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Personalized Chinese Medicine Logic or Magic? Yair Maimon

Hi everybody and welcome to the show, The Spark and Evidence of Acupuncture. I am Yair Maimon. I would like to thank the American Acupuncture Council for providing the space and broadcasting this show to you. It’s quite a unique show and I will explain why. I’m very fortunate. I’ve been practicing Chinese medicine for more than 30 years, and in the last 20 years working more closely with oncology patients, so caring very much on how Chinese medicine affects cancer and immune system. Immune system specifically now at this time has another potential or understanding the effect of Chinese medicine on the immune system, especially because of the outbreak of Corona has another interest of how we as humans can protect ourself from viruses. I’ll try to touch it. It wasn’t in my original show, but since part of the research is about immunity, and especially in native immunity, we’ll be able maybe to expand on this burning issue of the Coronavirus and its spread. Welcome to the show. I would like to start with the slides.

As I say, I have this daily dilemma as an acupuncturist, and also working in a hospital, of looking at personalized medicine, because eventually we know that the best for us will be to prescribe a personal formula to a patient. Western medicine has the advantage of researching one molecule or one agent and seeing placebo versus real, seeing if it effective or not. In Chinese medicine, in a way, each person is a whole world and to each patients we are providing a specific medicine. The question is, can we actually test it? That’s why I call this lecture Personalized Chinese Medicine, Magic or Logic? Because if we can put some logic into it, I think we are moving into the next potential of Chinese medicine and integrating Chinese medicine, especially herbal medicine, which is very difficult to integrate into regular medicine. I’ll touch on it a bit. As I say, this is my daily quest and also interest to have Chinese medicine available to patients within the regular system, and definitely for cancer patient or patients who are in a great need that can benefit from both medicines, the Western and the Chinese.

As I said, I’m very fortunate. I’ve founded this research center in Sheba Medical Center. Sheba Medical Center was one of the top 10 hospitals, a leader in medical science and biomedical innovation by Newsweek. It was one, not just in the Middle East, but worldwide, so this very innovative hospital with a lot of research facilities. That’s really, I can say my luck is to be able to also have a laboratory and research facilities and good researchers working with me and taking Chinese medicine sometimes one step forward, or challenging the ability to bring science into what we clinically do and validate it. You see the uniqueness on one side. There is, you can see the laboratory and how it looks. On the other side we have the clinical facilities, and that’s where patients get treated.

My interest is both in the research part and that’s where we provided the Tal Center at Sheba Hospital. We provide also the research and the clinical facilities. Also my deep research is in education, because I believe that one of the most needed thing, especially if you’re practicing with cancer patient or different immunological challenging diseases, we need extra knowledge. Knowledge is really the strength. With this thing in mind, is with the dream and the vision to bring this knowledge to everybody. I’m part of the TCM Academy. You can find also some of the lectures and especially a very specific course which is designed for oncology acupuncture that has an online part and offline, and is unique in this way that provides worldwide ability to understand Chinese medicine for oncology in a very kind of unique way. There’s already like 250 people graduating from this course worldwide. It provides a common knowledge to people worldwide.

As I say, Chinese medicine is personalized medicine. It is a challenge. It’s much easier in a way. There’s always a saying that Western medicine is hard to learn but easy to practice. Chinese medicine is relatively easy to learn but difficult to practice. That’s true, because each patient brings us a different challenge. For each patients we are like almost starting from the beginning, building up a personalized approach for him. We know that each person is unique, and therefore personalized approach is the right approach to provide him a good medical care, but even zebras have stripes, but they display individual stripes. As with zebra, the human DNA is 99.9 similar across the population, but this special crossing for the zebra, but also for us being so different for each other, is just 0.1. That allows us to display our individuals stripes and to be different. It’s quite amazing number if you think of it, but there is, as I said, a lot of power, and there is so much in little.

