What is The Texas Association of Freestanding Emergency Centers (TAFEC)?

What is The Texas Association of Freestanding Emergency Centers (TAFEC)?

Freestanding Emergency Centers are a relatively new concept in Texas, having been established in 2009. This form of healthcare differs from other healthcare providers due the type and quality of healthcare offered. There are many freestanding emergency centers spread all over Texas. To maintain high quality standards and present a unified voice, the freestanding emergency centers formed the Texas Association of Freestanding Emergency Centers (TAFEC). Bellaire ER explores the formation and functions of TAFEC.


The freestanding emergency care industry was established in 2009 under House Bill 1357. However, there were few freestanding ERs in Texas that operated individually before the bill was passed. Each of these ERs set their own regulations about operating times and the quality of care.
After the recognition of the freestanding ERs by law, there was a need to standardize their practices. It is due to this need that TAFEC was formed. The association became the first statewide representation for FECs in the United States.


TAFEC looks to provide a unified voice from the freestanding emergency centers. This way, the industry can present its views clearly and have a central point of representation. This unification helps the industry pay an important role during the creation of laws and regulations affecting the freestanding emergency centers.

TAFEC is also involved in creating awareness on freestanding emergency centers all over Texas. Through their awareness mandate, TAFEC aims to inform residents about the benefits of FECs and how to use them.

TAFEC also helps to maintain high quality standards for all its members. This includes high quality service to patients in minimum wait times.


TAFEC has been involved in many advocacy roles to create fair regulation for the FEC industry.
Health insurance transparency is one of the items under TAFEC’s legislative agenda. TAFEC is pushing for legislation that will require insurance companies to be transparent about how they calculate the rates paid to out-of-network healthcare providers.

The problem of surprise medical costs has plagued consumers who visit FECs. People are often presented with huge medical bills especially when they visit out-of-network FECs. This is because some insurance companies only cover a small portion of the bill and thus the patient is left to cater for the rest out-of-pocket.

With a transparent calculation mechanism, the insurers will have to be consistent in their payments to healthcare providers and the law can institute penalties for any insurance company that underpays.

Keeping in its role to provide fair regulation in the industry, TAFEC is looking to eliminate surprise medical bills through legislation. They hope to create a law that standardizes the reimbursement rates from the insurance providers. This way, patients will not be presented with surprise medical bills as they’ll already know how much their insurance covers.

Apart from the transparency of insurance companies, TAFEC also aims to promote the transparency of FECs. FECs in Texas were plagued with the problem of people confusing them with urgent care centers. This led to the passage of the Senate Bill 425 that mandated FECs to provide clear signage and information on the difference in cost and quality of care between them and urgent care centers.

The bill requires the FECs to post notices that inform patients that the facility is a freestanding emergency center and that billing is similar to a hospital based emergency center. The notices also inform the patients that their medical insurer might not cover their costs and that the physician attending to them might bill separately from the hospital.

These notices have to be placed in areas where they are clearly visible such as the entrances, treatment rooms, payment locations, and on the FECs website.

The bill helped to reduce complaints by patients who were met with surprise bills to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

In keeping with the need for transparency, TAFEC also has a section on its website that informs patients on which healthcare facility can serve them best. The section primarily aims to distinguish between urgent care and emergency centers. Illnesses and injuries such as flu symptoms, sprains, cuts, and allergies are best treated at an urgent care. Emergency rooms should be accessed for true emergencies such as heart attacks, stroke, chest pain, and severe burns.

TAFEC also has a lot of materials on other subjects such as FEC billing and Texas medical statutes. All this information is meant to help patients make the right decision when visiting a healthcare center. It also helps them access quality healthcare in times of an emergency since they know that that the insurers are supposed to pay for the emergency services at in-network rates.


TAFEC has 30 members who run 220 FECs across Texas. The FECs are located in more than 100 communities all over Texas. All the facilities operated by each member have to join if the parent company decides to join the association. These facilities also have to pay separate dues.

How emergency rooms charge?

