Monday, March 7, 2011

Get me a microbiologist!

First it's important to note that I may not really have a clue what I'm talking about today.  Most of this is based on some very basic genetics knowledge and college classes that are more than a decade old, in addition to some scientific summaries and NOVA/Scientific American episodes.  Additionally, I've become quite educated on a disease that just over a year ago I didn't even know existed because a very dear friend of mine has little boys severely affected by it.  So before I get to the meat of the solution that came to me in a dream last year, lets get you caught up with some background, and let you meet mitochondrial disorder.

Mitochondrial disorder, also known as mitochondrial disease, is the failure of the mtDNA (DNA specific to mitochondria) an error in the nDNA (or nuclear DNA - this is the stuff you think of when you think DNA) in a way that specifically affects the functioning of the mitochondria, or an RNA problem that affects the inner workings of the mitochondria.  My friend's children are afflicted with first of these three.  The end result is that many of the mitochondria in their body do not function at all and what little functioning does happen is not enough for them to do such simple things as to eat food.

From basic biology (aka college bio class), the mitochondria is a symbiotic organelle, which evolutionists believe may have at one time been independent single celled organism.  This is mostly based on the mitochondria having it's own DNA, and functioning mostly independently within the cell.  The mitochondria is the powerhouse for the cell.  It makes the energy used by the cell, but it also is critical for performing DNA functions and working with enzymes.  If you want to know more there is a lot of information here, and of course there is the wiki.

Animal Mitochondrion
In some cellular organisms it is quite easy to add what is called a plasmid.  A free floating bit of circular DNA.  This will be used and can affect the way the cell functions.  You can even use this technique to change the existing DNA.  This is a rather old technique and was critical to giving us the first "gene splices".  We moved light years from this basic technique.

We also have a new technology where we can release nanorobots into the blood stream to target and eradicate cancer cells.  This is the last important step I think you need to understand.  This is a newer more precise technique of interacting with the cell compared with synthesizing organic systems to do this job.

So last week, I'm sure I must've been thinking about these nanorobots and my friend's sons.  One of whom is really not doing well right now.  In my slumber, a hopeful idea came to me.  Unfortunately, I lack the personal expertise to do anything with it, therefore; I am putting it out here in hopes that if it is even slightly realistic, one of you can send it along to a place where some action can be taken, and these poor sick boys may be given the chance at a normal life.

In my dream I developed a solution for mitochondrial failure.  Since the mitochondria is a symbiotic organelle, the likelihood of rejection would hypothetically be small, if by chance you could replace it with a working mitochondrion. Therefore, instead of cocktail of nutrients and drugs to circumvent the mitochondria and help the body to function without it, my design places a working mitochondrion - possibly grown from cells collected from the child's father, uncle, or other close relative who is not afflicted with the disorder (but not the mother as the mother contributes the mitochondria to her children).   This mitochondrion is then wrapped in a protective film that will break down in the cell.  The reason for this protection is because the sick mitochondrion must be eradicated before the new one takes over.  This would be like the cancer eradication, a highly specific targeting.  This all would be wrapped together in a delivery system that would allow for safe entry into the cell.

So in essence you have the whole package connecting to the cell, opening into it, killing the existing mitochondria, and depositing a new working organelle.

In my dream the first tests had a 50% success rate within an individual.  If this in any way could work, it is my prayer that someone could develop it to help my friend's boys and all the other amazing children who have never had the energy to run and play and do all the things that normal kids do without thinking about it at all.

If you want to learn more about this disease, here is a video:

1 comment:

  1. Wow simply amazing! I love how you wrote this so eloquently. If this would work it would be truly amazing. I hope one day we can make your dream a reality.


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