Dr Alan E. Beer
Dr Alan Beer is a world-renowned physician and scientist who has spent much of his academic life analyzing the relationship between the immune system and reproductive health. In recent years, he has dedicated himself to helping couples with infertility, IVF or implantation failure and recurrent miscarriage. His research into the causes of unexplained pregnancy loss continues today, as does his quest to identify optimum treatment protocols.
In 1962, he received his medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine. This was followed by a residency in Immunology and Genetics and a fellowship in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Pennsylvania. It was here that Dr Beer became fascinated by genetics and immunology and conducted experiments that were to lead to a major breakthrough in the treatment of reproductive failure. He noticed that when related males and females were mated to produce an inbred strain, the pregnancies were often rejected and the female soon became infertile. This phenomenon made him wonder about possible explanations for infertility in humans.
In 1971, he was board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He then became a faculty member of the University of Pennsylvania, followed by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas, and then the University of Michigan. An appointment as Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan Medical School followed in 1979. It was here that he treated a couple with seven miscarriages. By then Dr Beer was convinced of the significance of natural killer cells in pregnancy and had devised a pioneering form of therapy to control their activity. Within a year, his first "immune patient" had delivered a healthy boy.
Dr Beer joined the Chicago Medical School in 1987, where he accepted a joint appointment as Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Professor of Microbiology and Immunology. He subsequently established the School's Reproductive Immunology Clinic where he continued to specialize in treating couples that had repeatedly failed with conventional approaches and in the majority of cases, made it possible for them to have babies.
In 1988, he extended his care to those undergoing assisted reproduction and treated a couple who had failed to carry to term after 20 IVF attempts. Within a year, the woman had delivered healthy twins. From then on he saw every IVF couple no matter how difficult their case, "as long as there was hope."
In addition to handling an ever-growing patient caseload, he has contributed to many books, monographs and scientific articles concerning the impact of the immune system on fertility, and has presented his findings at national and international medical conferences in Australia, Europe and South America. By sharing new knowledge with scientists from allied and interrelated fields, progress in the study of the immunological and genetic aspects of the reproductive process can be advanced. For this reason, he has always been keen to promote cooperation between laboratories involved in experimental and clinical studies.
As well as being a past Chairman of the National Institute of Health Study Section on Human Embryology and Development, Dr Beer has been involved in other study sections involving pregnancy and human development. He has also served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Reproductive Immunology and was a founding member and past President of the American Society for Reproductive Immunology. He is now a senior member of the Council for the International Society for the Immunology of Reproduction.
In 2003, Dr Beer established The Alan E. Beer Center for Reproductive Immunology and Genetics for the evaluation and treatment of couples with immune-related problems, and in 2005, he opened his own specialist testing laboratory facility in Los Gatos, California.
View Dr Beer's Epilogue
"For years now, doctors have dealt with recurrent miscarriages saying, "You were unlucky this time", "It's God's will" and "The body knows when a baby needs to be rejected." Others simply believe that it is just bad lack when miscarriages occur or IVF treatments fail time after time.
In the 1980s, it became clear to me that products of an activated immune system could damage the placenta and cause miscarriage, as well as damage the embryo and cause implantation failure. Natural killer cells, which help to keep the body from developing cancer, can over-populate the uterus or exist at too high levels within the blood stream. These cells then go overboard, killing the embryo or interfering with the endocrine system that produces the hormones that are essential for pregnancy. This response can often be associated with complications for both the mother and her baby if the pregnancy occurs without treatment to suppress the activity of the immune system.
My research has also taught me among many other things, that there are couples who are an unlucky genetic match for each other, who produce embryos that are misinterpreted by the immune system as foreign objects, or even cancer cells. The problem eventually worsens making the uterus behave like a "den of lions" and every pregnancy attempt fails.
If autoimmunity is damaging the baby, the same autoimmunity can damage the thyroid gland, the insulin producing cells of the pancreas and the serotonin producing cells which live all over the body. Such conditions certainly can be potentially damaging to the woman's own health.
My research has shown there are five categories of immune problems that can cause infertility, IVF failure and pregnancy loss. With proper testing and appropriate therapies to modulate the immune system, these problems can be successfully overcome."
Alan E. Beer, MD
Julia Kantecki graduated with a BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art from Leeds University. After 3 failed IVF attempts she had a son who was conceived with the help of immune therapy. She was Marketing Director of a large UK company for over 10 years. Prior to this, she worked as a copywriter and freelance writer. She has first hand experience of virtually all of the procedures and treatments that are involved in the field of reproductive immunology and is 'living proof' that it works.
Having endured five miscarriages caused by a worsening immune condition, Jane Reed experienced four successful pregnancies after receiving appropriate immune treatment. Jane is the founder and moderator of the
Yahoo Reproductive Immunology website
, and chief patient advocate for Dr Alan Beer, helping to run his Internet discussion boards and gather data for his program in addition to administering the Enbrel Support Group and the Yahoo Immunology Support Group. Jane received a BA (Hons) in Biology from the University of Oregon. She lives with her family in Klamath Falls, Oregon.