26 May 2017 New Treatments, Quote

Every time you walk to an emergency room, you are required to complete very long forms providing information about your health insurance and funding means. A copy of your insurance card is then filed together with the filed form before treatment begins. Do you know what happens afterwards though?

There is a common misconception that emergency rooms services come at a higher cost that those offered in traditional hospital facilities. This however, is far from the truth because the services are offered at an almost or even lower rate when you factor other charges which are levied in hospitals but are non-existent in emergency rooms. The reason why most people often complain about the cost of emergency rooms, is the fact that they don’t understand the billing system of emergency rooms. Why is it that most people feel that the amount of money billed against them after receiving emergency services is higher than what it should be? What would happen if you had no insurance cover and received medical care in an emergency room? Are there some unknown surprise bills which are added without your information? How do emergency rooms charge? Here is a quick guide in how the billing system of emergency rooms works;

Emergency services are mandatory to all with or without insurance

The first important fact that we have to point out about emergency rooms, is the fact that everyone is expected to be given emergency treatment whether or not he/she has insurance. Some people are given treatment even if they can’t afford it. This prompts emergency rooms to set up gross charges to be quite high in-order for them to compensate the payment of the less privileged.

Insurance service provider bargain with the emergency rooms on the amount of money payable

The other important thing you should know, is the fact that the hospital and the issuer of your insurance do bargain to come to terms on the amount of money payable for your emergency room treatment. The amounts of money quoted on your bills are not what insurance companies end up paying to the emergency rooms. They pay way less than you can imagine. Depending on the proficiency of the insurance company brokers, the charges can be cut down by more than 60%. It all depends with their contract negotiation skills and ability to convince the emergency room financial departments.

Emergency room visits are part of insurance benefits the insured enjoy

Everyone who is covered by a health insurance receives emergency room benefits. Each and every health insurance I know of in America includes benefits for emergency room visits for all its subscribers. This doesn’t restrict you to a particular institution as well. You are free to visit an emergency room of choice at any one point when you are experiencing a medical condition that needs you to visit the ER.

Amount of money paid depends on the specific service received from the emergency room

When it comes to the charging itself, there are a few factors used to come up with the final cost of an emergency visit. An emergency room will charge you for every single service that you receive. Minor or insignificant as it may seem to you, an MRI scan will be included in your final bill. This is why you normally receive very many bills from separate departments especially in hospitals. Each Emergency room department in a hospital will separately provide a quotation of the amount of money they feel you are supposed to pay. This is normally because most departments in hospitals are separate legal entities and as such, each has its own bill attached. Standalone emergency rooms like Bellaire Emergency Room though normally have only two or three claims in the final bill for your visit because the whole institution works under single management. The only claim perhaps comes from the physician.

Severity of the condition also plays a role in determining the final amount of money you pay for the services

Besides being charged for every single service you receive in an emergency room, you will get a final bill corresponding to the severity of your medical condition and the complexity of the treatment you received. In Bellaire Emergency Room for example there are 5 levels of care. From level 1 to level 5. Level 1 care is meant for ‘minor’ problems like earache while level 5 care is meant for far complex issues like broken bones and trauma. The cost rises as you go up the treatment chain.

If you are in Texas and are in Houston and are looking for an emergency room that offers cheap and reliable services in the area, then look no further than Bellaire Emergency Room. Our emergency room is well-equipped with the latest medical facilities and you can therefore expect nothing short of the best treatment from us. We accept most of the insurances in the US and our charging/billing system is transparent. Visit us today for the best possible emergency room care in Houston.

How are emergency rooms funded in America?

26 May 2017 New Treatments

I have realized a certain trend in the emergency rooms which has been bothering me for a long time now. I came to realize recently that the number of people receiving medical care from emergency rooms without insurance are more than those who are under insurance cover. This made me wonder how emergency rooms are able to sustain their services in America!

How are emergency rooms funded in America? This is a common question that I have come across in various medical platforms and social media pages. People are curious to know how the emergency rooms are funded considering that they sometimes give urgent care to the uninsured who can’t afford the services. In an effort to explain this, I want to take a look at the different types of emergency rooms available in America and how they conduct their business.