When we do a successful treatment, we look and I put on the gene level and a DNA level, because on the gene we are different. On the Shen, we have something in common, but when we want to provide a specific treatment to a specific patient, then we look at something very specialized and very personalized. That presents a challenge.

I want to prepare the lecture. Actually, it’s a patient of mine, and this is really where the story starts. As you can see, I like to look at it, she had actually a dress or a shirt with a zebra crossing. That’s how I came across to thinking about zebras in this case. She’s a female, 55 years old, a nurse, married with two children, and she has metastatic adrenocortical cancer with metastasis to the liver, lung and bones. I’ve been seeing her for quite a while. After a while, she had a very stable disease, which was like extremely good health, very stable disease for more than four years. She [inaudible 00:08:24] to the Chinese medicine, also in acupuncture, Mitotane and Cortisone, which were the usual care for her in Western medicine, and the treatment I provided her.

Her condition was stable until it started to deteriorate. When it started to deteriorate, I started, because again, it’s quite unique cancer and every patient is unique, so there’s like two concerns. What will be the best formula for her in this deterioration? I did the regular Chinese medicine diagnosis. I used the four pillars of diagnosis: observation, feeling her pulse, palpating her pulse, looking at her, asking her specific questions. Then I had three formulas in mind to right her. I put it here like formula one, formula two and formula three. I wrote almost three different formulas, one based more on my Chinese diagnosis, one thinking more about research, about different herbs that can be more specific for her cancer and for her type of medication that she was taking, and then another formula, which I said, I’m trying to be a little bit more creative, taking what I see in Chinese medicine and research and combining them together into a third formula.

This really was where my debate was, which formula will be most effective for her? Will it be the first one? I put some just few herbs from each formula as an example. Each formula contained more herbs. I had this debate between this formula one, formula two and the third one, thinking which one will benefit her most once her condition got deteriorated. The question is, since I was in and working in a hospital, can I help Western medicine and scientific testing to verify or to assist in this decision making? Can we use Western technology, and especially laboratory technology, to validate or to assist us in the decision making in this respect for the best herbal formula for this patient, and overall, to see if this formula is effective for her or not? I wondered if we can combine the healing and the part of the healing that is so strong in Chinese medicine with the science and the logic of Western medicine. This is the place where I say, is it logic or magic?

In her case, I was able to isolate her natural killer cells from her blood. This is where you see actually the oncologist taking her blood test from her. In the laboratory we can isolate her natural killer cells, her innate immunity, which as I say, this part of immunity also deals with cancer cells on a daily basis, but is also very important in the fight against viral infections. I isolated her cancer cells. We shared the shared operation. From the operation we took part of her growth and we started to grow her cancer cells in our lab. At this point, we are having in our lab two things. One is her part of her immunity system, her personalized immunity system, and we have her cancer cells growing in two different sets.

On this two different preparation, I started to see if we can put different formulas and see how they react, how her immune reacts and how her cancer cells are reacting to the different formulas. Remember, I was debating between these three formulas. This is called ex vivo. We take something from the patient, we grow it outside the body, and we try things on it. There is human research, ex vivo or in vivo. In this case, when we tried the three formulas, this is the result we got. On the first formula, her immune system got stimulated six times more than the control, so her immune system was six times more active than the control one with the first formula. With the second formula, three times more, and with the last formula, as you can see, two times more. We saw a big difference in the way her immune system responded to the different formulas. We have the first one, second and third. You can see the first one is responding in the best way.

Now the second part was looking at her cancer cells. Again, we are looking at the cancer cells and to see the death rate of the cancer cells. The first formula killed 50% of her cancer cells. This is also the same formula that increased her immune system almost six times more. The second one killed 50% of the cancer cells, and the last one 10%. The phenomena that we see, that the same compound with the same amount, the same concentration, on one hand activates the immune system six times more, on the other hand, it actually kills 50% of her cancer cells in the same amount.

