So far stem cells used for therapy have been safe.

Some reports of failures in stem cell therapy have been attributed to defective processing. Other failures are owing to fraudulence. Some people ride on the bandwagon of stem cell healing and induce patients to take unsafe formulations. This is seen even in the realm of traditional drugs like painkillers. One drug company sold their pain reliever to over two million people. Early on, there had been warnings of safety concerns. The company found in its own research that ingesting the analgesic (Vioxx) induced stroke and heart attack when taken continuously for 18 months. It withdrew the product from the market and faced nearly 27,000 lawsuits in court from users who suffered side effects.

That kind of debacle with the use of stem cells in therapy is not desirable. The goal is for people to be healthy, not to be objects of financial gain.

 

Cleansing stem cells

In 2006, when it was believed that only embryonic stem cells could be used in medical research, purging stem cells of damage or eliminating its causes had been a concern.

“Some private cord-blood banks like to tout that they can ‘purge’ the blood sample of cancerous leukemia cells. However, there is no hard evidence that the cord-blood cells that carry the leukemic mutations actually express the surface markers of antigens needed to remove them. Thus purging of cord-blood for leukemic or pre-leukemic cells would be considered speculative by many scientists and clinicians” (Bellomo, M. The Stem Cell Divide. 2006:179-171).

Today, cancer cells have shown a mark. One marker is the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) that is exuded by the cancer cell, according to the book “Nitric Oxide Protocols,” edited by Hassid. Antigens are detected using laboratory tests.

Of particular import, stem cells for use in therapy should not be pre-aged, according to Doug Wallace, Director of Molecular and Mitochondrial Medicine and Genetics. Pre-aging could be the reason the first cloned sheep, Dolly, had a short life span. The cells used in cloning Dolly could possibly have been damaged by free radicals.

A free radical is any atom or molecule or fragment of a molecule with at least one unpaired electron. This electron grabs an electron of another molecule to attain stability. This act of grabbing causes injury, and that injury may result in aging or tumor or cancer. Examples of free radicals are atomic oxygen, ozone, and molecular oxygen, the kind that we breathe and use in production of energy.

Use of X-rays

One method to rid the stem cell of virus is irradiation or exposure to x-rays. According to Pellegrini, “Lethal irradiation acts as a preventive measure to ensure the cells pose no health risk in terms  of cell proliferation, although, to our knowledge, there has not been reported cases of a human tumour originating from murine cells” (G. Pellegrini et al. “Hurdles in a Successful Example of Limbal Stem Cell-Based Regenerative Medicine”. Doi:10.1002/stem.15170).

Irradiation may ensure proliferation or multiplication of stem cells, but it poses the risk of mutation. It involves high energy microwaves like x-rays. When an x-ray hits an atom, it ejects electrons in the inner orbitals into another orbital. When that happens in the atom of phosphorus, this atom ceases to be phosphorus. That means it has been injured. Phosphorus is a component of the DNA, or hereditary material. This injury in DNA most likely results in tumor or cancer in the long run. In short, irradiation solves one problem but poses another risk.

 

Use of EDTA

There is another way to get rid of virus and to minimize free radicals. That is the application of EDTA (ethylene-diamine-tetra-acetate). This has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration of the United States to remedy lead poisoning. EDTA is now added to some food items to prevent oxidation. (Oxidation is shown by oil turning rancid or by the brown color on the cut surface of a sliced apple. The burning of fuel is rapid oxidation). Sodium EDTA is used to eliminate virus in tissue cultures of potato to grow several seedlings from a tuber.

EDTA has a high record of safety among human beings, if it is applied appropriately. It is being used in chelation therapy to erode the plaque in arteries of persons suffering from angina or heart disease. It is also being used, again in chelation therapy, to remove the virus from people suffering from hepatitis.

Virus of plants are seldom harmful to humans. For example, the tobacco mosaic virus contained in cigarettes are not responsible for cancer. Rather it is the x-rays and free radicals in smoke that cause cancer and emphysema. The virus that attack humans (HIV, hepatitis virus, polio) are mutants that originated from pigs, monkeys, and fowls.

 

References

Bellomo, M. “The Stem Cell Divide”. 2006:179-171

Pellegrini, G. et al. “Hurdles in a Successful Example of Limbal Stem Cell-Based Regenerative Medicine”. Doi:10.1002/stem.1517).

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.