There are two main types of emergency rooms in America; freestanding emergency rooms and hospital emergency departments. Freestanding emergency rooms are facilities staffed by emergency services, are open 24 hours a day and are physically separated from the hospital. They may be owned by hospitals or be privately owned by individuals. Freestanding emergency rooms can further be broken down into either hospital outpatient department emergency center or independently owned freestanding emergency room. The main difference between the two subcategories is the fact that the former accepts Medicaid/Medicare payments while the latter does not. The latter are not bound by the federal legislation and regulations regarding operations such as EMTALA. This is not the case in all states though. Some states like Texas for example have passed legislations that impose rules and regulations similar to EMTALA on all the independently owned freestanding emergency departments.

The traditional hospital based emergency rooms on the other hand, operate normally and accept payment from Medicaid and Medicare. They are governed by federal rules and regulations such as EMTALA.

Financial implications for patients visiting the emergency rooms

There is no big difference between the cost of services offered in the freestanding emergency rooms and the hospital based emergency departments. The biggest difference as we have seen comes in when it comes to paying for the services that have been provided. The hospital based emergency rooms will readily treat Medicaid and Medicare as in network while their freestanding independently owned emergency rooms will not accept payment from such forms of payment.

Who funds the emergency rooms?

So, now that we have seen the main differences between the freestanding emergency rooms and hospital-based emergency rooms, it is time to go back to the main issue of who really funds these emergency rooms? How are they able to bridge the gap and financial void left behind when they offer services to the uninsured? This is what it is that normally happens especially in the hospital based emergency rooms;

Hospitals and physicians are normally forced to shoulder the financial burden for the uninsured by incurring billions of dollars in debt each year. This is a very common scenario in America. Actually of all the 140+ million reported emergency room visits, only about 40 million visits were made by insured people and the remaining 55% of the emergency care goes uncompensated. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Health, the accumulative bad debt or amount of money accrued by uninsured people receiving urgent medical care is in the neighborhood of $200 billion every single year. A study recently conducted by the American Medical Association showed that more than one-third of emergency physicians lose an average of $140,300 each year from EMTALA-related bad debt. So, how are emergency rooms still able to make profit with such figures? How do they make up for the lost funds?

In an effort to offset the bad debt, hospitals in the recent past shifted uncompensated care costs to insured patients to make up the difference. This basically meant that the insured patients were forced to help carry the burden of uninsured patients. This is however not applicable today. Owing to numerous complaints and lawsuits by insurance companies and individuals, cost shifting was done away with. It therefore is no longer is a viable option because managed care and other health plans have instituted strict price controls to their insurance plans. This means that there is very little leeway and margin for the emergency rooms to try and squeeze in some of the bad debt through cist shifting.

Things are not looking any good though. With projections that health care costs will double in the coming few years and the number of uninsured Americans not showing signs of reducing, emergency rooms and other medical service providers will have to keep bearing with the burden. The nation will have to keep providing for not just the disadvantaged in the society but for the uninsured as well.


Nanoparticles Used in Medicine Today

Nanoparticles for medical use - Emergency Care by Bellaire ER in Bellaire, TexasPeople are living longer and healthier lives with every passing year as medical technology continues to progress in previously unthinkable ways.  For instance, imagine a tiny supercomputer that can enter your body and diagnose any health problems from the inside out.

Believe it or not, this isn’t science fiction; this nanotechnology is already under development to make this a reality through the use of nanoparticles.

What are Nanoparticles?

By definition, a nanoparticle is a very small object or chemical that, in terms of its transport and properties, behaves as a whole unit and ranges in size from 1 to 100 nanometers.  To give you an idea of how small that is, try to picture the width of an 8,000th of a hair.

Although they’re being manufactured for medical purposes now, nanoparticles weren’t invented by humans; these microscopic flecks are naturally occurring in things like milk, volcanic ash, and clay.

How are nanoparticles being used?