We are looking, because it’s a compound, because it’s a formula that has also anticancer herbs and have herbs to increase her immunity, it works on these two arms. This is very unique. Of course, we don’t have molecules or Western medicine that can do this to action. The most interesting things to me is this is the first formula is the formula I prescribed to her just from the Chinese medicine diagnosis, just sitting in front of her, taking her pulse, looking at her tongue, hearing her story, thinking about the nature of her cancer and prescribing.

It was a kind of very great relief to me to see that formula that we prescribed in the clinic, based on our knowledge of Chinese medicine, had such a strong effect and are better than formulas that we are trying to formulate just from our mind and just from based other research or based on other criteria. Here again, the personalized formula that was made for Chinese criterias was the most effective on both arm. It has also great effect on the patient. She looked at it and results and she felt very happy and content that she’s taking something that she knows that effects her both immunity system and cancer.

But with traditional Chinese diagnosis we go even deeper. We also look at the Shen, which is a bit beyond sometimes the normal consideration, definitely of Western medicine. We want also to see how we can affect the spirit in a personalized way, not just the body. From observation, for example, we look at her eyes. As you can see, this as a picture of her eyes. You can see the fear there. It’s not just the fear of cancer. It’s something deeper that has been there all the time. If you think about it, if her cancer is in the kidney and there is a fear, then addressing this part in her will also aid in healing.

That’s definitely have an effect when we choose a point, like if we choose a point for her, I would choose the points on the chest for one of the points, like kidney 23, which called Spirit Seal, which will have a deep effect on helping her to protect her fear and her heart and feeling more, I can say, strong in herself, not just in the ability to deal with cancer and all the difficult issues dealing her, but also deep side in feeling more content and being more one, that the Shen and the gene or the heart and the kidney are uniting in a good way and communicating in a good way. Her ability to sleep, her ability to deal with the challenges she has will come much more from inner strength and inner peace than just from fear.

When there is a lot of fear there, always to me, both the prognosis is not so good, but also that person’s ability to heal are much more limited. Addressing it also in the herbal prescription, using herb like Yuan Zhi, or herbs that are addressing the kidneys and strengthening the kidneys, which have also some kind of deeper aspect. Deeper healing aspect brings us this, I think, this uniqueness of Chinese medicine of being able to see the patient and finding a prescription formula point which are actually matching the person in a very deep way and allowing and creating a deep healing, which and as we know, a human’s potential is much greater than the physical. This allows us to address it.

To me, seeing this result, and we repeated it with more patients, and the same results, always the formula that was prescribed when we see the patient has a much better ability than the other ones that were like speculated, or at least that I was debating. It was one that I felt more comfortable with according to the diagnosis. The other ones, I brought other criterias in but I felt less comfortable. It’s amazing you bring it to the cells and it shows the same. It gives us much more trust in our diagnosis in our medicine. This personally prescribed medicine, I think to me, and I hope to all of us, brings us much better confidence in the medicine and the way we deliver it on a daily basis.

It also validate the concept of holism that is very strongly embedded in Chinese medicine, that we look not just at the body on the physical plane, but we are looking at the complexity of humans, addressing the body, the mind and the spirit in whatever way you can to enable healing. I think this is one of the strong and most important points that we are making dealing in Chinese medicine in the Western world and in Western environment.

But this testing may have further application. One of the further applications that we did was interaction with her chemo. Obviously the result was a great fear, that for herbal medicine, that it will negatively interact with the patient’s Western medicine intervention, and in her case, was especially the chemotherapy. This possibility provide us again to take ex vivo to check if we can take the formula, her cancer cells, and the Western medicine that was prescribed to her, and see if we see any positive, negative or no interactions. Taxol and Gemcitabine were the two herbs that were prescribed to her. We could see that the chemo alone killed 70% of the herbs. Again, we are looking at a certain amount of chemo. This is for Taxol alone, but when we added the herbs, there was additional killing effects, so not just that it didn’t interfere with the Taxol, at least in ex vivo format, it actually enhanced the killing effect.

