A malignant disease that affects the bone marrow, blood or the lymphatic system is defined as blood cancer. Blood cancer presents itself in three different forms: leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma [1].

The symptoms of leukemia are extreme fatigue, anemia and weakness; in this, the numbers of red blood cells lessen in number alarmingly. Chronic leukemia is characterized into four stages (according to the diagnosis and metastasis rate), namely:

1st stage: Lymph nodes swell up due to increase in the number of lymphocytes.
2nd stage: Along with the lymph nodes, liver and the spleen also swell up.
3rd stage: Anemia sets in.
4th stage: Alarming decrease in the number of blood platelets. Leukemia afflicts the lungs with increase in the severity of anemia [2].

The number of males dying worldwide due to leukemia is 1, 43,700 whereas the number of females is 1, 13,800 [3]. Diagnosis of leukemia in India stands at 6,000 cases per year [4].

For leukemia patients, bone marrow transplantation is the standalone choice to survive. Alternative treatment options against leukemia give the patients a new lease of life, as they are less invasive and make them appreciate life and its difficulties.

ALTERNATIVE LINES OF CURRENT TREATMENT:

Acupuncture: Acupuncture alleviates the side-effects (swelling, weakness of the muscles, tingling etc.) of the drugs used in chemotherapy. Hence, it contributes to the patient's recovery from the disease. Nausea can also be lessened with the help of acupuncture- before and during the chemotherapy treatment process [5].

Ayurveda: In ayurvedic medicine, a plant's root extract is seen to lessen the spread of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). The plant is Coleus Forskohlii (Makandi) which is either used in stage 3 or 4 of leukemia or in those patients who have shown resistance to the drug Gleevec. This is seen to have no harmful effects, on the cells functioning normally. It can also lessen the cancerous cell growth till 90% [6]. But in Ayurveda, there is still no answer for curing leukemia completely [7].

Bio-resonance therapy: Bio-resonance restores the normal body functions, for it to work efficiently. This is carried out by changing the electro-magnetic vibrations of the patient. The Biocom bio-resonance device can detect the amount of toxins present in the body's extracellular fluid. This would, in turn, give information about the exact stress-causing source which can then be found out and removed from the body. This treatment procedure balances the pH levels of the body by removing the unwanted acidic materials [8].

Chinese herbal medicines: They are of three types- Classical medicinal herbs, folk herbs and the hi-tech ones.

The anti-cancer component LDL-110 is 6 times more capable than mitomycin in eradicating 14 varieties of cancers in human beings (this includes 2 variations of leukemia itself). Also, the anti-cancer component LPY-80 treats leukemia arising due to a variety of reasons. The symbiosis of Glossy Privet fruit (nu zhen zi) and Milkvetch root herb (sheng huang qi) results in a greater efficiency against leukemia i.e. 90% [9].

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES AGAINST LEUKEMIA IN THE FUTURE:

Silvesterol derived from plants and used in B cell malignancies (i.e. chronic lymphocytic leukemia) [10].

Concentrated sulforaphane from broccoli inhibits acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells in vitro [11].

The metabolite, D12-PGJ3 of Omega-3 fats has been found to choose and eliminate the leukemic stem cells in mice [12].

Grapeseed extract (GSE) initiates apoptosis by 'switching on' a protein called JNK in leukemic cells, in vitro. Positive results are seen inside 24 hours of the administration of Grapeseed extract [13].

Anthocyanidin found in black raspberries killed half the human leukemic cells due to oxidative stress, within 18 hours of the extract administration [14].

Polysaccharides from oyster mushrooms such as Pleurotus pulmonarius and Pleurotus ostreatus were given to rats. This resulted in increased generation of white blood cells. P. ostreatus was found to be more effective than P. pulmonarius [15].

The seed extract of the plant Annona glabra to be used against leukemic cell lines of humans by incorporating into drugs [16].

Symbiotic enhancement of leaf extracts activity of Parthenium hysterophorus Linn and Oldenlandia corymbosa Lam against leukemic cell lines of humans. This outcome also needs to be proven in vivo [17].

Activity of Avicennia marina (gray mangrove tree) leaves against promyelocytic leukemic cells (HL-60) in humans [18].

Effect of Ethanolic Turmeric Extracts (ETE) from Curcuma longa against two leukemic cell lines of humans (U937 and Molt4) [19].

The effect of mycotoxin, Beauvericin, from fungi Beaveria bassiana against leukemic cell lines of humans (CCRF-CEM and HL-60) [20].

COMBINATION OF ALTERNATIVE THERAPY AND DRUGS TO TREAT LEUKEMIA

Resveratrol heightened the positive effects of two drugs used against leukemia, namely, fludarabine and cladribine- on human cancer cells that were not treated [21].

Hydrolysable polyphenols (P2Et) obtained from Caesalpinia spinosa raised the levels of doxorubicin therapy against leukemia [22].



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[b]REFERENCES[/b]
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22. Castaneda D M, Fiorentino S, et al. A gallotannin-rich fraction from Caesalpinia spinosa (Molina) Kuntze displays cytotoxic activity and raises sensitivity to doxorubicin in a leukemia cell line. BMC Complmentary and Alternative Medicine. 2012; 12:38: 1-10.