Many applications for nanoparticles are still in the preliminary testing phase.  Drug delivery and early cancer detection are some of the most competitive utilizations.  In fact, Google recently joined the nanomedicine race.  Their technology is a long term diagnostic particle that binds to disease-causing cells.  The patient would wear a magnetic bracelet that alerts them when dangerous molecules are detected, however, this plan is still in its infantile stages.

Currently, there are some nanotechnology-based drugs that are FDA approved for commercial use or are in their final human testing trials:

  • Cornell dots (Clinical trials) – Used by surgeons to determine the exact location of tumors with the help of a florescent dye.
  • Doxil (FDA approved) – Used to treat ovarian cancer and multiple myeloma (a type of bone marrow cancer).  The drug is encased in lipid layers that target the cancer while reducing damage to the heart, which is a side effect of the treatments.
  • Abraxane (FDA approved) – Used to treat breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, and lung cancer.

Nanomedicine is a fairly new way to treat disease, but scientists believe that the possibilities are endless.  Only time will tell just how much this technology will accomplish and improve the quality of life for mankind.

Las Nanopartículas Utilizadas en la Medicina de Hoy

Nanoparticles for medical use - Emergency Care by Bellaire ER in Bellaire, TexasLa gente vive vidas más largas y más saludables con cada año que pasa como la tecnología médica continúa progresando de manera antes impensables. Por ejemplo, imagine una pequeña supercomputadora que puede entrar a su cuerpo y diagnosticar cualquier problema de salud desde adentro hacia afuera.

Lo creas o no, esto no es ciencia ficción; este nanotecnología ya está en fase de desarrollo para hacer de esto una realidad a través de la utilización de nanopartículas.

¿Cuáles son las Nanopartículas?

Por definición, una nanopartícula es un objeto muy pequeño o químico que, en términos de su transporte y propiedades, se comporta como una unidad completa y oscila en tamaño desde 1 a 100 nanómetros. Para que te hagas una idea de lo pequeño que es, tratar de imaginar el ancho de un 8000o de un cabello.

A pesar de que están siendo fabricados con fines médicos ahora, las nanopartículas no fueron inventadas por los seres humanos; estas motas microscópicas son de origen natural en cosas como la leche, la ceniza volcánica y arcilla.
¿Cómo se están usando nanopartículas?

Muchas aplicaciones de las nanopartículas se encuentran todavía en la fase de pruebas preliminares. La entrega de medicamentos y la detección temprana del cáncer son algunos de los usos más competitivos. De hecho, Google se ha unido recientemente la carrera de la nanomedicina. Su tecnología es una partícula de diagnóstico a largo plazo que se une a las células causantes de enfermedades. El paciente podría llevar una pulsera magnética que les avisa cuando se detectan moléculas peligrosas, sin embargo, este plan se encuentra todavía en sus etapas infantiles.

Actualmente, hay algunos fármacos basados en la nanotecnología que son aprobados por la FDA para su uso comercial o están en sus ensayos finales de prueba humanos:

  • puntos de Cornell (ensayos clínicos) – utilizado por los cirujanos para determinar la ubicación exacta de los tumores con la ayuda de un colorante fluorescente.
  • Doxil (aprobado por la FDA) – Se usa para tratar el cáncer de ovario y el mieloma múltiple (un tipo de cáncer de médula ósea). El fármaco está encerrado en capas de lípidos que se dirigen al cáncer, mientras que la reducción de daños en el corazón, que es un efecto secundario de los tratamientos.
  • Abraxane (aprobado por la FDA) – Se usa para tratar el cáncer de mama, cáncer de páncreas y cáncer de pulmón.

La nanomedicina es bastante una nueva manera de tratar la enfermedad, pero los científicos creen que las posibilidades son infinitas. Sólo el tiempo dirá hasta qué punto esta tecnología va a lograr y mejorar la calidad de vida de la humanidad.

Laser Therapy for Joint Pain

New Laser Treatment is Effective and Low Cost

Joint pain is one of the most common medical conditions in the United States – and probably worldwide. It is estimated that more than 50% of Americans live with chronic pain. Probably a majority of these conditions are joint pain conditions. Unfortunately, millions of Americans are spending millions of dollars on prescription drugs in an effort to minimize their joint pain. Most of these powerful prescription drugs only treat the symptoms of joint pain – they don’t treat the cause of the pain.

