After my last article for “Dynamic Living Magazine” many of you requested more information on molecular surgery. Several expressed concern and think the idea is scary. GMO is a large concern in agriculture. This article is about HUMAN GMO. My purpose for these articles is to educate you in the basics of novel leading-edge techniques used in medicine and healing. The philosophical, moral, environmental and long term biological effects are for us to ponder, as we really don’t know the answers as yet.
I will say before harshly judging any subject you may want to ask yourself the question “If it was my child or loved one that a therapy could help, would I be so quick to reject it”. I’ve learned to keep an open mind, reserve judgment until I fully explore the subject and then reserve the right to change my mind as more information becomes available. We definitely need more information and time on this one.
This subject does raise many questions such as, what happens if we take away survival of the fittest? Are we changing some divine or natural plan? Or are we using the knowledge we have attained for the greater good?
This is the first of a two-part article. In the next edition, I will be talking about what we can do to change our epi-genetic profile. In other words, even if we have a defective gene, we may be in control of 70% of our genetic expression. New modalities, therapies and nutritional supplements show promise in helping us either up or down regulate genes.
Let’s start with the DEFINITION
Molecular surgery is the computing and molecular programming of DNA that draws together mathematics, computer science, physics, chemistry, biology, and nanotechnology to address the analysis, design, and synthesis of information–based molecular systems.
Molecular surgery in humans is really Gene therapy. It has been defined as the insertion, alteration, or removal of genes within an individual's cells and biological tissues to treat disease. Another definition is: Medical technique for curing or alleviating inherited diseases or defects that are due to a gene malfunction, certain infections, and some types of cancer, in which a replacement of the faulty DNA is introduced into the body.
Scientists are already using nanotechnology to make materials that are thousands of times smaller than the smallest cell in the body. They are being used to remove defective genes and insert new materials or new information into the human body. Biological sciences have also built molecules that can transport drugs directly to the cancer cells and tiny sensors that measure oxygen levels in the bloodstream. These are just a few ways that this technology is being used in medicine.
It’s important to understand the impact and the opportunities of personalized genomics on disease research and surgery. There is a mandate from the US Department of Health and Human Services to develop personalized healthcare, which is largely based on our rapidly growing understanding of the human genome and the potential for health information technology.
The original human genome project took 13 years and about $3 billion to complete. In 2003, the doctor that jump-started the project was the first person to have his complete DNA mapped. The cost to do so, at that time, showed a 10,000-fold decrease in cost and a 10,000-fold increase in the speed of sequencing technology for mapping the genome of an individual person. This may advance to a level and cost such that every patient could have access this information. This is part of a movement toward PGMS (personalized genomic medicine and surgery). This model is currently being developed at the Baylor College of medicine and other research facilities throughout the world.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Think of your DNA as a message 3 billion letters long. The message spells out 25,000 genes and countless other instructions to run the body. To read these commands the body needs help of finger proteins or zinc fingers. Aaron Claude and Nobel laureate discovered zinc fingers in 1985. He realized that by using the design of the zinc fingers it would be possible to create new proteins and possibly be able to turn on or off any genes in any stage. The first demonstration was in 1994 when Sir Aaron Steen showed that it was possible to repress a gene that causes cancer. Since then many companies and techniques have sprung up. A California Company Sangamo BioSciences owns much of the intellectual property in this field including Sir Aaron's. Currently they are testing a zinc finger-based drug on young diabetic patients with nerve damage. A team at the University of Pennsylvania showed that you can use the fingers to knock out a gene called CCR five, which is the docking point, used by HIV to invade certain white blood cells.
There are limits. Currently only diseases such as cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, muscular dystrophy and sickle cell anemia caused by a SINGLE malfunctioning gene can be treated. Heart disease, cancer and many other illnesses rely on the interplay of several genes not just one. Thus inserting or manipulating one gene won’t do the trick. This is where we can utilize epi-genetics to help our body stay healthy. Also the human trials have been small-scale and there is much to learn about the side effects. Some of the beneficial effects have been short lived and the patients need ongoing treatments. Adverse immune responses have been due to the introduction of a foreign invader and the induction of tumors has occurred (which have led to leukemia).
HOW IS GENE THERAPY BEING USED?
The first human to undergo gene therapy was one of the bubble babies. In 1994 a four year-old American girl suffering from a rare deficiency of an enzyme that cripples the immune system received the therapy. Most of these children die in early childhood. Again ask yourself “what if it was my child”?