With Gemcitabine, we saw same, 85%. We were looking at a certain amount of chemo. Then we looked, when we’re adding the herbs, it’s increased. It was added on effect. Everything we look at in the timeline, so we are checking in during the time in a different concentration, but I’m showing you just time. If I’m picking up the easy results to understand, but everything is time-based and concentration-based, but the bottom line, this kind of potential situation in the laboratory allows us also to look at interaction with regular drugs. As we see in this case, as then I’ve seen in quite many cases in my clinic, the interaction has a much more potential positive effect than danger, as a lot of time is feared. This is definitely another way to start to look at it more scientifically.

What about the future of such testing? Because I hope and see the Chinese medicine has much for interaction with Western medicine in different ways. To me, it brings us a much stronger and broader horizon. There is few options. One is optimizing. I did actually, for her, another patient, I took again these cancer cells for example, and tried different herbs, and to see from the herbs I have, which one is killing more and which one less, and then maybe adjusting the formula accordingly, testing it again. We can optimize formulas. We can add or reduce certain herbs. We can look at interaction with chemo or interactions with other agents that the patient are receiving. We can develop a new methodology that maybe can help us in clinical decision making, create a new paradigm.

Especially at the moment, everything is elaborated, takes sometimes days and weeks of research, but soon can be achieved, can be very simple method that can isolate it definitely from the blood, even circulating cancer cells in the blood, and we can immediately or very fast do tests on them. Things that look today a bit futuristic, when we look at technology in a few years, many things will be possible. To me, it’s another paradigm and another way to think about a potential future and potential interaction with technology and Western medicine, and also discovery of new combination, very effective combination. For the last 15 years, I’ve been researching one specific formula, LCS101. If you’re interested, you can read a lot of published research by us on this formula. By now, it’s probably one of the most recent formula in the Western world. We collaborated with people from MD Anderson, from Miami Children Hospital, even the latest collaboration was with one of the good oncologists from Harvard Medical School.

Once we can show science, it’s very easy to collaborate, very easy to discover new combination to see how they are working, how safe they are. I think this give us the potential to make more and more new discoveries. Obviously, if you want to look more at my research, you’re welcome.

Just to end up, I think that one of the best future possibilities is combining the science of medicine with the art of healing. This combination can open a new horizon, both to cancer patient, but also for almost everything that we look on the level of humans. As I said, for example, now there’s this greatest fear from Coronavirus. One of the most important things is that your innate system, your immune system, innate immune system will be at its best. Then Coronavirus will be as every other virus, you either don’t get infected, or if you do, you recover quickly. Chinese medicine definitely has a potential in enhancing immune system. It’s overlooked in this potential. Everybody is looking for immunizations or other means, but I think strengthening the immune system definitely is one of our strengths and one of the things that we can bring back from ancient medicine into humanity today, and to reduce suffering and help also people to be less ill.

We can trust this path of seeing the uniqueness in each patient, because as I said, as a clinician, you always want to bring more trust in what you’re doing. To me, this research, and as I said, we did it on many other patients and the same idea repeated itself.

I would like to finish with my hero, Sun Simiao, and that’s really a sentence that goes with me always, that, “If the heart has no worries, the body has no limits.” It’s an important way to me to finish this lecture. I would like also to thank people at the hospital and people I’m closely working with, especially Zoya Cohen, Noah Samuels and Raanan Berger, who is the head of the oncology department, and the Jacobson family who provided the fund and the ability to do all this research.

I hope this was of an interest to you. If you’ll have any further question, you can always email me or ask me. I think it’s quite unique to see how Chinese medicine can be verified and validated in many ways. We shouldn’t forget that each one of us is unique and has individuals stripe. Thank you very much for watching it. As the last words, I would like to thank again the American Acupuncture Council for providing this platform and providing this show. Next week there will be Lorne Brown having a show on the same platform, so you’re welcome to watch it. All the very best to you. Be well and healthy, and I wish you all the best of health.

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