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Amoebas cure cancer atherosclerosis as well as viral diseases

immunotransparent amoebas circulate throughout the body They recognize then eat cancer cytes as well as atherosclerotic plaques The recognize viral surface proteins on tissue removing tissue reservoirs of viral disease curing aids as well as herpes. The amoebas literally attack diseased tissue like a second immune system
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Amoebas are published as making food choices as a response to their environment

Like human lymphocytes amoebas surround cytes then digest them

Creating amoebas that are immunotransparent to the human immune system permits them to circulate absent immune attack from the body; creating immunotransparency is a strategy employed with nonhuman mammals thus breeding an immunotransparent amoeba may be literally millions or billions of times easier

Amoebas are publishes as making food choice comparisons; it is possible to make them tissue type specific or possibly even educated to prefer a diseased tissue type specific to a particular person.

The amoebas can be bred or trained to recognize then eat tissue types with particular surface chemistry such as cancer cytes or atherosclerotic lesions. The amoebas literally attack diseased tissue like a second immune system

artherosclerosis as well as cancer were the two most lethal diseases of the 20th century

amoebas that eat cholesterol plaques as well as cancer tissue save billions of lives

Amoebas could be bred or trained to destroy tissue that has active virus surface particles both actively curing viral infections plus removing them from deep tissue reservoirs curing aids as well as herpes.

amoebas may also be injected directly to the core of nonvascular as well as vascular cancers; their ability to reproduce absent oxygen or distant immunogenerative tissues gives them particular strength at removing tumors that lymphocytes cannot reach.

beanangel, Mar 09 2010

Amoebas are clever enough to choose different foods on purpose http://www.esajourn...-0358.1?cookieSet=1
[beanangel, Mar 09 2010]

Brain-eating amoeba http://en.wikipedia...i/Naegleria_fowleri
Not this one, i presume (which is actually flagellate) [nineteenthly, Mar 09 2010]

Cancer may just be the cure as soon as we evolve a way to tell it when it has gone far enough. http://www.ted.com/...re_of_medicine.html
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Mar 10 2010]

now the video with lots of women http://www.youtube....watch?v=hdzPoHazdnU
[beanangel, Mar 13 2010]


       A similar idea to this is mentioned in Larry Niven's 'A Gift From Earth', where a genetically modified rotifer cleans blood vessels.   

       Presumably this would be a marine amoeba used to a tropical environment. I think it would be difficult to avoid a specific immune response. I wonder if it would itself obstruct the circulation, and i think it would probably cause ischaemia at points where the lumina of the blood vessels were smaller than its size. I also suspect there would be disseminated intravascular coagulation.   

       They would also die by a process similar to necrosis.   

       However, i couldn't say any of that for definite, so thanks for making me think.
nineteenthly, Mar 09 2010

       This is an excellent idea apart from a few issues:   

       1) "breeding an immunotransparent amoeba may be literally millions or billions of times easier [than doing the same for non-human mammals]" or possibly not. Our immune system has been working flat out over the last few hundred million years to try to outwit infectious amoebae. It hasn't really had to develop strategies for dealing with an infection of pigs.   

       2) "it is possible to make them tissue type specific or possibly even educated to prefer a diseased tissue type specific to a particular person." Possible. Also, "educated" is a bit of a dodgy concept when it comes to amoebae. Actually it's a very dodgy concept (even with some humans). (NB your link didn't work for me for some reason.)   

       3) What happens if your trained amoebae run out of cancer cells and still feel peckish?   

       4)-10) another half dozen reasons.   

       But a cute idea nonetheless, and worth thinking on. Punctuation continues to improve.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 09 2010

       And then these immuno-transparent amobea mutate slightly, and develop a taste for neural tissue, or muscle, or...   

       And our bodies are completely unable to do anything about it.   

       No thank you.
MechE, Mar 09 2010

       I do have some respect for this idea, partly because i think small organisms can be seen as tiny machines which could maybe be modified to do something else, rather than building a microscopic machine from scratch. I do think it would be a major undertaking to do so even so, and the question is whether it'd be easier to do this than just making a "nanite". It also breaks an HB tabu: nanotech or genetic modification
nineteenthly, Mar 09 2010

       Molecules can be seen as tiny machines. But once something becomes self-reproducing, it is by definition subject to the laws of natural selection, which means it will evolve solely in such a way as to propagate itself more effectively.   

       The experience of both conventional breeding and of in- vitro evolution is usually that the buggers will find a way to propagate which does not involve them doing what you thought you were selecting them to do.   

       A truly immune-invisible intracellular organism is only a point-mutation away from being a really effective pathogen.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 09 2010

       Wow, am I seeing semi-colons?
RayfordSteele, Mar 09 2010

       No, that's a spot on your lens.
pertinax, Mar 09 2010

       What if they could be induced to lose all their nucleic acid somehow? A RBC is pretty simple in some ways (presumably not in others), but it does its job well. What if an amoeba could be induced to function somehow without actually bothering with that whole respiration, DNA transcription/ribosome business? I know it sounds dumb, but if a droplet of dye can be made to negotiate a maze through a pH gradient, could something similar not be done here?   

