Summary: The disease motor neuron disease (MND) consists of deterioration of nerves that control muscles. A person afflicted with MND becomes thin; however, the brain works normally. Nerves are attacked by free radicals like hydroxyl radical, but they can be replaced by stem cell therapy.

There is another disease not caused by germs but by “rust” of the body.

Motor Neuron Disease or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a rare disease. It is also called Lou Gehrig’s disease. (Lou Gehrig was a U.S. baseball player who died of MND in 1941).

ALS “… progressively causes the degeneration of the nerve cells that control the muscles, paralyzing the body but sparing the mind….” (Swartz H.M. et al. “Free radicals and medicine.” Eaton, S.S. et al. editors. Biomedical EPR-Part A: Free Radicals, Metals, Medicine, and Physiology. 2005:25-74).

About 10% of the cases of ALS are hereditary; the rest are caused by sporadic or environmental factors.

The hereditary one, Familial Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, (FALS) involves the mutation of the gene Sod 1 that controls the enzyme copper/zinc superoxide dismutase (Cu/Zn-SOD).

The mechanism of FALS development is that “FALS-linked mutants acquired a cytotoxic ‘gain-in-function’”, which means exposure to causal agents.

“…The ‘gain-in-function’ of Sod 1 mutants had been postulated to arise from an increased peroxidase or hydroxyl radical activity….” (same source as above, emphasis mine).

The above three paragraphs lead to clues as to the causes of FALS or ALS and to their treatment. Cytotoxic simply means a toxin or poison that affects a cell.

 

Free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS)

A few months ago, I visited and talked with a family friend who is afflicted with ALS. I cheered her up, assuring her that she will recover. What are my bases in cheering up our family friend?

Let’s review the meaning of some terms for you to understand. In this review, let us pay special attention to a chain reaction in the production of free radicals and ROS.

Mutation results from some changes in the chromosome, the inheritance material, like shortening, deletion, substitution, and thickening. Mutation causes changes in appearance and work of affected cells or tissues.

A gene is part of chromosome. The gene is the location of the genetic code or information, Sod 1, that controls the work of the enzyme copper/zinc SOD (Swartz, et al.).

 

Superoxide

The reason for being of superoxide dismutase (SOD) is superoxide, indicated as O2-. The first to be discovered was SOD. So the reasoning went that “there must be a reason for SOD to be there.” Then O2- was discovered only in 1969. SOD neutralizes O2-, the master free radical.

Superoxide is a molecule with two atoms of oxygen bound together by six electrons with one free unpaired electron that makes it a free radical. It was formerly a molecular oxygen (O22-) that had grabbed one electron. O2- is paramagnetic, that is why its grabbing is strong, like a magnet.

To demonstrate, put a small piece of iron inside a toy balloon before inflating it. Imagine the balloon is like a cell. When we pass a magnet over the surface of the inflated balloon (cell), the iron jumps to the magnet. When we move the iron away from the balloon, the magnet and iron stuck together will prick the balloon open, which is like an injury in a cell. The magnet is like the unpaired electron; iron inside the balloon is like another electron. Injury consists of the pricking of the balloon and the change in the molecule inside it whose electron, the iron in this demonstration, had been grabbed.

 

Hydroxyl radical

So, hydroxyl radical (OH•) is produced in three ways. Take note of its one unpaired electron, indicated by the superscript dot, ready to grab another electron. Hydroxyl radical is the “most destructive free radical”, (Sharma, H. MD. Freedom from Disease. 1993:45). It can damage the lipid (fat) membrane of the cell resulting in lipid peroxide. It inflicts damage on membranes, enzymes,  vitamin C, and DNA. The extra unpaired electron is like a basketball that passes from one player to another until it finds the basket rim. Everyone that it touches is a hydroxyl radical. It passes on at a great speed in its lifespan of 0.000000001 of a second. It is very unfortunate that hydroxyl radical is involved in FALS and ALS.

Superoxide dismutase (SOD)

SOD catches or neutralizes superoxide radicals to prevent them from doing damage. If both alleles of Sod 1 that control SOD are mutated, SOD will not work.It is very important because it neutralizes the master free radical superoxide. It attaches one proton to one electron of superoxide resulting in one hydrogen atom, then attaches another hydrogen atom resulting in hydrogen peroxide, indicated as H2O2, a ROS. The equally destructive H2O2 is dismantled by glutathione peroxidase converting it to safe water.That means without the glutathione enzyme system (glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, glutathione synthase), SOD neutralizes superoxide but produces hydrogen peroxide, in turn, a hazardous ROS. Glutathione peroxidase donates one electron to hydrogen peroxide that turns to safe water. Glutathione reductase donates one electron to glutathione peroxidase to replace that one electron it used to dismantle hydrogen peroxide, recycling it. Glutathione synthase makes glutathione (Sharma, H. MD. Freedom from Disease. 1993).

There are two kinds of SOD that differ in composition and area of assignment but work the same way. Cu/Zn-SOD protects the plasma of the cell; the manganese SOD (Mn-SOD) protects the mitochondria, a particle inside the cell responsible for production of energy or adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP drives reproduction, cell maintenance and growth.

Chelation therapy

Angina occurs because the arteries conveying blood to heart muscles are narrowed such that heart muscles are starved for oxygen. Such narrowing is caused by free radicals and ROS. The usual counter to angina is medications, angioplasty, and heart artery surgery.

