the salmon study finally opened a door that would allow them to help fix it. They intend to use a simple, soil-based filtration system. Others are using free cheese brine, sugarcane molasses and beet juice, mixed in with road salt to act as alternate de-icing agents. Let the Earth do what it does so well, what it has done for eons: clean things up!

Dr Fredda Branyon

Glass of Milk

FDA Milk Prohibition

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives warnings about consuming raw milk, but the wholesome and natural food has a loyal and growing following. Until the 19th century “pasteurization” did not exist. It actually allows the proliferation of the milk coming from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOS) that can be produced in filthy conditions, and then heated until all the pathogens are gone. Not only killing the germs, but it also kills off the beneficial organisms in the milk and prevents natural souring. The FDA has begun a war against raw milk producers who are actually producing far healthier milk. This is all under the guise of protecting the public health, but in essence, they are taking away Americans’ food freedom.

The FDA is actually squeezing out the small farmers. The 10th Amendment reads “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Therefore, the FDA is in violation of the Constitution by trying to enforce raw milk bans within the states. This ban favors the industrial dairy at the expense of small family farms, according to Mike Maharrey, national communications director for the Tenth Amendment Center.

Hawaii, North Dakota and Alaska have introduced bills to legalize raw milk in their states. In Hawaii, this would legalize the sale of raw milk in retail stores as long as it contains a warning label about the “risks” of consuming unpasteurized milk. Farmers would also need to maintain records of everyone who purchased their raw milk. In North Dakota, farmers would be allowed to sell raw milk directly to consumers where they now have to purchase a share of the cow or herd to buy the raw milk. In Alaska, it would be legal for farmers to sell raw milk directly to consumers but have a warning label.

The media continues to spread inaccuracies and reports fear-based information related to raw milk consumption. West Virginia has historically been one of the least open states to raw milk and in 2016 legalized the distribution of raw milk through herd-share agreements.

It isn’t raw milk that makes people sick, even though that happens to be the target. The majority of food making people sick is coming from CAFOs and not the small organic farmers. You can get self-serve dairy straight from the vat in New Zealand. I remember 30 years ago when we used to buy raw milk directly from a small farmer near our home. It was self-serve. After turning on the agitator to mix the milk and cream that had risen to the top, we could fill our jugs from the spigot and then left our money in a jar. Everything was on an honor-based purchase. My kids loved it and were NEVER sick from it. If only that were still available, we would be buying it there again.

The grass-fed raw milk contains healthy bacteria that are good for your gastrointestinal tract, has more than 60 digestive enzymes, growth factors and immunoglobulins, contains conjugated linoleic acid, has beneficial raw fats, amino acids and proteins in a highly bioavailable form and contains vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K in highly bioavailable forms.

I believe in food freedom and we should all be able to consume whatever we believe to be healthy for us. If you happen to be allergic to the milk proteins or insulin resistant, you would be better off avoiding raw and pasteurized milk. The grass-fed raw milk from a high-quality source is usually superior in nutrition and flavor. We need to demand our rights for the 10th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Sick Girl

Mistakes We Make When Getting Sick

We all want to get better really fast when we get sick. Some of our habits may actually make our symptoms worse though.

Some things we should avoid when evading that common cold and flu as we fight our way to recovery are:

