Monthly Archives: August 2017

Immunotherapy: Investigating Cancer Research

The proliferation and advent of technology in medical research has spurred new techniques and treatments to combat cancer, a disease with an alarming mortality rate that will lead to an estimated 1,685,210 new cases in 2016, and 595,690 deaths.

The model of immunotherapy—using one’s body as the tool with which to fight cancer—has been considered an experimental treatment since its conception, in stark contrast to the standard chemotherapy and radiation that is traditionally offered for cancer patients. While chemotherapy directly attacks the cancer, immunotherapy harnesses the patient’s own immune system to fight off the disease.

The most widely used forms of immunotherapy include drugs called checkpoint inhibitors, which block a mechanism used by cancer cells to shut down the immune system, and cell therapy, which involves removing a patient’s immune cells, genetically altering them to help fight cancer, multiplying them, and ultimately infusing them back into the bloodstream.

While pharmaceutical companies initially were disinterested in the research and science, favoring drugs that had the ability to be mass-produced and treat everyone, drug companies are progressively funneling more money into clinical trials and tests—attempting to understand the powerful and critically important tool further.

Quoted in a New York Times article, Dr. Jedd Wolchok, chief of melanoma and immunotherapeutics services at Memorial Sloan Kettering, articulated what many doctors are experiencing as they begin to utilize this therapy, once considered a mere pipe dream: “This is a fundamental change in the way that we think about cancer therapy.”

Other doctors that have seen almost miraculous results in clinical trials have expressed similar sentiments: “Think of how dauntingly personalized this is,” says Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg, chief of surgery at the National Cancer Institute. “We are using their own cells to treat a unique mutation in their own tumor.” This individualized treatment has been proven to be effective in many cases, generating complete remissions in many patients who felt they were out of options.

Yet while immunotherapy has proven to be stunningly successful in several cases, doctors are continuing to explore why the treatment has a higher efficacy in some patients, while others relapse. Moreover, the arduous, lengthy, and complex process of re-engineering and duplicating cells is very costly, and is still undergoing scrutiny and examination.

Want more information about our Integrative Cancer Therapies Fellowship? Gain access to cutting-edge therapy modalities, along with a particular segment targeted towards the immunology of cancer, coupled with updated information and research surrounding immunotherapy. Learn more today

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International Blog Spotlight: Greece


Dr. Maria Psoma, medical Biopathologist

Can we reverse “brain aging” with nutrition and healthy lifestyle?

I was reading some studies from UCLA, which motivated me to further explore the question. It is a clinically proven fact that as we age, we experience cognitive decline: for some, the deterioration can continue until the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. When people reach the age of 85, statistics indicate that there is a 45% chance of this.

I was primarily reading research that focused on supplements, including high quality omega 3 fatty acids , Q10, B12, melatonin, and D3: combined with changes in nutrition and exercise.

Results were impressive; no medicine or pharmaceutical drug demonstrated the same success as nutrition and lifestyle changes. Clinical results showed improvement even among people in their 80s.

Another research conducted at Rush University, which included 900 participants between the ages of 58-98, followed the subjects for 4.5 years.

Three different nutrition interventions were implemented: the Mediterranean diet, DASH diet, and a combination called ”Brain Diet”.

The researchers investigated the influence of the diets in terms of prevention for Alzheimer’s, in addition to an evaluation of factors including age, sex, education, cardiological factors, and levels of physical activity.

The best results were from the ‘brain diet,’ with prevention percentages as high as 52%. The Mediterranean and DASH Diet had results between 35-405.

