Wednesday 4 June 2008

DIY Stem Cells

Stems cells are the embryonic cells that all mature cells grow from. All cells start off as stem cells and then grow or "differentiate" into specialized cells, bone, skin, blood, nerve etc. Science is currently developing ways of creating new stem cells and implanting them into a patient to heal some disease or injury. There are high hopes for this treatment. It’s predicted to be a cure for Alzheimer’s, congenital defects, neurological damage, infertility, multiple sclerosis and much more. The path being taken by conventional science is to retrieve stem cells from a specially-grown embryo of which the recipient is one of its parents, so it contains about half of the patient's DNA. This is an expensive and intricate process, but very profitable for the pharmaceutical companies of course. Retrieving the cells from the embryo usually kills it, making the whole treatment ethically questionable and controversial. The stem cells only contain a part of the patient’s DNA and so are alien to their body, like a transplanted organ. This means that the patient will need to take immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of their life and take even more drugs to counter their resulting immune-deficiency, making even more profits for Big Pharma! So would Big Pharma welcome with open arms a treatment that allowed the body to make its own stem cells, in a straightforward, non-toxic, ethical and harmless way? Sure! And I’m welcome to set up a pork butcher’s shop in the local synagogue!

The latest Nexus magazine has a fascinating article by Marvin-Lee Robey, a man who’s been inspired as much as I have by the brilliant book, The Body Electric by Robert O. Becker. He’s shown how using a special silver-ionic poultice, he can make wounds heal, not only quicker than by normal antiseptic and antibiotic treatment, but better. He sites the case of a vet who tried it on an injured horse. The horse slashed its knee right down to the bone, cutting the skin, muscle, nerves and myelin sheath. The wound was badly infected and the horse was in fever and great pain. It couldn’t walk and his fellow vets wanted him to shoot it. But this vet decided to give the silver treatment a go. After just 16 days (the article has photos of it) the wound was gone. Gone! Not even a scar! The infection had vanished and the shattered tissues had repaired themselves by actually producing their own stem cells. The cells around the wound “dedifferentiated”, turned from mature cells back into stem cells, and literally regrew all the flesh lost in the injury. The cells reproduced and differentiated in all the right places, following the DNA building code in their nucleus. These stem cells were part of the horse’s own body, with its own DNA, not donated alien DNA as in a conventional transplant culture. The horse not only recovered, but went on to become a successful show-jumper! There was another case sited of an elderly woman who had two lacerations on her skin, one was treated with antiseptic-antibiotics and the other with ionic silver. The difference was amazing. The conventionally treated wound took 4 times as long to heal and left a scar, the silver-treated wound was gone in two weeks flat with no scar.

Ionic silver seems almost an intelligent drug! It kills the bacteria and viruses that cause infection and leaves the body’s own symbiotic friendly bacteria alone. How does it tell them apart? Antibiotics are carpet-bombers; they kill everything that moves, including the body’s friendly bacteria. This is why when I took a course of antibiotics I got stomach ache. The drug was killing off the friendly bacteria that help me digest my food! Luckily I was only on them for a week to treat tonsillitis, but if I’d had to take them for a long time I’d have suffered serious chronic side-effects (which of course would need more medicine from Big Pharma to treat!) Not with ionic silver. This is fascinating stuff! Even if you’re not a regular Nexus reader, get a copy of the current issue to read this article!

The book The Body Electric by Robert O. Becker is one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read. In his youth, Becker worked as a doctor at a New York hospital. This was in the 1940’s and he treated some injured soldiers from WWII. Many of them had terrible burns, destroying their skin and leaving them with useless scar tissue: bland, unspecialized cells with no sensation nerves or sweat glands. Becker began wondering if there was some way to regenerate the lost skin over large areas in the same way it regenerates to heal a small cut. There are some animals, mostly amphibians, which can regenerate any lost part of their body. If you cut their leg off a new one promptly regrows in its place. There’s one creature, a tiny water mollusc called a hydra which is so good at this that it is effectively immortal and eternally youthful. If you cut it in half the other half regrows on both halves so it effectively clones itself. The hydra lives indefinitely, until it is starved or killed by a predator. Backer’s research soon revealed that this power of regeneration may be active only in some species, but is latent in all of them, including humans! Every living creature has a facsimile of its entire DNA genome in every single cell of its body. Why? Surely only the skin cells would need the skin DNA and the bone cells the bone DNA etc.

There’s a remarkable phenomenon that is little known, even in medical circles: A child under the age of 6 or 7 can regenerate the top half of the top joint of their finger. If the wound is left undressed the finger will regrow, nail, fingerprint and all. This caught my eye because my own brother lost the top few millimetres of his middle finger when he was three. If the doctors who treated him had known this then his finger might have been restored. Today it’s the same length as the two fingers next to it, ends in a patch of scar tissue and has a deformed nail where the cut slashed across it. Putting Becker’s research together with Robey’s brings up an exciting possibility: If our bodies have the ability to produce their own stem cells then this is the medical discovery of the millennium; Pasteur and Lister will be forgotten! It means that if we lose or damage a limb or organ we can quickly and easily grow a new one. This ability will not come from the result of painstaking, money-hungry scientific research either; it is a very simple process that comes from a natural feature of our physical system that is usually recessive, but can become active when our body is exposed to certain environmental conditions or common, natural substances.

This will not only result in a world where illness and disability can be almost eliminated, but maybe it will even be the key Aubrey de Grey and the others involved in the Life Extension projects are looking for. (For background, see: ) This will mean that we can live indefinitely ourselves if we choose to, just like the hydra, and never get old and suffer from all the painful and debilitating illnesses of old age.

So if this can be done why is it not being done? Why can’t I go to my GP and be prescribed an ionic silver poultice? It’s important to realize that healthcare is not really about creating health, it’s an industry. Its marketplace therefore is sick people. It needs people to be sick in order to stay in business. Its goal is not to find cures, per se, but to find cures for some conditions that it is profitable to cure. It relieves other conditions to the point that it can sell its relief at a sustainable profit, so making the patient a little bit better, but without completely curing the condition and so destroying the marketplace. For instance the drugs currently being used to treat heart attack patients are very expensive and the manufacturers sell them to the NHS at a cost of millions of pounds. If someone discovered a cheap, quick, one-off cure for heart disease that marketplace would dissolve instantly and be replaced with a low-profit single-sale product. This is why treatments like Robey’s are not being used in every hospital in the world today.


Alex Robinson said...

Very interesting write-up. Let's hope more of this info becomes available. It's funny how we wouldn't put up with goods that only 'half work' - yet with health care (& I use that word loosely) it's totally acceptable.

candi said...

I would like to experiment usiing stem cell to remove very old acne scars. Any help or comment appreciated.