  1. Strive to power through and don’t keep the usual routine. Our body needs energy to fight off that cold or virus so make rest a priority. Stay home from work or school to recover. Not only for your own benefit, but think of those around you that you are spreading those germs to.
  2. Flu symptoms should prompt you to call the doctor, but not if you are just feeling those run-of-the-mill cold symptoms. An antiviral drugs can help with the signs of flu such as a high fever, body aches and fatigue. Your symptoms can be eased and your illness shortened by 1 or 2 days by beginning an antiviral drug in the first 48 hours.
  3. Do not skimp on sleep as it weakens your immune system and makes it harder to battle that infection. Those who get less than 6 hours of shut-eye each night are 4 times more likely to get sick than those sleeping at least 7 hours. Hit that bed early and take naps during the day. Use a nighttime cough syrup with a little honey and use that humidifier to help breathe easier.
  4. Bugging your doctor for an antibiotic will not result in feeling better. Antibiotics will only kill bacteria and these colds and flu are caused by viruses. Plus, nearly 1/3 of antibiotics are unnecessary and can raise your risk of side effect, such as diarrhea and allergic reactions as well as contributing to a global health problem of antibiotic resistance.
  5. It may be hard to swallow liquids but you need to stay hydrated so that you can thin your mucus and break up congestion. It will fend off your headaches, too, so drink plenty of water or sip a warm beverage like herbal tea or broth. This can help ease cold symptoms such as fatigue or a sore throat.
  6. You may not have much of an appetite but you need those calories and nutrients that will fuel the immune cells that attack cold and flu viruses to make you get better faster. Even if it’s a bowl of chicken soup as this will actually relieve some of the symptoms.
  7. Smoking should be avoided as it damages your lungs and irritates your throat that can make your cold symptoms worse. Ditch those cigarettes and keep away from that secondhand smoke.
  8. Do NOT stress out as this creates a hormone that is hard on the immune system and increases inflammation. This can make your stuffy nose even worse so make an effort to focus on relaxing and recovering and you will be back on our feet before you know it!
    • Dr Fredda Branyon


Immune System Drugs for Multiple Myeloma


The immune system takes a real hit with multiple myeloma and makes it much harder to fight infections.  For this reason, your immune system is a focus in many of the mainstream treatments for multiple myeloma.  You might want to consult with your doctor to consider the different immune system drugs out there, what they do and how they work. You may also want to speak to an alternative physician to educate yourself on more natural ways to fight cancer.

Biologics are medicines that believed to help your immune system to control your myeloma. These drugs are made from living organisms and some can boost the immune system to help the body fight the disease.  Some suppress it to do the same thing and yet more destroy cancer cells directly or reduce the side effect of other treatments. We at New Hope Unlimited believe it is best to use your own biologicals to enhance the immune system.  But for the purpose of this article, I am reporting on what mainstream medicine is doing with a lot of synthetic drugs.

There are three medications taken as pills that is said to help your immune system point out and attack cancer cells.  They are also called immunomodulators or immune-modifying drugs.

These three are:

  • Thalidomide (Thalomid) that lowers the blood supply to cancers.  Prior to its use to treat myeloma in the late 1990’s, it was used as a sedative and nausea medication for pregnant women until it was found to cause birth defects.
  • Lenalidomide (Revlimid) is a stronger form of thalidomide and has fewer side effects, but it can still cause numbness, rashes and fatigue that thalidomide does.  They both have a risk of shortness of breath or seizures.
  • Pomalidomide (Pomalyst), the newest drug of this type, which was approved by the FDA for multiple myeloma, is similar to the others.  One big difference is that it has been found to be effect longer.

Common side effects of all three of these drugs include low blood counts, a “pins and needles” feeling or pain in the arms and legs and a higher risk of blood clots that can travel to the lungs from the leg.  There are even more side effects for each drug that your doctor will discuss with you.

Other drugs are:

  • The drug interferon boosts the immune system and encourages healthy cells to move toward the cancer cells to destroy them.  This drug is injected into the skin 2 to 3 times a week and you may feel flu-like symptoms after it’s given to you.
  • Monoclonal Antibodies are man-made and supposed to work on one type of target.  
  • Daratumumab (Darzalex) attaches to multiple myeloma cells and will kill them and signal your immune system to attack them. If one of the other treatments hasn’t worked, you will get this one.  There may be a reaction a few hours after getting the drug such as coughing, wheezing, trouble breathing, runny nose, headache or rash. If any of these happen to you, your doctor may need to adjust your dose or add another medicine with it to lessen or stop your symptom.
  • Elotuzumab (Empliciti) works much in the same way as daratumumab with the same reactions and side effects.  More side effects are weakness or numbness in your hands and feet and respiratory tract infection.

Some biologics are in development in clinical trials.  Your doctor might suggest you join in one of these to try.  They are adoptive T-cell transfers, which use the body’s T cells (white blood cells that help fight disease) to destroy the cancer.  Vaccines would work like more-common vaccines to jump-start the immune system to attack cancer cells.

Wouldn’t there possibly be a natural alternative treatment to build the immune system? Consult with your doctor as to the best drug that will fit for you. There are many options for edications listed above.

Dr Fredda Branyon