Sep 11, 2021
Exosomes, Stem Cells, Ketamine & VR — Dr. Melissa Selinger
My friend, Dr. Melissa Selinger is a Doctor of Neuropsychopharmacology who has done actual research on using psychedelics and virtual reality for treating things like depression, anxiety, and PTSD. A huge frontier where there are all kinds of potential, and very little actual scientific research has been done here so far. It's an exciting frontier to be able to help a lot of people who we don't have any real idea how to help otherwise.
I'm super thrilled about that and the potential for it. It's great to get to talk to somebody who knows what state of the art there is. Melissa knows a lot about all kinds of things that I don't know anything about. As you guys know, part of what I love to be able to do is sit down with somebody who has a lot of knowledge and experience in something that I don't know about, pick their brain, try and break it down, see if I can understand it and take you guys along for the ride so that we can all learn.
Carcinogens, teratogens, exosomes, stem cells, cytokines, CRISPR, gene editing, all these are things that we talk about in this conversation. A lot of it is me trying to get her to explain in layman's terms what this stuff is and how it works. There is incredible potential here. If you were ever interested in what's possible in stem cell therapy, you're going to want to learn about exosomes and her experience with that. A couple of biotech startups had some ups and downs in that and learned a lot. I'm thrilled to be sharing our conversation with you. Enjoy this episode.
Pablos: I'm going to explain what I know, which is not very much, and you could tell me if I'm full of shit. Sound good?
Human bodies are made up of a bunch of cells, most of which are not actually human. They're like parasites and shit, and microbiome crap and other bacteria are living on your body everywhere. To the extent that there are human cells, the cells are super complex little cities inside. I've seen these microscope photos of all the shit inside of a cell, and it's a lot. It's complex.
Most people like me have a vague notion that there's a cell wall, which makes it like a balloon or a bowl or something, and then on the inside is all these goodies, including DNA, RNA, and other stuff. That's the extent of anybody's general education on this stuff. There are different kinds of cells. There’re bone cells, blood cells, meat cells, and shit.
There's a variety of different cells that do different things. All of them started out as stem cells which were basically blank cells. The thing got written into being whatever they're going to become. You have some of those in an embryo. Over time, as your body is growing, these cells get programmed to be different things. Muscle tissue or brain cells, and then what happens is gamma rays come from space, bombard them, and you get these cell mutations. You end up with all kinds of variations and mutations, and then everybody ends up eventually getting cancer and dying. Is that pretty much the circle of life?
It's fairly accurate. There's a lot of causes of cell mutations.
There’re other causes like nicotine.
A lot of just manufacturing in our environments in general are heavily laden with carcinogenic compounds that was a byproduct of the industrial area. Look at California, for example. Everything is a possible carcinogen.
What does carcinogen mean?
It's a compound that's able to alter the cell's DNA structure in a manner that causes aberrant growth, like a malignant tumor. Essentially, the way that cells operate is they have a terminal point of senescence where they die. With cancer cells, they lose that, and they are able to live continuously.
They don't die like they're supposed to. They just hang around and replicate. I know some people like that. Carcinogen means that it's some chemical that you could ingest or come in contact with that can alter the DNA in a cell.
Also, teratogens, which are birth defect causing chemicals in unborn babies as well.
Those are chemicals that the mother could be exposed to, or that the babies get exposed to, or what?
The mothers got exposed to, and then they cross the placental barrier in vivo.
Not every carcinogen does that, but some subset of them are teratogens?
Some subset of them and then there are various prescription drugs that were used during pregnancy that over time were pulled from the market when they realized that some of them cause pretty severe birth defects.
Some people are attempting to live these carcinogen-free lifestyles.
I don't know if that's possible in America because there's such a heavy amount of it. Food in America is heavily chemical-laden and you have everything from the interior of cars and mass-produced furniture are full of anti-flammable chemicals.
If I sit on a couch, that shit's rubbing off?
It depends on the manufacturer. If you grab a Walmart couch, for example, they have questionable materials and then anything that's synthetic usually has something. If you have a synthetic vinyl couch or anything plastic, you have plasticizers that leach out over time. Water bottles, for example, the plasticizers that enable the plastic to have a bendiness or softness to them, that leaches out into the water, especially with heat or microwave food and plastic containers. The BPA alternatives are not necessarily safer than BPA.
Even with Fiji Water?
I would say pretty much anything bottled in plastic and then shipped in plastic is.
I thought these plastics were FDA approved for holding food?
FDA approval is still wishy-washy and you have FDA-approved artificial colorings, which may or may not be linked to possible disorders.
We've had so much ingestion of artificial coloring, you would think we would know by now.
They say it's something like 99% of Americans test positive for BPA in their blood at any given time.
I think aluminum cans are lined with plastic anyway.
There’s some lining and the cans. You're seeing a lot of times, the “BPA-free lining," but it's still the way that they're manufactured. There's still the joint where it's sealed as a circular cylindrical piece and there are some metals that leach out. It's in almost everything.
It's a losing game and the idea is to try to die before you get sick from ingesting all this crap.
The statistics are something like 1 in 6 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their life. It's a pretty prevalent thing at this point. It's like a when, not an if, kind of thing.
You have a clear understanding of cell biology. Can you explain what a stem cell is?
With stem cells, if you want to start as far back as the fertilized ova, it gets fertilized with sperm, you get the zygote, which becomes this rapidly dividing mass of cells.
That’s what a zygote is?
It's just, “Let's make a bunch of cells.”
At this point, these cells are pluripotent, meaning they can transdifferentiate into all the types of cells in the body. It depends on how far along they're within.
In the beginning, they could be anything.
That's the appeal of using fetal cells for stem cells, but obviously, there are ethical concerns with that. It’s not really used anymore.
We used to harvest fetal stem cells.
There was a period where they were using aborted fetal tissue. Some people are very opposed to that. They passed a law that legalized the use of fetal tissue with the exception of a couple of established lines. There’re few countries where everything is fine. Possibly, you can get away with a lot of stuff in China.
Do you think that there's some important stuff that we're missing in the US by not allowing that?
For sure, but we've turned to other types of tissue. With mass manufacturing, as the regenerative medicine industry is starting to, they've found a way to start to scale up to levels that are able to produce pharmaceutical quantities. In some of the tissues that they're looking at now, they can isolate stem cells from bone marrow, from adipo…