Saturday, September 12, 2009

A beast called cancer and a beauty by name Lisa Ray


It is the return of lifestyle diseases with a revenge! With lifespans increasing, lifestyle diseases like asthma, cardio-vascular (heart + blood vessels) diseases, cancer (medical word = neoplasm), joint & bone diseases like arthritis & osteoporosis, and brain diseases like Alzheimer's disease, are rearing their ugly heads. Our lifestyle and the higher level of environmental and food pollution has a lot to do with the increasing incidence of cancer. Lisa Ray the charismatic model and film star has announced in her blog that she is suffering from multiple myeloma (a type of cancer). M P Prakash, a senior politician from Karnataka, has just announced that he is undergoing treatment for colon cancer. Lifestyle diseases like cancer are a looming threat.

Cancer refers to the undisciplined growth of cells in the body. Most cancers cause tumours or swellings. Blood cancer does not cause tumours. Severe pain, bleeding or oozing, and swelling are important general characteristics of cancer. Sudden weight loss, jaundice, loss of appetite, and anemia (low haemoglobin pecentage) are other important signs and symptoms. 13% of all human deaths are cancer related. Most cancers are caused by carcinogens (cancer causing chemicals or agents) like tobacco smoke, radiation, microbes, and certain chemicals.

Cancer is a result of genetic abnormalities ie., DNA damage. The damage to DNA may be inherited (due to oncogenes) or caused by carcinogens. Cancer cells are invasive - they invade neighbouring tissues and cause problems. Cancer cells can become metastatic too. Groups of cancer cells break away from the mother tumour and lodge on to other organs to spread the cancer to other parts of the body. Thus, a breast cancer can spread to uterus too. In cancer, the body's own cells metamorphosize in to enemy cells, attacking tissues, organs, and causing death. This is why cancer is difficult to treat. There is great similarity between cancer cells and normal cells, hence, the body's immune system does not attack the cancer cells and destroy them.

Immunoglobulins as the name indicates are globulins (ie., proteins) that help generate body's resistance to disease (they are responsible for immunity). Immunoglobulins are antibodies (proteins) that destroy allergens and other foreign bodies. They are produced by B lymphocytes (type of fighter white blood cells). Natural immunuglobulins cannot differentiate between cancerous and noncancerous cells.

Antibody researchers are trying to create therapeutic proteins (or therapeutic antibodies) that can target cancer cells. Although cancer and noncancerous cells are very similar, there are subtle differences such as certain proteins on the cell membrane. Antibodies that can specifically lock on to these cell membrane sites of cancer cells are synthesized by researchers using rDNA (recombinant DNA) technology (Escherichia coli is used to produce recombinant antibodies) and hybridoma technology. Trastuzumab (Herceptin) is a popular example of an anti-breast cancer therapeutic antibody protein molecule. Trastuzumab specifically binds with defective HER 2 receptor proteins. These HER 2 defective proteins are present in some women suffering breast cancer. Hence, trastuzumab is an effective antibody (protein) treatment for such women. A biotech company called Genentech (USA) invented this drug. The sales of trastuzumab (Herceptin) was 5335 million USD in 2007.

Treating cancer and the associated health problems is a major pharmaceutical opportunity area. For eg., bone disease and osteoporosis is a major and common side effect of cancer treatment. Hence, calcium supplements are prescribed in large quantities to cancer patients.

Multiple myeloma

This form of blood related cancer (haematological disease) is described as incurable. The B lymphocyte - a type of fighter white blood cells that provide antibodies (proteins that help destroy infectious agents) - converts in to cancerous cells. Multiple Myeloma in addition to the usual cancer signs and symptoms is identified by CRAB set of signs and symptoms (C = Calcium elevated, R = Renal failure, A = Anemia and B = Bone lesions or wounds on bones). Multiple Myeloma causes weak bones and they fracture easily.

Lisa Ray suffers from multiple myeloma. This form of cancer is particularly severe. An avid Yoga practitioner Jody Hughes (student of B K Iyengar) too died of multiple myeloma. Lisa Ray too is an 'alternative healthcare' person. Lisa too is in to Yoga, Ayurveda etc.

Pranayama is the missing link

Swami Ramdev is a major healthcare and spiritual force in contemporary global society. Swami Ramdev - the celibate swami - with unparalleled dedication and sincerity is healing and protecting humanity by teaching a combination of pranayama and yoga (pranayog). Swami Ramdev has a regular morning teaching session (from 5.00 AM) and evening (from 8.00 PM) on Aastha TV channel. There are crores of people who have benefited by applying pranayama and yoga techniques as popularlized by Swami Ramdev. The difference between Swami Ramdev and other Yoga educators is the emphasis on Pranayama. This is making a vast difference.

It would be a prudent decision for Lisa Ray and such others to take to pranayama and yoga as demonstrated by Swami Ramdev. This will make a big difference. Lisa Ray has bravely reflected that she wants to conquer multiple myeloma. But this beast of a cancer can be perhaps tamed only through Swami Ramdev's technique of Pranayog.

If you have a headache, you pop a Dart tablet. You don't attribute any religious thing to this. Similarly, Pranayog science from Swami Ramdev provides darting relief to suffering patients. There is no need for any religious complication when practicing pranayama and Yog. One has to have an open mind to try it.

I sincerely pray, that cancer patients like Lisa Ray and all others overcome their health problems and bounce back.

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