Inflammation & Autoimmune Disease ~ Holistic Dermatology

Inflammation & Autoimmune Disease

Interviewer:   Good, so what got you interested in inflammation, inflammatory conditions, and autoimmune disease before you were doing holistic dermatology?

Dr. Dattner:   Well, when I was in college, I was volunteering at a little place up in Rye called Sloan Kettering.

Interviewer:   Little place?

Dr. Dattner:   It was. It’s now a big village, the place where that was. It was a laboratory where they were testing all kinds of stuff that they could find and seeing if it could kill tumors. But there was one little laboratory in there that was doing tumor immunology. I went and started volunteering there and that was where I first learned about lymphocytes and cellular-immune reactivity and tumor immunology.

Interviewer:   Right..

Dr. Dattner:   From there I went to a series of different laboratories where I was studying cellular-immunology and winding up at the National Cancer Institute. I had a long interest in the basic science behind this. In fact, I translated into my clinical understanding of how these things work and it helps me see somebody’s picture and pull it together in a way that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Interviewer:   Yes, so refreshing. I have to tell you with your background as a medical doctor to be engaged in all these alternative methods you use in holistic dermatology and integrative medicine, and seeing them work so well, you love it.

Dr. Dattner:   Well, it’s only because I had heard about them and I sort of believed it. But, when I did my work on immune recognition and saw how the equations could be so different than one could have imagined otherwise in terms of one thing stimulating another thing as a response, I started to understand why those things make sense and knew that there was truly a science behind it. That science didn’t become understood generally until almost 20 some odd years later when people started talking about this in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Interviewer:   That’s amazing, it’s great.

Using Polio to… destroy brain cancer?

Poliovirus. Transmission electron micrograph, negative stain image of the polio virus.A very exciting report just came out of Duke University, from the laboratory of doctors Matthias Gromeier, MD, and Allan H. Friedman, MD, demonstrating that a genetically engineered form of poliovirus was able to destroy brain cancers–when injected directly into the cancers.

Interestingly, this virus was able to infected brain cancers, but not normal brain tissue. Besides the destructive effect of the virus on the brain cancers, it was believed that the virus also caused an immune response against the brain cancer, thus targeting the immune system to help destroy the cancer.

It is especially interesting to me, having worked with the founder of tumor immunology, Dr. Lloyd Old, nearly 5 decades ago, and having investigated the nature of immune recognition and destruction by lymphocytes, at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the late 1970s.

My chief there, and current colleague, Dr. William R Levis, has a product in phase 2 trials, which is been shown to be effective in eradicating cutaneous melanoma metastases by creating an immune response against them. It is exciting to see immunotherapy of cancer becoming a reality after being part of this field for half a century. Here’s a more recent study from William Levis.

Although this next comment is highly speculative, it is certainly ironic to see the modified form of poliovirus destroying brain cancers when the polio vaccines around 1960 we’re contaminated with SV 40 virus, which is suspected to have a causal role in the formation of brain cancers in rare instances in those people who’ve received it.

A wild speculation might include the possibility that some genetic combined information from the original polio and SB 40 combination gave rise to some of the tumors being treated, and that the new modified poliovirus is cross reactive to some aspect of the brain tumor, and thus sets off a cross reactive immune attack against it.

I hope to have the opportunity someday to tie together some of these various treatments, based on insights from our past studies at the NCI.

To your health,

~Dr. Dattner
Holistic Dermatology & Integrative Medicine

10 Things to Eat for Perfect Skin

Check out a copy of Prevention Magazine this month; I’m quoted in the current November 2012 issue of

, in their article, 10 Things to Eat for Perfect Skin.

I discuss the relationship between eating sugar and the accelerated breakdown of the collagen and elastin in the skin, leading to wrinkles. Sugar binds to proteins in the skin forming Advanced Glycation Endproducts (or AGE’s). These AGE’s stimulate enzymes that chew up to collagen and elastin, leading to sagging skin. Check out the article for the full story. (Prevention, Nov 2012, p 52)

-Dr. Dattner

Holistic Dermatology & Integrative Medicine
New York

Vitamin D: Back in the News

6a00e55255b4628834017d431fd656970c-320wiVitamin D is back in the news, with recent studies showing that fewer people need Vitamin D supplements, according to new FDA guidelnes. I disagree with these new guidelines because they’re based on a study I find sorely lacking: 

For example, there was unfortunately no examination of Vitamin D and bone health in this study. Also, the effect of higher vitamin D levels on boosting immunity in such a way as to counteract autoimmune disorders was neither mentioned, nor investigated.

The studies also purport that lower levels of Vitamin D did not affect overall mortality in a totally mixed and kidney disease population. They even mention that Vitamin D was associated with kidney disease and some cancers.

Such studies with no regard for the complex underlying way a supplement acts on the human body (and specifically immune system and bones) can only serve to confuse physicians and the general population. Until I see careful studies of people with different illnesses, and studies that contradict what has been shown in the immune system, I will continue to consider the new lower vitamin D levels recommended as insufficient for certain individuals with disorders of the immune system.

What’s worse, this kind of study and the headline stories about the supposed conclusion of this meta-analysis in the press could harm hundreds of thousands of people who actually do need more vitamin D because of the condition they have or the condition of their immune system.  For example, another recent study showed that people with pneumonia had better survival if they had higher Vitamin D levels, and that the benefits depend on the type of Vitamin D taken (Vitamin D3 possibly being superior to D2).

We will keep you up to date exploring the many aspects emerging on this important vitamin, Vitamin D, as it relates to the skin and the immune system.

To your health,

-Dr. Alan M. Dattner, MD

Holistic Dermatology & Integrative Medicine
New York, NY

Chicken and Rice… Not so nice?

6a00e55255b4628834017c32896819970b-300wiAlmost like a bad Halloween movie, data (re-)emerged in the press recently that both chicken and rice may be contaminated with arsenic.

Why? Well, turns out that arsenic is used in chickenfeed in the US to prevent certain diseases and make the chickens’ flesh pink. Arsenic finds its way into rice that is grown in soil where crops like cotton were grown before with arsenical pesticides.

Arsenic-based pesticides are also used in potato and tobacco farming, so groundwater and wells near those farming areas may also be contaminated by arsenic. Arsenic is a cumulative poison that builds up in the body, and has been linked to formation of skin cancers as well as cancers inside the body. Wouldn’t you think that a government so conscious about health and health costs would figure out how to get the arsenic out of such basic foods?

Ok, enough worrying, it’s making me sick… would you please pass the organic chicken soup? See this Mother Jones article for more information.

To your health,

Dr. Alan M. Dattner, MD

Holistic Dermatology & Integrative Medicine
New York, NY