On Aug. 16, 2007, Dr. Rongxiang Xu, in the Beijing Headquarter of MEBO International Group, held a press conference and gave a presentation entitled ¡°To Honor Our Commitment Announced 5 Years Ago Progress Report on Tissue-Organ Cloning and Regeneration, and Transformation of Cancer Cell Lines.¡± In a 70-page hand-out given to the attendees the written report contains 6 sections: 1) Explanation of scientific concepts and research plans announced 5 years ago; 2) Research approaches for tissue-organ cloning in the laboratory; 3) Results of organ regeneration in situ in clinical practice; 4) Results of tissue-organ cloning in experimental animals; 5) Results of studies on transformation of tumor cell transformation in vitro and in vivo; and 6) Summary and future plans.
According to Dr. Xu, there are 206 tissue-organs in a human body that are classified according to each of their distinct histological structures and physiological functions in the body; and these tissue-organs have been successfully cloned in vitro in his laboratory. In the studies of experimental animal models, albino rats that were treated a diet with MEBO regenerative nutrients added as a supplement not only lived longer but also manifested much younger-looking tissue morphology, indicating retarded aging in every organ. In contrast, animals in the control group that had just a normal diet underwent the normal aging process, resulting in fibrosis and fatty degeneration in tissues and organs of the body. ¡°Coupled with the knowledge accumulated in animal studies and clinical practice using MEBO regenerative medicine and nutrients,¡± Dr. Xu stated, ¡°any human organ, no matter it is diseased, defective or otherwise dysfunctional, can be regenerated in situ and in vivo by using the regenerative medicine and nutrients.¡±
Extending beyond organ regeneration, the research conducted by his team also covered using MEBO medicine and nutrients to influence transformed cells, as compared with the effects on normal cells under the same conditions. Surprisingly, proliferation of transformed cells (either cancer cells or immortalized cell lines) ceased and the cells gradually died, whereas normal cells continued to proliferate and differentiate to form tissue-organs in the culture.
Dr. Xu further disclosed his plan in the near future which are aiming at
• Providing the benefit of MEBO medicine and nutrients to larger populations of patients who are suffering from various wounds such as burns, surface ulcers (pressure, diabetic or venous ulcers), amputated, damaged or lost limbs;
• Establishing a novel healthcare system for the aging population which integrates MEBO medicine and nutrients into the service to promote tissue/organ regeneration in order to retard aging, and to prevent or inhibit the onset and development of age-related diseases such as cancer and chronic degenerative diseases;
• Applying the techniques of tissue-organ cloning and regeneration developed in the laboratory to clinical practice in order to solve the challenging problems of human organ regeneration; and
• Conducting further research to develop various kinds of food incorporating MEBO nutrients that are cost-effective and affordable to ordinary people.
After his presentation Dr. Xu answered questions from reporters in the media.
Reporter: Five years ago why did you announce your research as a plan while you already obtained the results. Did you deliberately do so in order to create a some kind of ¡°hot news effect?¡±
Dr. Xu: As a matter of fact, we have been conducting the research systematically for 23 years. In 2002, when I disclosed the results accumulated over the past 18 years on tissue-organ cloning and regeneration. Some members of the media did not understand or misunderstood the concepts I presented based on their knowledge of what cloning means. From the laboratorial and clinical results we had obtained by 2002, it was quite safe for me to announce our commitment to the publicthat is, within 5 years we would be able to clone and regenerate the 206 tissue-organs of the human body. Without any confidence in our results accumulated over the past 18 years, it would have been suicidal career-wise for me to make such a public announcement. Five years ago, Dr. Zuze Wu, a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, commented, ¡±No other scientist could have the courage to make such a commitment.¡± During the hearing held by the National Commission of Science & Technology in Beijing, most of the attending scientists understood our approaches to conducting the research and the results of our tissue-organ cloning. What they were concerned about at that time was the period of 5 years might be too short for us to honor such a commitment, and they were wondering whether our enterprise had the capacity and resources to do so alone. 5 years was the time we needed just to conduct more laboratorial studies to confirm the results we already obtained. Studies of organ self-renewing of experimental rats usually take quite a long time because the average lifespan of albino rats is about 480 days in general, but some may have a lifespan of more than 2 years. Thus, the period of the study should be designed to be more than 3 years. Only in this way could we demonstrate at the end of the experiments that we could enable the rats¡¯ self-renewal of their own cells and tissue-organs in situ before their tissue-organs aged. This is why we designed the period of animal studies to be 5 years so as to allow us to monitor the aging process of the rats. As for our promise of transforming cancer cells made 5 years ago, our intention was to raise awareness of the direction in which cancer research was going and to avoid taking detours. As of 2002 we had already completed our basic research because in vitro studies of cancer cell lines only needed less than a month of time. We just needed more time to repeat the experiments and re-confirm the results. The results we disclosed to the public 5 years ago were real and the experiments successful. However, at that time, to some people it would have been extremely difficult to obtain such results and therefore they were doubtful about our promise to complete the transformation of all types of cancer cells in 5 years.
