Help Kronos' Chris Heward fight his cancer

Chris Heward past away on January 10, 2009. This post will remain here to remember Chris and his struggle against cancer.

John Schloendorn, who is a  postdoc at ASU’s Biodesign Institute and doing scientific research on the LysoSENS project for the Methuselah Foundation, asks you to support Chris Heward’s fight against cancer.

Dear all,

My friend Chris Heward was diagnosed with Stage IV terminal esophageal cancer. His chances of surviving a year are less than 1%, even with the best available care. For those of you who don’t know Chris, he is the president of the Kronos Science Laboratories, a Phoenix-based anti-aging hub

Those of you who do know Chris will understand that he is not going down without a fight. Chris has very much the power of Kronos behind him, and we all hope that the experimental effort being launched there will not just benefit Chris, but many other sufferers of terminal cancers.

Plan A is based on the granulocyte therapy developed by Zheng Cui. Many of you know Zheng as well, and will remember that he made headlines throughout the anti-aging communities last year by achieving a complete cure for all types of cancer tested in the mouse.

A brief recap: Zheng by accident discovered that one of his mice was immune to any transplanted mouse or human cancers. This remarkable animal resisted a million times the dose of cancer cells that is 100% lethal to other mice. The trait turned out to be heritable in a single-gene mendelian fashion, but the responsible gene has so far resisted discovery. The cancer resistance was mediated by leukocytes, probably mostly of the granulocyte type. Granulocytes from the cancer-resistant mice chase cancer cells in a petri dish and destroy them. Granulocytes from other mice do not do that. Transplantation of granulocytes from cancer-resistant mice into other mice can transfer the cancer immunity, as well as cure existing cancers of all types tested (which were many types!). When Zheng looked in people, he found: Granulocytes form cancer patients never chase cancer cells. Granulocytes from healthy people sometimes chase cancer cells. Granulocytes from people in cancer-free families often chase cancer cells.

In September 2008, at the Methuselah Foundation sponsored “Aging 08” conference at UCLA, Zheng announced the launch of a clinical trial investigating the therapeutic effect of transplanting granulocytes from cancer-free donors (apt at chasing cancer cells in petri dishes) into cancer patients. A video of Zheng’s Aging 08 talk discussing all this in more detail is available here:

Shortly after Aging 08, Zheng’s trial was put on hold by the FDA for certain bioethical concerns they had, and has been on hold since. Unfortunately, it is quite normal for this agency to charge ahead with the speed of a glacier. Chris does not have that kind of time. Our friends at Kronos are now scrambling to revive Zheng’s technology and apply it to Chris in the few months he has left. However, even for Kronos, this is not possible without your help. Here are a couple of ways:

*(1) Donate granulocytes*
The most critical resource for this project are granulocyte donors. The granulocyte donation process itself is harmless and simple for the donor. Granulocyte transplantation is in routine clinical use to treat a variety of infections. However, for Zheng’s therapy, many donors are needed to treat one patient, and the donors have to be selected for limited blood type and immune system compatibility. Thus, a fairly large number of individuals must be screened. If you get selected, the benefits will include adequate payment, possibly a free trip to Zheng’s facility at Wake Forest, Florida, and – in my opinion best of all – knowing whether your granulocytes possess the cancer-chasing ability. Oh yes, and who knows, maybe help discover the cure for cancer. Please complete the attached form to participate in the first round of screening. Send it to Wendy at Kronos: Her email address and (shared!) fax number are also given on the form. I sent mine today.

*(2) Forward this message*
To reach a large enough number of donors, please forward this information to as many people as you can. Chris values his life a lot more than his privacy, and is explicitely asking us to launch this as a chain email. If you have a blog, blog away. If you’re a rockstar, announce it on stage. Don’t forget to attach the form. Or pour sacks of them into the audience.

*(3) Wish Chris well*
Chris has set up a Facebook page where he tells his story in a more personal way, and posts updates. Search “Chris Heward” and you will find him — he’s the smiling bald guy. If you would like to help in other ways, email Wendy directly,

That’s all folks. Let’s see what we can do.

John Schloendorn

Combination therapy: The patient's view

One consequence of the growing understanding of the biochemical pathways involved in brain injury resulting from cardiac arrest, stroke, and brain trauma is that there is an increasing consensus among researchers that combination therapy is the most logical treatment for the multifactorial injury mechanisms responsible for neuronal death. In this context, combination therapy can mean either combining different forms of treatment, such as hypothermia and a neuroprotective agent, or the combination of multiple neuroprotective agents. But despite encouraging results with combination therapy in animal models, and disappointing outcomes for single neuroprotective agents (such as the recent free radical spin trap agent NXY-059) in human clinical trials, there are no indications that the current trend of investigating just one neuroprotective agent will be reversed soon.

One obstacle for successful combination treatment that is not often addressed is that cardiac arrest, stroke, and brain trauma are acute events that do not allow a vocal pro-active role of the patient at the time that this could benefit him. During the immediate post-insult period when the molecular events leading to neuronal death, and even higher brain death, play out, most patients are not able to communicate their wishes, or are in a coma. As a result, the patient is not present at the time when the most important decisions about his survival as a person are being made.

This predicament is different from patients suffering from serious but chronic diseases such as AIDS and cancer. In his book “Surviving Terminal Cancer: Clinical Trials, Drug Cocktails, and Other Treatments Your Oncologist Won’t Tell You About” psychology professor Ben Williams documents how he improved his odds of surviving a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor by researching and pursuing his own treatment, which consists of a combination of conventional and “alternative” treatments.

Williams’ successful case of personalized combination therapy does not present strict scientific evidence that his treatment is the cause of his remarkable recovery (so far), but it does highlight the general benefits that may be obtained when patients demand some degree of control over their choice of treatments. Williams stresses that patients such as himself may have much to gain, and not much too lose, from pursuing such an experimental “cocktail” approach. A similar situation applies to patients who are at risk of severe brain injury and cannot afford to wait until the mechanisms and comparative efficacies of each individual component of a neuroprotective cocktail have been thoroughly investigated.

How can such an outcome driven treatment of cerebral ischemia gain acceptance? Since the patient will not “be there” to investigate and demand unorthodox experimental treatments, he can only influence his odds by leaving advance directives to medical care givers and relatives to request that such treatments are given to him. Such measures can only have a chance of succeeding, however, if experimental treatment options are documented for these patients.

In contrast, combinational pharmacotherapy and hypothermia have been core components of human cryopreservation stabilization protocol for many years. To date, researchers involved in cryonics have made record achievements in normothermic cerebral resuscitation and (ultra)profound hypothermic resuscitation. The applications of such research should not be limited to minimizing brain injury in cryonics patients but should be shared with the general public to help build a “supply” side of experimental treatments that can be consulted by medical care givers and relatives of the patient.

Individuals who are signed up for cryonics have a personal interest in stimulating such research, its documentation and dissemination because acute insults such as cardiac arrest, stroke, and brain trauma can produce (higher) brain death before the individual will present for human cryopreservation in the future. Indeed, cryonics may offer the only chance of personal survival for patients who are at risk of major brain damage if they are resuscitated and left to live at room temperature.