       I'm thinking tiny organic analogue robots initially organised via DNA which then breaks down. Unfortunately, then a nanomachine really would be more feasible.   

       Then again, there are some organisms which don't seem to mutate very much.
nineteenthly, Mar 09 2010

       I used to be addicted to semicolons, [RayfordSteele]. I had a comma problem and the semicolons moved in to replace them because they lost their force, then colons replaced semicolons and now it's all just a horrible mess.
nineteenthly, Mar 09 2010

       //lose all their nucleic acid somehow?//   

       Now you're talking. You don't even need to eradicate the DNA, just make sure the buggers cannot reproduce, or at least can only do so for a defined number of generations.   

       Even without DNA, you can do a lot of things. The only thing you can't do is to make major changes in gene expression, and hence you lose some ability to respond to certain things (but generally in a minutes-to-hours-to-days way, not a second-to-second way). If the cells retain their mRNA, they can still to a lot (at least until it degrades), and there is quite a lot of regulation at the level of the RNA and beyond.   

       So, this begins to look like a not-quite-so-dumb idea. Just breed these things (OK, you've still got to make them in the first place), and then ensure that they can't reproduce in the body.   

       I'd probably do it by making their reproduction dependent on at least six synthetic compounds that are not present in the body. Or, another option, put temperature- sensitive mutations into several of the genes which are essential for reproduction (this isn't very difficult to do, though not much has been done in amoebae). Then breed the buggers at 25°C. (on the other hand, they might grow happily in human epidermis, which can often be a lot colder than body temperature).   

       Basically, you want to cripple them in many ways to avoid bad things.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 09 2010

       I would very much like to hear what you all think of this TED talk [link].   

       Yes, it sounds like that would work really well. Could they maybe be cultured somewhat above body temperature? If it was higher than the highest possible fever, would it not be safe all over the body? Or would that make them a potential tropical form of pemphigus-causing pathogen?
nineteenthly, Mar 10 2010

       The problem is that an organism which thrives at high temperature will generally survive and reproduce at a lower temperature, just more slowly. Better the other way around, I think.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 10 2010

       Re: High temperature reproduction - every rug burn would become a breeding ground.   

       As I understand it, the main source of evolution is not transcription error mutation, but a combination of jumping genes and expression markers. If you eliminate these, they will evolve much slower (but would still be vulnerable to viral infection, which I think is the biggest threat)   

       If the cell has no ability to create transcriptase, it will not be able to extend its telomeres and so will self destruct after a certain number of generations.
marklar, Mar 10 2010

       //main source of evolution is not transcription error mutation, but a combination of jumping genes and expression markers.//   

       Slightly wrong. Evolution arises from mutations in the DNA, which can arise from various sources. (Evolution is also driven by recombination between the genomes during sexual reproduction, if amoebae go in for that).   

       The telomere-lengthening enzyme is telomerase, not transcriptase. I'm not sure what system amoebae use to preserve their telomeres but yes, if they use telomerase, then removing this enzyme would limit their reproductive ability (unless they mutated around the problem). But then you'd have to create the amoebae without telomerase, and you couldn't breed them before injecting them.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 10 2010

       [Marklar], in that case anyone who was recently immunised with heat-attenuated organisms had better watch out.   

       [MB], my concern about that is that body temperatures can fall very low in some places, and you only need to look at a Siamese cat to see where those parts of the body would be.
nineteenthly, Mar 10 2010

       Heat-attenuated vaccines are generally "cooked" to kill them, as I understand it. They don't revive at body temperatures.   

       Yes, re low body-temperatures.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 10 2010

       By the time you've finished engineering these creatures to fit all your specs, they're not amoebas any more -- they're lymphocytes with added properties. You might have a shorter distance to travel if you started with lymphocytes, rather than amoebas.
mouseposture, Mar 10 2010

       They could be equidistant from either, [mouseposture]. However, presumably WBCs generally don't become cancerous as WBCs themselves. I could be very wrong and i'm interested in being wrong here, but i'm not aware of a form of leukaemia which arises outside the generating tissues themselves.
nineteenthly, Mar 11 2010

       OK, But I want a to fix the problems in Burma first, is that alright? I'll get right on it afters.
WcW, Mar 11 2010

       Ask a busy person, [WcW]. Or, maybe there's a mysterious link between those problems and not having symbiotic amœbæ.
nineteenthly, Mar 11 2010

       if there is then i can't seem to grasp it. I just thought that we should all share our uber-thusiasms for changing the world/destroying all mammalian life. Perspective, yaknow.
WcW, Mar 12 2010

       Maybe this could turn into a biological version of the "grey goo scenario", where all animal life on the planet gets turned into pus. That would presumably be one solution to the problems in Burma.
nineteenthly, Mar 12 2010

       Cancerous white blood cells cause leukaemia, nineteenthly - they are the 'generating tissue'.   