The good news is that medical technology and techniques continue to advance and now there is a very promising laser treatment that actually treats the cause of joint pain. This is a wonderful and promising treatment that hopefully can be used to treat joint pain as a standard treatment. It is non-invasive and early results demonstrate that it significantly reduces or eliminates pain with a relatively small number of treatments. This is extremely exciting news. Any treatment that addresses the cause of joint pain and allows patients to terminate their use of prescription drugs is a wonderful medical development

What is Laser Therapy for Joint Pain?

The treatment is known as low-level laser therapy or LLLT. One of the pioneers of this treatment method is Dr. Howard Cotler, an orthopedic surgeon based in Houston. He has been quoted in the press multiple times because this is a revolutionary treatment method. It has multiple applications for musculoskeletal pain including the neck, back, and leg and arm joints. Among the benefits are:

1) Reduces Inflammation
2) Reduces Muscle Spasms
3) Reduces Pain
4) Accelerates Repair of Damaged Tissue

In general, one to five laser treatments are common for actue injuries while more difficult chronic injuries may require five to twenty treatments. Each treatment costs between $50 and $100 – a very afforable cost.

Dr. Cotler has pointed out that thisis an FDA approved treatment/device and that it has other applications for promoting the healing of the human body. Some of these applications include the healing of wounds, dentistry. healing of nerve injuries, and ophthalmology.

Since this is a new and revolutionary treatment method most insurance companies will not cover the expenses. But this should change once they realize the effectiveness and low cost of the treatment method.

Click here for more information about this treatment.

Phage Therapy

Phage Therapy – Infecting the Infection

Today doctors and patients are faced with numerous infections and diseases that are resistant to antibiotics. What are we going to do? Recently American scientists have “re-discovered” an old tool – Bacteriophages (phages). Phages were known to work – sometimes – by doctors in the 1920s but in the last few decades have become a very important medical tool for doctors in Russia, eastern Europe, and more recently Asia.

Phages are very small viruses that can invade or infect a dangerous bacteria or pathogen such as dysentery or cholera. They are 100 times smaller than the cells they target and kill. These phages can have DNA that contains very specific genes from the immune system of other bacteria. In essence, a specific phage can “steal” certain genes from one type of bacteria, incorporate it in its DNA, and then become an assassin against another type of bacteria. When a specific phage can be identified and targeted against, say cholera, it becomes a valuable weapon that can save lives. As mentioned earlier, phages are widely used in other parts of the world and are used to treat antibiotic-resistant bacterial diseases, wounds that won’t heal, diabetic ulcers, and other medical conditions.

Perhaps the first widespread use of phage therapy in this country was and is the use of phages to kill pathogens in our food supply. These phages are often combined into a “cocktail” and sprayed on meat, poultry, vegetables, and fruit. Listeria, Salmonella, and Escherichia Coli (E. Coli) are foodborne pathogens that can be fatal. Listeria can cause an infection called Listeriosis that has a 20% fatality rate. Nationwide foodborne illnesses account for about 3000 deaths annually.

Research is accelerating with phage therapy and much of it is focused on human cures. Some of the more prominent medical conditions being targeted for phage research are dysentery, acne, chronic ulcers, and bacterial “superbugs” that are resistant to almost all antibiotics. There is still a lot of research and testing that needs to be done. However phage therapy has great promise because it does not harm humans but will target the source of the problem, the cells of these pathogens that cause such nasty bacterial infections.

Let’s root for the phages !

Click the following link to read more about Pain Treatment, both acute and chronic.

Stem Cells

What can Stem Cells Do?

Stem cells are unique, unspecialized cells that have the remarkable ability to develop into various different cell types such as a blood cell, a liver cell, or a muscle cell. They are also unique in the fact that prior to development in a specialized cell they can replicate themselves many times over a long period of time. This second quality is called proliferation. Another unique factor is that once a stem cell has developed into a specialized cell for some organs or tissues, the cell can regenerate itself as that specialized organ or tissue cell.

