I suspect ‘vaccination’ is a word that many have become more familiar with since the COVID 19 pandemic. I also imagine that, most if not all, reading this will have experienced this form of treatment, either in their childhood or more recently to combat the coronavirus. Why, you may be wondering, would a vaccine, typically injected into the blood and designed to boost our bodily defences, be reason for hope when it comes to tackling brain tumours?
In this short post it is my hope that I can combine my neuro-immunology training with my ‘trauma-informed’ experience of living with a brain tumour, to offer some reasoning and logic as to why this relatively fresh approach in targeting brain tumours, is reason to be hopeful.
First, I’ll need to briefly explain the significance of your immune system in this approach, which I am going to rename and call your ‘self-defence’ system. Perhaps this slight modification can introduce a completely different perspective, especially if the focus is placed on the ‘self’ of ‘self-defence’.
Imagine a scenario as a child, and you suddenly need to (physically) defend and protect yourself from a ‘foreign object’, such as some stones. The typical ‘automatic’ response is to grab any physical form of protection immediately available. i.e., some sort of shield, that you can use to protect and defend yourself with. Now imagine if panic was to ‘set in’, (i.e., we introduce stress). I suspect your self-defence response would become compromised.
This is exactly what can happen to your internal ‘self-defence’ system. Basically, when under chronic stress, the immune system can become weakened. Consequently, a ‘foreign object’, such as an abnormal cell/object (such as a virus/bacteria or tumour cell) fails to be detected, ingested, and broken down by the body’s immune system. That failure to remove the foreign object can and does of course lead to various consequences.
So, there are various steps that can be taken to address this. Perhaps one of the most important steps is to become more aware of any stress, that could be compromising the ability of your immune system to function optimally.
Another, which is the focus of this post, is to bolster the immune system, which can be achieved via different means. In the case of a vaccine, that is like fine tuning the targeting of a ‘missile system’, used to attack a foreign object, laying siege in the body but detected on the internal radar system. This is exactly what the scientists are working hard to do i.e. to create missiles and an optimal programme, to ensure the missiles have an ability to lock onto to the target, i.e. the tumour cell. In the meantime, while we wait, there are various ways you can facilitate this process from within, some of which is explored during this online group session for the charity, Brainstrust and is now on the Lifestyle Health Foundation’s Youtube channel at https://youtu.be/hWyttIgse6U?si=qdYjybgQESt05KQc