Reporter: What is the difference between your cloning of tissue-organ cloning in situ and the cloning of organs using stem cells that has been feverishly reported by the media?
Dr. Xu: We use the term ¡°tissue-organ¡± to describe a group of different types of cells that form a functional tissue unit in an organ and such a tissue unit has its distinct histological structure and physiological function, such as a villus of the gastrointestinal lining. Cloning of tissue-organ in situ is a process by which an organ, when diseased or aged, relies on its own potential regenerative cells to proliferate and differentiate so as to renew itself by replacing the diseased or aged tissue-organ under conditions provided by appropriate nutrients to activate regeneration. Through such a self-renewing process which seamlessly infuses the newly regenerated tissue-organ into the organ, the organ is able to self-maintain its normal structure and function. In comparison, others have proposed to grow an organ in vitro by using embryonic stem cells and then transplant such an organ into the body so as to replace the diseased organ. Their proposing such an idea is based on organ transplanation and it means well. However, it¡¯s just an idea or a research proposal. Technically, how to make an organ outside the body is still out of reach. For example, it is still quite a challenge to culture embryonic stem cells in vitro, let alone clone an organ outside the body using these stem cells. Considering these technical difficulties, it would not be difficult to understand the scientific frauds committed by the South Korean stem-cell researcher (Woo Suk Hwang). People sometimes misunderstand scientific proposals as being scientific reality, or some scientists do not clarify that their scientific proposals are just ideas, which gives people the impression that they already made organs outside the body. I would not comment further on this phenomenon. As we have never attempted to make any organ ex vivo, I cannot comment on the technologies of making organs by using embryonic stem cells outside the body.
Reporter: What is the difference between your proposed Regenerative Medicine with Tissue-Organ Cloning and conventional medicine?
Dr. Xu: Both Regenerative Medicine with Tissue-Organ Cloning and conventional medicine share the same goalfor maintaining and promoting human health. However, at the level of medical principles they are distinctively different. Conventional medicine is focused on treating diseases, i.e., treating the diseases of the cells or the organs, i.e., anti-disease. In contrast, Regenerative Medicine with Tissue-Organ Cloning is not focused on the diseased cell or organ, rather, it is focused on non-diseased cells. By applying the technologies of cell nourishment, the cells can be maintained in a healthy state. By replacing diseased cells with new cells regenerated by potential regenerative cells in the body in situ, diseases can be eradicated and the goal of maintaining and promoting the health of organs can be reached. The substances taken according to conventional medicine are drugs against diseased cells. In contrast, Regenerative Medicine with Tissue-Organ Cloning provides nutritional food to nourish the growth of the regenerative cells. These two schools of medicine may not substitute each other. They belong to different areas of medicine.
Reporter: Without specialized knowledge the general mass do not quite understand the methods of cancer research. But we would like to know whether your approach to cancer research is similar to current ways of doing cancer research.
Dr. Xu: Cancer is the No.1 killer of humans. As medical researchers, the first thing we think about is to utilize our experiences and wisdom to search for methods and means for treating cancer patients. We were not specialized in oncology, but we surmised that cancer cells are proliferating cells; if we could harness the power of potential regenerative cells for tissue-organ cloning and regeneration, why not try to control cancer cells by using the same techniques? Thus, we attempted to conduct experiments on cancer cells to see whether the pattern of proliferation and the food up taken by the cells are the same or not. The convention is that the proliferation pattern and food up taken by both cancer and normal cells are the same; and this is why sometimes cell lines are used as models for studying the biology and life of normal cells. Even Nobel Prize-winning search reports state the same; and so does the whole world. However, our current experimental data show that those regenerative nutrients that can promote proliferation of normal cells cannot promote cancer cell growth, whereas the cancer cell cultures without the regenerative nutrients added manifested the same phenomena consistent with the international standards: continuous, vigorous proliferation. These results greatly intrigued us. No matter how many times we repeated the experiments, we obtained the same results that contradict with the international convention. We did further research, including some clinical studies, and have obtained valuable results. Nevertheless, at this point no conclusion can be drawn yet and these results may not be used to guide clinical treatment. In the future we will focus on the research on cancer and we hope to be able to contribute to improving the therapy for treating cancer patients.
Reporter: How do you think about the skepticism held by some scientists 5 years ago?