Sources of Stem Cells

Stem cells are found in various places or sources in the human body. The two main sources are embryos and adult tissue, which can be further subdivided as below.

Embryonic – These stem cells are from human embryos that are in their earliest stages of development. These stem cells have the advantage of being able to specialize into almost any type of human cell.

Fetal – These stem cells are from a fetus that is about nine weeks of age or older. These stem cells also have the advantage of specializing into almost any type of human cell.

Umbilical Cord Blood – These stem cells are similar to adult stem cells and have a more narrow range of specializing into other cells.

Placental – These stem cells are similar to umbilical cord blood stem cells but they are found in greater numbers.

Adult – These stem cells are found in mature body tissues from infants to adults. These cells have less versatility in that they are specific to a particular organ or body tissue. That is, a “muscle” stem cell can only develop into muscle cells. In this way, various stem cells will continue to maintain and repair human tissues and organs for a lifetime.

Current and Future Stem Cell Treatments

Stem cells offer great promise to heal human beings. Unspecialized stem cells can be induced or directed by researchers to develop into a specific type of tissue or organ cell. The specialized stem cells can then regenerate and replace damaged tissues and organs given the proper conditions.

Tissue and Organ Regeneration

Perhaps the most important application of stem cells today is the potential for the regeneration of organs – kidneys, hearts, skin, etc. The goal is to direct stem cells to develop and replicate to create new organs and tissues for a specific person. Currently, researchers and doctors have extracted stem cells below the skin and created new skin tissue that is used to treat burn victims. Development of new organs is still some years into the future but it is a very exciting research area.

Blood Vessels

Researchers have successfully used stem cells to “grow” new blood vessels in laboratory mice. This is large step toward the goal of “growing” new blood vessels for people with vascular or cardiovascular diseases.


There is also a great deal of research being conducted to understand how stem cells might be able to treat patients with brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The goal is to direct stem cells to become new and healthy brain cells, replicate, and replace damaged brain cells.


Since heart disease is such a large problem in today’s world, researchers are also hoping to use stem cells to treat heart patients. The goal is similar – direct stem cells to become new and healthy heart cells, replicate, and replace damaged heart cells.


A type of stem cell called hematopoietic is found in blood, bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, and placentas. These stem cells have been used for years to treat certain diseases such as leukemia and sickle cell anemia. Research will continue to use these stem cells for various types of immunodeficiencies.

New Cancer Treatments

New Cancer Treatments

For the past several decades radiation and chemotherapy were the cancer treatments most often used by doctors. These treatment tools were often referred to as “shotgun” approaches because they would harm and kill healthy cells as well as cancer cells. But as we have seen throughout history, new technology will provide new tools – in this case, new cancer treatments. These new cancer treatments are “rifle” approaches in that they only target cancer cells and do very little or no harm to healthy cells. These new treatments will and are changing how doctors treat their cancer patients.

The United States accounts for more than 50% of the new cancer cases reported worldwide. In the next 15 years some experts are predicting that the number of people diagnosed with cancer worldwide will increase by almost a factor or ten. Obviously new treatment tools in the battle against cancer is important not only in the United States but for other around the globe.

The Most Promising new Cancer Treatments

  • Antibody-drug Conjugates
  • Immunotherapy
  • Signaling Pathways

Antibody-drug Conjugates (ADCs) are also referred to as “smart bombs” or “cancer smart bombs.” ADCs are antibodies that have been modified by scientists and they are designed to identify and kill cancer cells with a chemotoxin (the bomb). Other versions of ADCs use other strategies to assist in the killing of cancer cells. Some ADCs will 1) block the growth signals of the cancer cells, and 2) help identify the cancer cells for the patient’s immune system. Some ADCs under development possess a “triple threat” to cancer cells – chemotoxin, blocking cancer growth signals, and identification of cancer cells for the patient’s immune system

Immunotherapy is a strategy that helps a patient’s immune system recognize cancer cells and then kill them. One of the major problems in the battle against cancer is that the body’s immune system has trouble finding and identifying cancer cells among the healthy cells. Immunotherapy holds great promise because it is the body’s immune system killing the cancer cells, not a foreign toxin. Immunotherapy is currently delivered as a vaccine and is being tested in prostate, breast, lung, cervical, and head cancers.