       (white blood cells = leukocytes)   

       Leukocytes' current job is basically what beanangel is proposing. In fact I vaguely remember seeing part of a documentary about research into persuading leukocytes to attack cancerous cells.
The problem is really that cancerous cells are hard to distinguish from non-cancerous cells.
Loris, Mar 12 2010

       Yes, but not in the bloodstream or the interstitial fluid, in that as far as i know they don't ever mitose outside the tissues which produce them. That's what i meant. However, i am about to go through the necessary textbooks on this issue.
nineteenthly, Mar 12 2010

       OK, here we go:   

       Acute leukaemia: Proliferation in haemopoietic tissues at the expense of other blood components. Can't find a mention of proliferation outside haemopoietic tissues.   

       Acute myeloblastic leukaemia without maturation does have immature WBCs in the bloodstream, but the one with maturation hasn't. What i don't know this second is whether the stem cells are still mitosing at that stage.   

       There's a promyelocytic leukaemia, but again i don't think that mitoses.   

       Need the immunology stuff, i think.   

       If a cell were less differentiated, i suppose the probability of it mitosing outside haemopoietic tissue is higher, so in that way they're like solid tumours. What i'm trying to pin down is what stage they have to get to for mitosis to become impossible, and whether that happens in lymphoproliferative disorders _outside_ the generating tissues themselves. So, either the stage of development the cell reaches once it leaves bone marrow/thymus/spleen/whatever is immature enough for it to mitose while it's out there, or there's a pathological process involving the cells continuing to mitose when they're out there, maybe because they ignore programmed cell death signals or something.   

       Right now, i can't pin it down, but it does confirm me being negative about Echinacea anyway, so it's not a total waste of time for me to do this.   

       Can i have a bit of help here please?
nineteenthly, Mar 12 2010

       Why the video with lots of women [beanangel]?   

       Bottom line: huge number of technical reasons why this wouldn't work, but it is interesting, and not completely bonkers. On a very-distantly-related note, the Russians (and some others) were quite big on using bacteriophage to treat bacterial infections (OK, very VERY distantly related).   

       There was an old woman who swallowed a fly..
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 14 2010

       I've solved my own problem, i think. It metastasises outside lymphoid tissue occasionally at sites distant from the primary lesion, so there must be WBCs capable of mitosis in the bloodstream or interstitial fluid, but it still looks like they're rare.
nineteenthly, Mar 14 2010

       [Nineteenthly] You're asking if leaukaemias produce cells which continue to divide in the bloodstream? I think probably yes, a bit, as you indicated.   

       In general, cancer cells mitose like crazy, even if they were once meant to be terminally differentiated and non-dividing. But every cancer is actually an ecosystem, and every cancer is different (I mean every individual cancer, not just every type).
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 14 2010

       Thanks, yes, i do need to know these things (and i don't try to treat them, it's so i can give advice or to help with differential diagnosis).   

       Under normal circumstances, something must stop them multiplying though. Isn't it possible to use that somehow (i mean in this idea)?
nineteenthly, Mar 14 2010

       Thought you'd be interested in this one [nineteenthly].   


       [nineteenthly] yes, there are many mechanisms which are supposed to stop cells dividing inappropriately, which is why it's uncommon for even one of the billions of cells in the body to break free and become a cancer. I'm not an expert (though several of my people work on cancers - mostly lung and colon), but there are all sorts of controls including contact inhibition and a whole slew of signalling pathways which either suppress inappropriate growth or are needed to stimulate normal growth. There are also cell-death pathways which can kill unwanted or abnormal cells.   

       Cells become cancerous when they break free of these controls, and it usually takes several steps for this to happen. For example, a cell may lose (through mutation) one gene which normally acts in a pathway to prevent growth; this may give that cell (and its descendents) a slight proliferative advantage, leading to local dysplasia (a patch of odd-looking cells, or a colon polyp, for instance). Then another mutation in one of that population of cells may mean that a receptor which normally detects a signal to trigger replication becomes 'constitutively active' (ie, it's always "on" even in the absence of the signal), causing further proliferation. Then cells may lose more growth- controlling genes (tumour supressor genes), or gain extra copies of growth-promoting genes (oncogenes), or any of a variety of other changes. Each change moves the cell towards greater proliferation, which in turn provides more opportunities for further mutations to arise. It's basically a process of natural selection at the cellular level.   

       Finally, a cell acquires the full set of mutations necessary for unregulated proliferation, for the induction of blood vessels nearby, and often for metastasis, and then you are, as medics say, fucked.   

       Most of the new cancer therapies are tailored at the molecular level, based on an understanding of the molecular pathways and the ways in which they've gone wrong.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 14 2010

       Thanks, [MB], i'm aware of those, but i was thinking about something more specific - what stops lymphocytes et caetera from dividing?
nineteenthly, Mar 15 2010

       Ah - sorry. I am fairly confident that I don't know. I guess (and doubtless you have guessed too) that similar mechanisms act on normal lymphocytes or their progenitors, but whether this happens in the haematopoietic tissues or in the blood or both, I have no idea.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 15 2010

       Literate blood cells,
Creating a bad haiku.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 15 2010


       Well, they do get them weird lumpy nuclei.
nineteenthly, Mar 15 2010


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