Institute of HeartMath Newsletter

Scientists Discuss DNA, Cell Reprogramming

A human or other multicellular organism stem cell is an undifferentiated, or "blank" cell.
The stem cell is capable of giving rise to an indefinite number of the same type of cells.
It is unique from other cells in that it can become any number of differentiated cells, including nerve, muscle or skin cells, thus suggesting a certain "programmability."

Scientists have known about stem cells for about 35 years, and in that time have aggressively pursued research to unlock their potential. The medical community already does adult stem-cell transplants in a variety of cell-related therapies, including for immune-system deficiency, blood disorders, some cancers and even facelifts among others. And we are only in the stem-cell era’s infancy.

Thanks to the nascent field of epigenetics, the study of how environmental factors outside of or above DNA lead to changes in gene expression, we’re learning a lot more about DNA, cells and genetics. As Institute of HeartMath Director of Research Dr. Rollin McCraty stated it, "We’ve had this revolutionary finding that we’re not locked in necessarily to our genetic code."

McCraty made the observation during a recent IHM-sponsored webinar, DNA and Cell Reprogramming, which he co-hosted with noted researcher Dr. Carlo Ventura, M.D., Ph.D. Ventura, a professor and researcher at the University of Bologna in Italy, discussed, among other topics, his work in reprogramming stem cells by exposing them to magnetic fields and other influences.Ventura expanded on McCraty’s observation that we are no longer locked into a genetic code.      

Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine "It’s a new possibility of freedom," Ventura said, "that we have through epigenetics. So we’re not back simply on the genetic code, but we are more and more free, and we can rely on epigenetics to change the function of our genes." For example, he explained, "Stem cells may hold a promise for the rescue of severely damaged tissues that cannot be saved even by the most advanced pharmacological or surgical treatment. And this perspective has paved the way to another paradigm in the handling of complex diseases. Just think about cardiovascular diseases or neurodegenerative disorders. And this new (paradigm) is the so-called regenerative medicine that uses stem cells and cell therapy to rescue a damaged organ."

Changing Stem-Cell Structure From Without

Ventura said that in his work reprogramming cells with external influences, he found that it’s possible to "turn on stem-cell cardiac differentiation with physical energy. We first demonstrated that we can do this with an extremely low-frequency magnetic field."

"By exposing stem cells to a magnetic field, extremely-low frequency magnetic field with a very low intensity, we can trigger a number of genes that drive the cardiac cell commitment, genes that somehow tell the stem cell, "You’re not going to be non-differentiated stem cell anymore, but you will be oriented to become a cardiac cell."

"That’s amazing," McCraty told Ventura, "that you’re able to use magnetic fields to deliver, if I understand it right, information to the DNA that changes the chemistry."

Ventura said, "Even when the nucleus of a cell was removed from the cell, the reprogramming caused by exposure to magnetic field frequencies remained in effect, meaning that the memory in the remaining part of the cell, after its nucleus was removed, was still intact. During other trials, we used a magnetic field of 2.4 GHz, like the Wi-Fi band, which is the same kind of magnetic field which is used in Internet connections worldwide."

Again, Ventura and others’ hope is that eventually, external forces such as magnetic fields – he also has used sound vibrations and water – can tell, or make adult nonstem cells behave like and essentially become stem cells. In the case of magnetic fields, he said he would like to one day be able to focus them on specific areas of the body where patients are being treated.

New Insights About DNA – Like Garbage DNA

Garbage DNA. With the huge amount of DNA research being conducted around the world, researchers are rapidly expanding our body of knowledge. For instance, scientists generally have believed roughly 98% of the DNA molecule was what they termed "garbage DNA," also known as "junk DNA." That opinion has changed in recent years.

"The huge remnant part (of DNA) was believed to be sort of meaningless garbage structure until very recently," Ventura said, "(but) it is now clear that cell commitment and differentiation (cell function) is controlled by a complex of play between the cell signaling, the environment and the continuous dynamic remodeling of this so-called garbage DNA into loops and domains."

The Right ‘Environment.’ Ventura says environment is important in forming and shaping our cells and can have adverse effects on cell biology. That includes more than our physical environment such as our childhood, pregnancy, etc.

"It’s important to understand that when we say environment," Ventura explained, " we may also think about our mind, our consciousness, the possibility to right our coherent state and change the environment." Righting our coherent state, as Ventura puts it, is at the core of what the Institute of HeartMath teaches. Many years of research and studies have shown by reducing stress and self-regulating emotions, you can change your environment and right your coherent state.

Cell Reversal. Ventura explained that scientists have discovered that in addition to the possibility of reprogramming stem cells, they will be able to "reverse" a committed cell. To that, McCraty responded, "OK. So, if I understand what you’re saying, we could have a cell that’s become, say, a skin cell or a fat cell or something like that, and the idea here in regenerative medicine is to take that cell backwards, so to speak, to a pluripotent state where it can then be reprogrammed and become a different type of cell."

"That’s correct," Ventura said. "It’s like a time machine. You’re reprogramming somehow backward with these cells to an uncertain state in which any kind of decision is somehow possible; even the decision to become virtually any kind of cell of the organism. And just think about the tremendous potential of this discovery." Ventura recalled two scientists’ Nobel Prize-winning discovery that even "nonstem adult cells can be epigenetically reprogrammed backward to a state where they can eventually give rise to neural cells, cardiac cells, skeletal muscle cells or insulin-producing cells."

All Those Loops. A close-up view of a DNA molecule reveals the loops/domains Ventura referred to earlier. Rather than being merely inconsequential shapes, or mere architecture on a DNA strand, scientists say they play a critical regulatory role in genetics. These loops, which vibrate and constantly remodel themselves, are the environment in which genes reside. Thus, Ventura said, "What we call a gene may be just this tiny part of this structure. The rest is just architecture. It’s just epigenetics. ("Epi" means above or outside of, and "genetics" refers to heredity, genes and variation.) And all these loops are epigenetics."

"Now," said Ventura, "we can talk to this epigenetics by magnetic fields, by energy and by changing the environment."

Transmission of DNA Information into Water Through Electromagnetic Waves Ventura and McCraty’s DNA and Cell Reprogramming webinar also touched on the fascinating subjects of teletransportation and coherent water, which like the discussion about reprogramming cells with magnetic-field frequencies, ties into McCraty’s work and research with the Global Coherence Initiative. Ventura described an experiment in which scientists placed DNA in a test tube with water and exposed the tube to a magnetic field with the same frequency as the earth’s resonance frequency. Later they found that the tube emitted an electromagnetic signal.

"What was totally amazing," Ventura said, "is that when they put another tube next to the previous one just containing water and nothing else, also the second tube started to emit an electromagnetic signal after 18 to 24 hours of exposure."

Something equally remarkable happened in the second tube of water, where the scientists had placed the building blocks needed to create DNA. A new DNA structure had formed in the second tube, and it was just like the original in the first tube.

"So it means that somehow water nanostructures and electromagnetic resonance can faithfully maintain and propagate DNA information," Ventura said.

Read the full text of or listen to Ventura and McCraty’s webinar in a free download at DNA and Cell Reprogramming.