Cystic fibrosis is the most common inherited disorder and the one most keenly targeted by genetic engineers. The treatment has been pioneered in the US and the UK. In the following article I will get into more of the diseases being treated including Alzheimer’s, heart disease and Gliomas (childhood brain cancer).
TYPES OF GENE THERAPIES
The biggest challenge is to ensure that the replacement gene can enter the cells and insert itself into the genome without disrupting other genes. There are two types of gene therapy. Germ line therapy is where the germ cells (sperm or eggs) are modified by the introduction of functional genes. These genes are introduced into the genome of the patient and are heritable and passed on to later generations. Many jurisdictions prohibit this practice for a variety of ethical, religious and technical reasons. The second type is somatic gene therapy. In this case, the genes are transferred into the somatic cells of a patient so they are restricted to the individual patient only and should not be inherited by the patient’s offspring or later generations. However, there is new research showing possible leakage (not contained) in these cells and therefore making their way into the germ line.
Genes can be introduced with a variety of different viruses or by the injection of naked DNA. It is interesting that the physical methods to enhance the delivery include electroporation (short pulses of high voltage), sonoporation (ultrasonic frequencies), and magnetofection (DNA is attached to magnetic particles). This should sound familiar to those of you who study vibrational medicine. Why is it that cold lasers, magnets and other bioenergetic techniques aren’t being studied for their possibilities in changing genetic expression? Chemical methods are also used to enhance the delivery including oligonucleotides and lipoplexes, thus giving credence to the foods we eat and nutritional supplements we take. Another method is by dendrimers. They work because of their spherical shape, again lighting up my mind as to sacred geometry and those shapes being used for healing. Keep in mind that none of the alternatives treatments I just suggested are being utilized in the gene research. The methods are only for enhancing the DELIVERY of the new gene.
IN OUR CONTROL?
At the heart of some diseases lies a fault in our genes. Some scientists show that only 30% of whether you’ll actually express a disease has to do with the genes; the rest is in our control. DNA damage is induced by environmental and clinical exposures to genotoxic agents. This is the epi-genetic piece. It’s what we eat (nutrition), what we expose ourselves to including toxins and our mindset.
HOW MIGHT WE USE GENE THERAPY?
Finding the ways to rewrite a faulty code may be a very powerful weapon against almost every major killer. Since the first serious attempt, gene therapy has notched up some notable successes in treating immune disorders, cancer and blindness but it has also caused leukemia and even death. Newer treatments involving the body's own machinery for editing genes may start to fulfill the promise and with less side effects. These treatments, which are showing promise in diabetic patients are now being readied for use in treating AIDS and are offering a way to edit the genetic code with surgical precision.
A good example of how the model might work is with the breast cancer gene, BRCA-1. Mutations of this gene are linked to an increased risk of cancer. If patient has a strong family history of breast cancer and a BRCA–1 mutation, the patient has an 86% risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetime. The behavior of this cancer is different, with an average age of onset of 46 years versus 64 years for the sporadic type. This type of breast cancer is accompanied by a 48% risk of a second breast cancer compared with 8% risk for the sporadic type. The patient is also at significant risk for other cancers such as ovarian cancer.
So here is where we are faced with the questions of who should be tested and what should be done if they test positive for the BRCA-1 mutation. Don't forget that they don't have to just opt for gene therapy or some other traditional method of treating cancers including surgery. They could choose to use alternative therapies to start the prevention process.
What will this information do to the emotional state of the patient? Will it create fear? How much will that fear play into actually activating the genes? So we have the dilemma of whether we want to know about our risk factors or whether we don't. If we believe in intention and the power of the intention then knowing this information could motivate us to lead more enlightened healthier lives and utilize more prevention. If however the patient learns the information and lives in fear, this may work against them.
Another example is medullary thyroid cancer and its genetic marker. With this mutation patients have a 95% risk of developing medullary thyroid cancer. Currently the recommendation is a total removal or thyroidectomy to optimize the chances of being cured from this. Based on genetic screening information, it might be possible for a minimally invasive procedure to remove the tissue at risk in its earliest stages. This would also provide the patient the opportunity for improved survival without total removal of the gland.
Besides using nanotechnology for mathematics, computer science and all the other areas, we can see the far-reaching implications of this therapy in medicine.
In the next article, I’ll tell you where you can find more information about conferences, diseases being researched and who is funding the research. The most important message is that most of you don’t have a genetic disease with one faulty gene. You have multiple genes that could go astray. You have the power to control most of it no matter what your mom and dad passed on. I’ll tell you more about epi-genetics and the interesting research in that area and what you might do with that 70% in your control.
In Energetic Health,
Dr. Donese Worden