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THE FUTURIST Interviews Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj, South Florida Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant Institute
The World Future Society, Bethesda, Maryland interviews Dr. Maharaj...
When people come down with cancer, they submit to regimens of drugs and, if need be, harsh radiation treatments. But what if those patients could forego all of this and ward off their cancers with their own white blood cells? An experimental white-blood-cell-transfusion approach that Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj is developing might make that feasible.
Dr. Maharaj is a hematologist and oncologist at the South Florida Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant Institute, a cancer treatment center that applies stem-cell therapies to cancers that have not responded well to other treatments. He is working on taking white blood cells from healthy donors and fusing them into patients with cancer, so that the transfused cells can stimulate the patients’ immune systems and enable them to ward off the cancers on their own.
In a discovery that made headline news around the world, Dr. Zheng Cui of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine developed a colony of mice with super-charged granulocytes that successfully fight off any form of virulent transplanted cancer. These super-charged granulocytes infiltrate tumor cells and destroy them. The mice given these potent granulocytes are healthy, cancer free, and have a normal life span. This research project started serendipitously in 1999 when Dr. Cui was testing the effects of administering cancer cells to mice. He found that one mouse did not develop tumors no matter how many cancer cells he administered. Further investigation led Dr. Cui to discover that the mouse that appeared to be immune from cancer had an extra amount of potent granulocytes for specifically killing cancer cells without harming normal cells. When Dr. Cui administered these potent granulocytes to mice with cancer, he cured them.