Dr. Xu: Scientific questioning is normal. Any new achievement always has to go through this process. However, facing the questioning, one needs to understand the following two aspects. First, in scientific discussion we must allow the voicing of various different opinions so as to improve, perfect and develop truly scientific conclusions. This is a progressive procedure. However, questioning the scientific validity must be based on scientific experiments. Following the same principle in social sciencesPractice is the sole criterion for testing truth opponents in a scientific dispute, when voicing his/her opinion, must base the opinion on results of scientific experiments, and should avoid making comments based solely on his/her imagination or the proponent¡¯s age, reputation, or title. A scientific conclusion is not based on who you are, but what results are obtained in the experiments. Second, as a researcher, he/she must possess the right attitude. No matter the scientific results under questioning fit into his/her field of research or not, as long as the questioning is based on scientific data, such a questioning is with good intention as it will help the advancement of scientific research. At the hearing in 2002, many scientists provided a lot of well-intended suggestions and comments. As a scientific researcher, one must learn to listen to different scientific suggestions. This is basic to the success of a scientist. As they often say, the greater the success, the stronger the opposition. If in fact the new achievement exceeds what the current scientific field concluded, then it¡¯s a great success. This is what I believe the basic law of scientific exploration and research. The route of scientific research is just like tunnel research: All roads lead to Rome, whether you start the journey from the air, the sea or the land. We can achieve the same goal by taking different routes. Once we arrive at the destination, we will evaluate which one is the fastest in speed, the shortest in distance, or the most appropriate, and then decide which is the best route. You simply cannot judge or restrict the other¡¯s choice of a different route based on your own unfinished route.
Reporter: What is the relationship between longevity and cloning of tissue-organs in situ?
Dr. Xu: The topic of longevity is the most interesting one in human history. The theories regarding longevity can be categorized into five schools: 1) myths of immortality; 2) medicine for extending life to reach immortality; 3) religious beliefs that God bless us with 500 years of life; 4) our proposed theory of longevity through tissue-organ cloning in situ; and 5) a genetic theory that human life could be extended to 1000 years through genetic engineering. To prove all of these theories, one would have to live long enough to reach the respective age limits. So far, none of these has been proven, especially for the genetic theory as it was only proposed a few years ago. History has proven implausible for the first three schools of theory. For the latter two schools of theory, both proponents have completed experiments on animals (rats and mice, respectively). We proposed the theory of tissue-organ cloning for longevity based on the quantity of telomere consumption in the chromosomes. Every year passed, the length of the telomeres is shortened a little. In our modern time, by the time of death there is still two thirds of the telomeres that have not been consumed. Thus, it is believed that the lifespan of a human cell should be at least 3 times of the modern human lifespan. Therefore we designed experiments on rats with the belief that before the cells in the organ age, so long as we add regenerative nutrients to the cells to enable cloning of cells and tissue-organs in situ to replace the soon-to-be-aged cells, we could prolong the lifespan of the organs of the body to match more closely to that of the cells. We can this a relay of life for the organs. Our animal experiments demonstrate that when supplemented with our regenerative nutrients, rats can achieve a lifespan 2 times longer than normal, and the organs in the middle of their life remain youthful. These are all facts. Biologically the life pattern of rats is very close to humans¡¯. Thus, we could predict that through such a relay of life facilitated by regenerative nutrients, our human lifespan could be extended at least 2 times during the middle-age period and the body remains healthy during this period of time. Based on this, we have already started a human research that monitors the changes of vital indexes of healthy individuals after 3 years of supplement with regenerative nutrients, and compares them with those of a healthy population after 1 year without the supplement. This way we will gradually explore and validate the principles behind human longevity within our lifetime and utilize the results to benefit humanity at large.
Reporter: How have you felt emotionally during the past 5 years?
Dr. Xu: When I walked on the street and saw the large crowds, I couldn¡¯t help but wonder who would enable us to provide our technologies to benefit humanity at large, to prevent diseases and to live a longer and healthier life. For our humans, we have still a long life left to enjoy.
Reporter: Currently there are two medical models: the biomedical model and the so-called social human medical model. Have you established a new medical model? If so, what is it?
Dr. Xu: Yes, we call it experimental medical model, which is all based on experiments and data obtained. I believe that only this is the scientific way.
Reporter: How did you obtain the regenerative substances? How do you determinate them? What is your future plan?
Dr. Xu: Some of the regenerative substances were discovered during the study of burn treatment. We observed that some of the substances in the burn ointment I invented had an ability to promote epithelium regeneration. This prompted me to think that since the gastrointestinal (GI) lining is made of epithelium, perhaps we could screen and select some substances to repair and regenerate the GI lining, in which we succeeded. Later the screening was expanded to find those that could promote regeneration of liver, bone marrow, etc. Our future plan includes developing tasty, affordable foods for the general public, which will truly benefit ordinary people in our society. Recently we have bought a building in the area of Yizhuang near Beijing that will be used for our expanded research and development of regenerative substances.