Signaling Pathways are normal pathways that the body uses to regulate cell death, which is a normal function and leads to the generation of new cells. However, cancer can “hijack” these signaling pathways in their quest to reproduce and spread. New Signaling Pathways treatments are designed to prevent cancer cells from “hijacking” this normal body function.

It will take time to develop these and other new cancer treatments. However, their potential to help cancer patients is exciting and huge.

Often cancer patients will experience chronic pain. Call us about your pain treatment options.

Nuevos Tratamientos del Cáncer

En los últimos decenios la radiación y la quimioterapia fueron los tratamientos contra el cáncer más frecuentemente utilizados por los médicos. Estas herramientas de tratamiento se refieren a menudo como enfoques “escopeta,” ya que dañarían y matar a las células sanas como a las células cancerosas. Pero como hemos visto a lo largo de la historia, la nueva tecnología proporcionará nuevas herramientas – en este caso , los nuevos tratamientos para el cáncer . Estos nuevos tratamientos contra el cáncer son “rifle” enfoques en cuanto a que sólo atacan a las células cancerosas y hacen muy poco o ningún daño a las células sanas . Estos nuevos tratamientos van y están cambiando cómo los médicos tratan a sus pacientes con cáncer.

Los Estados Unidos representa más del 50% de los nuevos casos de cáncer reportados en todo el mundo. En los próximos 15 años, algunos expertos predicen que el número de personas diagnosticadas con cáncer en el mundo se incrementará en casi un factor o diez. Obviamente las nuevas herramientas de tratamiento en la lucha contra el cáncer es importante, no sólo en los Estados Unidos, pero para otros en todo el mundo .

Los más prometedores nuevos Tratamientos del Cáncer

  • Antibody-drug Conjugates
  • Immunotherapy
  • Signaling Pathways

Antibody-drug Conjugates (ADCs) también se les conoce como “bombas inteligentes ” o “bombas inteligentes de cáncer . ” ADCs son anticuerpos que han sido modificados por los científicos y que están diseñados para identificar y eliminar las células cancerosas con una quimioquina ( la bomba ) . Otras versiones de ADC utilizan otras estrategias para ayudar en la destrucción de células cancerosas. Algunos ADCS 1 ) bloquear las señales de crecimiento de las células cancerosas , y 2 ) ayudar a identificar las células de cáncer para el sistema inmunológico del paciente . Algunos ADC en desarrollo poseen un ” triple amenaza ” a las células cancerosas – quimioquina , bloquea las señales de crecimiento del cáncer , y la identificación de las células cancerosas para el sistema inmunológico del paciente.

Immunotherapy es una estrategia que ayuda al sistema inmune del paciente reconozca las células cancerosas y luego matarlos. Uno de los principales problemas en la batalla contra el cáncer es que el sistema inmunológico del cuerpo tiene problemas para encontrar e identificar las células de cáncer entre las células sanas. La inmunoterapia es muy prometedor , ya que es el sistema inmunológico del cuerpo destruye las células cancerosas , y no una toxina externa. La inmunoterapia es actualmente suministrada como una vacuna y se está probando en la próstata, de mama, de pulmón, de cuello de útero, y cánceres de cabeza.

Signaling Pathways son las vías normales que el cuerpo utiliza para regular la muerte celular , que es una función normal y conduce a la generación de nuevas células . Sin embargo , el cáncer puede ” secuestrar ” estas vías de señalización en su búsqueda para reproducirse y extenderse. Tratamientos Nueva vías de señalización están diseñados para evitar que las células cancerosas de la función normal del cuerpo “secuestro.”

Hará falta tiempo para desarrollar estos y otros nuevos tratamientos contra el cáncer . Sin embargo, su potencial para ayudar a los pacientes con cáncer es emocionante y enorme.

