|This is a copy of the now-defunct webpage: http://www.krysalis.net/eternallife.htm|
This paper is for information only. It represents the observations, views and opinions of the author, but is not a recommendation for treatment. Anyone reading it should consult his/her physician before considering treatment.
I became sensitive to the potential of stem cell treatment as part of my efforts to find solutions to autism. This is treated in my Health Note "autism". As I thought about it I realized that it could introduce a new complement of cells with healthy genes into every organ of the recipients body, holding out the promise of treating not just autism, but every genetically carried disease. However, beyond this, since the stem cells are obtained from cord blood, (blood from the umbilical cord from the birth of a child) these cells would not only have a different complement of genes, but they would also be very young cells. What if they were introduced into an older person providing young cells to every organ of the older body? Would the person then become younger biochemically? And, if so, what are the limitations, especially if repeated treatments are employed?
With these thoughts in mind, I happened to attend a medical conference sponsored by the Orthomolecular Health Medicine Society, February 26-28 in San Francisco. One of the talks at this conference focused on measuring age biochemically. I had been well aware of this being recognized as a quite difficult problem for a long time. Most people don't think of this because we simply go by the calendar. As the talk progressed I became very impressed with the greatly advanced status of solving this problem, with a large number of "biomarkers" that had been systematically studied. The thoroughness of the data and the studies was truly fascinating. It suddenly occurred to me that this was exactly what was needed to test the concept of reversing aging with stem cell treatments. What an exciting experiment!
After the session was over I approached the presenter, who was surrounded by a group of people, and made the suggestion. At first no one seemed to understand what I was talking about and then gradually they began to get excited about it. At that point, the presenter was asked if he had ever made a measurement on a person who afterwards got a stem cell treatment and then was measured again? He said he had done it in one case only. He ran the tests on another doctor who had a special interest in aging, who then went to Europe to get a stem cell treatment. Afterwards he made the measurements again and all the biomarkers indicated a younger man. He also felt much better. I don't know why he had found my proposal so exciting with this experiment already done. I am also wondering if the person receiving the treatment had to undergo the destruction of his bone marrow (and all the risks associate with it), or if the treatment did not require that.
Conventional wisdom is that the bone marrow would have to be killed to avoid the immune system attacking the stem cells and destroying them. This is a very risky process. There is one exception: this does not have to be done with identical twins. However, as long as we are truly reaching into the future, lets assume that a person has had his/her cord blood saved at birth and it could be preserved for 50+ years. At the appropriate age, the young stem cells are infused. This would accomplish the task and avoid rejection by the immune system. If you are interested, I just found on the web at least one place that has set up to do the storage of cord blood for you: California Cryobank, web site: www.cryobank.com. This is a start. There are probably others also.
Who knows where this technology may lead over the next 10-20 years? It seems almost limitless at this point and certainly will be fascinating to watch.
11/01 Update: It is starting to happen!
As I was going through my grocery store line I happened to notice on the front page of The National Enquirer (November 13, 2001),
"LIZ GETS STEM CELL THERAPY TO BEAT AGING."
I could not resist, and purchased my first copy of that paper. The article inside the paper was titled: "LIZ TAYLOR STEM CELL SHOCKER" It states that she "has turned to bizarre experimental stem cell treatment in the Dominican Republic to beat aging and conquer her excruciating back pain" It also goes on to state that she now feels much better and quotes a friend as saying "Liz looks stronger and sounds better than she has in years."
I simply could not resist posting this report. I strongly suspect it has merit - in spite of its source. I can imagine another National Enquirer headline 100 years from now: "Liz and Bill Gates Marry to Start Another Family: It was the bride's 21st marriage and Gates second. His wife of 110 years passed away last year after contracting a virus from his computer. The bride was radiant as always."
We shall see where this leads. Who knows? We might see some very unusual transformations in LIZ. It is fortunate that she is a public figure so it will be reported for all to read.
And, we can say it all started with this web page (why not?) where the mechanism for stem cell treatment achieving powerful anti-aging benefits was first presented, possibly playing a role in giving it enough technical merit for it to be seriously pursued.
2/06 Update: Cesium Treatmemt= Calorie Restriction = Life Extension?
The Cesium Puzzle:
As presented in my cancer web page, cesium at the right dose can kill cancer cells. However there are also reports that trace amounts of cesium in the water supply of some regions are correlated with some of the longest-lived people of the world. How could this be? Cesium is not an essential mineral and does not have any known nutritional role. I would like to suggest the answer by connecting the dots, keeping the argument as brief as possible for the sake of clarity.
Cells continually divide forming a sequence of daughter cells to replace worn out cells.
Mutations occur only during cell division.
A mutation can degrade the function of the daughter cells without killing them.
A fraction of the surviving daughter cells can mutate again, adding a second mutation, further degrading cell function but not killing them.
Thus, the number of cells with mutations and the number of cells with multiple mutations gradually accumulate during life.
It takes 5-10 mutations to create a cancer cell.
The aging process itself, involving gradually reduced functionality of cells and thus organs, is also caused by the accumulation of mutations. (Telomere shortening is also involved, but that will be ignored for this argument to keep the concept clear.)
It is has been widely demonstrated that calorie restriction is by far the most powerful approach for extending life from fruit flies to mammals.
It is also been demonstrated that calorie restriction inhibits the onset and progression of cancer.
Postulated Calorie Restriction Mechanism: Calorie restriction slows down the metabolism of the cells and thus slows down their division rates. This slows down the accumulation of mutations and thus delays the onset of cancer, and slows the overall ageing process.
Postulated Cesium Consumption Mechanism: Trace amounts of cesium in the water supply of said regions, consumed over a lifetime, slowed down cell division rates in the population, resulting not only in a later onset of cancer but also slowed the overall ageing process. It would essentially be equivalent to calorie restriction. This is fully consistent with the cesium-cancer treatment mechanism presented in my cancer web page where cesium inhibits the uptake of glucose and amino acids by cells, slowing their metabolic rate, thus slowing their division rate.
I believe this is a very significant insight related to aging and cancer. It presents a credible mechanism that explains why the consumption of very low doses of cesium naturally occurring in the water supply in a number of regions of the world over long periods of time would be expected to slow overall cell division rates. This would slow the aging process (and the onset of cancer) and explain why people in these regions live longer.
What if we deliberately added trace amounts of cesium to water supplies to reduce cancer rates and extend life? We now add fluoride to water supplies to lower tooth decay. How would society be able to handle people living 50% longer with good teeth? What if people in powerful positions selectively added it to their own water supplies? It is an interesting question to ponder.