The basic ingredients of a healthy ‘brain diet:’

  1. Green leafy vegetables
  2. Raw nuts
  3. Berries (polyphenols)
  4. Beans
  5. Unprocessed cereals
  6. Fish
  7. Free range poultry
  8. Olive oil
  9. Red wine (resveratrol)

Foods that harm brain function:

  1. Sugar
  2. Red meat
  3. Saturated fat
  4. Fried foods

General Instructions of healthy lifestyle and nutrition practices:

—Limit simple carbohydrates (white flour, pasta) and any processed foods
—Consume unlimited fresh, colorful vegetables that are rich in antioxidants, in addition to fruits and fish
—Find time for yourself at least twice a day (yoga & breathing exercises can be beneficial)
—Sleep 7-8 hours per night, or at least 5 hours of quality, non-interrupted sleep
—Take the proper supplements after medical history & specific laboratory exams
—Care for your oral hygiene
—Engage in regular physical activity for at least 30 minutes, 3-4 times per week

Dr. Maria Psoma is a biopathologist with a PhD from the University of Athens. She is a Fellow and Board Certified in Anti-Aging Medicine, and a member of both the American Obesity Society & the International Society of Nutrigenomics.

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Physician of the Month: Angela Aslami, MD

A4M valued member Angela Aslami, MD shares insight from her professional experience in this Physician of the Month feature.

Dr. Aslami grew up in Massachusetts and earned a degree in Political Science from The American University in Washington, D.C., and a degree in Chemistry from North Carolina State University. She graduated from Wake Forest University Medical School in 1999, and completed her training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Dr. Aslami has been practicing Obstetrics and Gynecology since 2003. She opened her own medical practice (Horizons Health and Wellness) in 2016 and continues to practice Obstetrics and Gynecology, with additional focus on Nutritional Medicine and Medical Weight Loss. Dr. Aslami is married with five children between the ages 6-12, and she enjoys biking, skiing, and spending time with her family.

Q: Before joining A4M, what was your medical background?

My formal medical training is in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Q: What anti-aging techniques have you incorporated into your practice? How did you so?

I have incorporated bioidentical hormone replacement, medical weight loss, nutritional medicine, sexual dysfunction treatment, gynecologic laser therapy, facial wrinkle reduction, and skincare into my Obstetrics and Gynecology practice. I first attended a weekend bioidentical hormone replacement symposium in Boston in 2012, which is where I first learned about a4m. I was immediately cautiously optimistic that this type of hormone therapy could help many of my patients, but I wanted to learn more before implementing it. Over the next 5 years, I attended many courses through a4m regarding sexual dysfunction, hormone balancing, metabolism, nutrition and weight management, inflammation, and toxicology. During this time, I gradually added bioidentical hormone replacement, nutritional medicine, sexual dysfunction treatment, group health classes, and weight loss strategies to my practice. It soon became clear that many patients needed significant help and formal structured weight loss programs to attain their health goals, so in 2017, we launched a formal weight loss program grounded in educating patients on healthy eating habits and coaching them through lifestyle changes. We also partnered with Beauty Counter to offer toxin free skincare products to our clients. We are proud to be one of the few healthcare providers in the country offering the MonaLisa Touch Gynecologic Laser therapy for the treatment of vaginal atrophy due to natural aging or breast cancer treatments, and vulvar lichen sclerosus (a common, painful, gynecologic autoimmune condition).

Q: What are the benefits of practicing anti-aging medicine (as a professional, and for your practice)? 

My passion for healing has been reawakened using anti-aging strategies like natural herbs, nutritional products, lasers, radio-frequency, bioidentical hormones, successful weight loss programs and lifestyle coaching. My practice is thriving, and the diversity of our offerings keeps our staff, clients, community and peers engaged.

Q: What are the changes you see in your patients?

My patients are feeling better, are taking charge of their own health, and are making positive lifestyle changes which are leading to fewer and fewer prescription medications and unwanted side effects.

Q: Why would you recommend Anti-Aging Medicine to your peers?

Anti-aging medicine offers many more tools to help people feel better and enjoy their lives, with significantly fewer side effects than prescription medication. The results speak for themselves, and the happy faces of people transforming their own lives provides joyful motivation to continue down this pathway.

Q: Where do you see the future of Anti-Aging medicine 20 years from now?

I think the field of genomic medicine will expand exponentially, and we will be able to pick best treatments options for patients on an individual basis by understanding each individual’s genetic makeup.

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