Can Diabetes be Reversed?

Type II diabetes, YES. Type I diabetes, NO. This is great news for people with Type II diabetes – that they have some, or perhaps a lot, of control over their diabetes. So let’s take a closer look at both types of diabetes.

Type I diabetes has been traditionally referred to as “juvenile diabetes” because it is usually diagnosed when the person is a child or young adult. Type I comprises about 5% to 10% of all diabetes cases and it is caused by a lack of insulin production by the pancreas. Unfortunately, it is not reversible and the standard treatment is insulin injection.

Type II diabetes comprises the bulk of all diabetes diagnoses, from 90% to 95%. In these patients their bodies are not processing insulin correctly. The primary cause of Type II diabetes is obesity, although genetics can play a role. Obese people have too much fat stored in their tissues and this creates an imbalance of insulin within the body. This condition is known as insulin resistance and it can have very damaging effects on the human body.

Fortunately, many people can control their weight through diet and exercise. A number of important studies in the last five years have clearly demonstrated that most people can reverse their type II diabetes with a change in lifestyle, primarily diet and exercise. And they can see results in one to eight weeks. It also means that people will have to abandon their sedentary lifestyles and poor eating habits.

Unfortunately, a healthy diet and an active lifestyle many not be enough to reverse Type II diabetes because it is a genetic condition or pre-disposition. Elevated blood sugar levels are the indicators or definition of diabetes and it may have to be treated orally or with injections. There are various treatment plans when diet and exercise is not enough. Some patients will need multiple medications to control their blood sugar and possibly their blood pressure.

Diabetes can be devastating and lethal if left untreated. The excess blood sugar levels or blood glucose can damage the blood vessels in the eyes and result in various vision problems. The excess blood glucose can damage the kidneys, nerves throughout the body, and nerves in the bladder which can result in incontinence. In addition, diabetes can damage sexual organs and double the risk of stroke and heart attack. And diabetics are frequently having their feet amputated because the poor circulation and reduced sensitivity results in run-away infections.

It is estimated that one in three children in the United States has or will have a Type II diabetic condition. The good news is that the vast majority of them can control this condition if they choose to.

No More Chemotherapy

Cancer is the enemy and chemotherapy had been one of the tools that doctors have used against it. Doctors have also used two other primary tools, surgery and radiation. However, all three treatment tools have drawbacks. Surgery is invasive and presents other risks. Radiation seeks to destroy abnormally dividing cells but can kill healthy cells also. Chemotherapy treatment is designed to destroy cancer from within but it can also destroy healthy cells.

There is no doubt that cancer treatments with these three tools have improved over the last few decades. However, we are now in a new era of cancer treatment known as “molecularly targeted therapy.” Molecularly Targeted Therapies are more precise strategies designed to attack the cancer and not affect healthy cells. This translates into more effective cancer treatments and fewer complications and side-effects.

Molecularly Targeted Therapies are specific drugs that can be tailored to an individual’s cancer. The basic strategy is to find a specific function that cancer and cancer tumors use to survive and thrive. For example, cancer cells need fuel and they need to reproduce. If researchers can find a specific method to interfere or prevent the cancer cell from obtaining what it needs, such as fuel, then the cancer cells will die.

One of the first drugs that was developed using this strategy is imatinib, also known as Gleevec. This drug, and other new ones, have accomplished success rates as high as 83%. And this is an area that is in its infancy. There is a good chance that these Molecularly Targeted Therapies will prove superior to the most advanced chemotherapy treatments currently used.

It should be mentioned that these new therapies are not perfect. Many cancer tumors have a variety of genetically different cells so often cancer tumors are a challenge that will require multiple drugs. In addition, many cancers can develop a resistance to a specific drug so it will be necessary for doctors to also combat these resistant cancer cells.

Chemotherapy is still a valuable tool for cancer doctors. New delivery methods such as encasing the toxic drug in nano-particles or fat-based bubbles are raising the effectiveness of chemotherapy while reducing the harm to healthy cells. But the future of cancer treatment seems to be Molecularly Targeted Therapy.

1 2