As an angina sufferer, this author became a candidate for heart surgery. However, the option was taken to utilize infusion chelation therapy whose main active agent is EDTA (ethylene-diamine-tetra-acetate). The explanation for making this choice follows.

EDTA is an antioxidant that captures oxidants like free radicals and ROS; it also removes iron whose presence induces the formation of hydroxyl. As a counter to FALS and ALS, intravenous (IV) chelation therapy is designed to catch extra superoxides, peroxides, hydroxyl, and other ROS. The aim is to balance oxidants and antioxidants. Protection for nerves cells in use is, at the same time, protection for nerve cells in reserve.

 

Stem cell therapy

The bone marrow produces stems cells that can be grown to repair damaged tissues. For example, hematopoietic stem cells, which are obtainable from cord blood, can be grown to replace blood cells. That is why cryopreserved cord blood is used in the treatment of leukemia. One other example is that stem cells can regrow damaged liver or an earlobe.

Produced by bone marrow, the endothelium progenitor cells (EPC), stem-cell-like cells circulating in the blood, repair the inside wall of an artery (Moreno, O.R. et al. “Promoting Mechanisms of Vascular Health.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2009. vol. 53, 25:2315). Relief from IV chelation does not come immediately as in a treatment with antibiotics. One gets the full benefit from a prescribed program of IV chelation “90 days” after completion of therapy, according to Cranton (Cranton, E., MD and A. Brecher, Bypassing Bypass, updated edition. 1984). After the 90 days of therapy, the EPCs had accomplished their healing task.

Unfortunately, stem cells can be damaged by free radicals and ROS. Fortunately, neutralization of free radicals and ROS also protects stem cells.

Hematopoietic cells must be free of free radical damage, especially their chromosomes. They should not have been pre-aged, according to Doug Wallace, Director of Center for Molecular and Mitochondrial Medicine and Genetics (Bellomo, M., The Stem Cell Divide. 2006:184-95). Damaged chromosomes may result in tumor or cancer. Wallace said that Dolly, the world-famous cloned sheep, did not live long because old and damaged stem cells might have been used in cloning it.

“It (stem cell therapy) also offers the possible growing of whole organs to replace totally damaged organs using the patient’s own stem cells and thereby avoiding organ rejection”, states Dr. Halos in a paper.  (Halos, S.C. Ph.D. Stem Cell Therapy, Significant Change Stories. 2007:97-98, parenthetical mine). Dr. Halos is a geneticist.

Stem cell therapy consists of growing stem cells that differentiate and replace damaged tissues or organs. To recall, a human being starts as one stem cell – the fertilized egg. Following an irreversible order, a human being starts as a totipotent stem cell, that differentiates into pluripotent stem cells, that differentiate into multipotent stem cells, that differentiate into unipotent stem cells, that differentiate into adult stem cells, that produce specialized cells like skin, bone, heart, nerve cell, arms, kidney, liver, finally becoming a man or a woman (Bellomo, M. The Stem Cell Divide. 2006).

Chelation therapy augments stem cell therapy that rebuilds muscles and nerves – the ultimate goal in countering motor neuron disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

A suggested protocol in treating FALS or ALS

Protection of the victim from further damage by free radicals and ROS is the goal. The CU/Zn-SOD must be allowed to recover. That can be done by controlling the factors that destroy it. Antioxidants, especially IV chelation therapy, protect against free radicals and ROS..

Dr. Cranton (mentioned above) reported of progeria having been treated with glutathione peroxidase that dismantles the hydrogen peroxide produced from superoxides. Glutathione is made by glutathione synthase out of glutamate, cysteine. cystine and co-factors selenium, zinc, and B-2 that are available from food and lipoic acid, which the body makes.

In stem cell therapy, stem cells other than those from the same person suffering from FALS or ALS must be used. The reason is that her/his stem cells might have been damaged by free radicals and ROS. Stem cells used must come from healthy donors. Blood taken from a transfusion of someone with hepatitis, any infection, or alcohol in the system cannot be used.

Recent development in stem cell therapy

The adult cell can now be used in stem cell therapy. This is advantageous because a person who needs the therapy can have his own adult cell grown in culture medium then administered  back into him. That way, there is no problem about rejection. An adult cell can now be reprogrammed into a pluripotent stem cell.

Dr. Arturo V. Estuita, MD, a Filipino internist and chelationist is now administering stem cell therapy. The active ingredient in this new therapy is plant-based.

Actually, the function of the administered stem cell is to incite the native stem cells to undergo differentiation. This is along the stem cell-organism framework that I have propounded. You may read another article “Stem Cell Therapy Based on Stem Cell-Organism Framework.”

Conrado Fontanilla
Conrado has an extensive background in science. He has specialized in bridging the gap between scientists and consumers. He started out in agriculture, forestry and environment. Then he branched out into medical journalism owing to his desire to control his heart disease. In the present decade interest in stem cell research has emerged, stirring ethical issues around the use of embryonic stem cells. In 2006, it was discovered that adult cells like skin can be reprogrammed back to embryonic stem cells. Now, there is no more need to utilize an embryo as the source for stem cells. Recently it was found that nutritional supplements constitute a method in stem cell therapy. Conrado has contributed to the development of stem cell-organism theory and its application in medicine, particularly regenerative medicine.