Review | Open Access
CAM and Cell Fate Targeting: Molecular and Energetic Insights into Cell Growth and Differentiation
Evidence-based medicine is switching from the analysis of single diseases at a time toward an integrated assessment of a diseased person. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) offers multiple holistic approaches, including osteopathy, homeopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, herbal and energy medicine and meditation, all potentially impacting on major human diseases. It is now becoming evident that acupuncture can modify the expression of different endorphin genes and the expression of genes encoding for crucial transcription factors in cellular homeostasis. Extremely low frequency magnetic fields have been found to prime the commitment to a myocardial lineage in mouse embryonic stem cells, suggesting that magnetic energy may direct stem cell differentiation into specific cellular phenotypes without the aid of gene transfer technologies. This finding may pave the way to novel approaches in tissue engineering and regeneration. Different ginseng extracts have been shown to modulate growth and differentiation in pluripotent cells and to exert wound-healing and antitumor effects through opposing activities on the vascular system, prompting the hypothesis that ancient compounds may be the target for new logics in cell therapy. These observations and the subtle entanglement among different CAM systems suggest that CAM modalities may deeply affect both the signaling and transcriptional level of cellular homeostasis. Such a perception holds promises for a new era in CAM, prompting reproducible documentation of biological responses to CAM-related strategies and compounds. To this end, functional genomics and proteomics and the comprehension of the cell signaling networks may substantially contribute to the development of a molecular evidence–based CAM.
Copyright © 2005 Carlo Ventura. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.