Cultural Radio, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco’s System of Radio and Television. Thursday, July 12, 2007.


Prerecorded: “Here we start “I Ask for Peace and Word”, a program produced by “Jalisco’s College,” conducted by Monica Venegas and Cesar Gilabert. We will share an hour of analysis and opinion with our guests about current topics outstanding in Mexico and the world. “I Ask for Peace and Word” ”


MV – Good morning, thanks for joining us. Today is Thursday 12 of July and we welcome you to our program, today I want to thank to….  Dr. Fernando Castro Chavez. Sorry for the delay but, he has Bachelor’s, Specialty, Master’s, and Ph. D. in Molecular Biology in Medicine. He is here in Puerto Vallarta, and well, he is joining us today, Fernando, good morning.


fdocc – Good morning, I am thankful with you, Monica, Cesar. Also with Gustavo, who already interviewed me


CG – No, but he doesn’t count, ‘cause he’s from another program. No, just kidding, look, this idea of the Doctorate in “Molecular Biology in Medicine”, I am reading the titule of your degree thesis “Analysis of the Expression of Genes Implicated in Lipid Metabolism in the Knock-Out Mouse for Perilipin that is Obesity Resistant”. Tell me in simple words, ¿what is this?


fdocc – Briefly that would be “Which are the Characteristics of the Mouse that Never Gets Obese”. A mouse that no matter how many fats or carbohydrates eats, it keeps itself lean.


CG – And, well, being this the Country with the second place in obesity. This Country has the first place in obese women worldwide… ¿yes? Men and women in United States, but in women we are leading, ¿What are the implications of this investigation?


fdocc – Human being could, based on what we have learned with the characteristics of the mouse, reduce obesity through reversible inhibition of the gene producing a structural protein. Explained in simple form, the structural protein is like a box were fats are stored, which are the ones forming the “belly” and developing obesity.


MV – The so beautiful “belly”…


CG – We don’t know what’s he talking there...


fdocc – Yes… so (smile), that’s in simple terms.


CG – Well, and of course, can you tell us what kina of diseases and other things related with obesity, in order that we can be able to grasp the problem that we are talking, because, of course, obesity is becoming a topic, practically, so to say, a public health problem ¿no? Then ¿which are its implications? …


fdocc – Simply we need to see that about 80 % of obese persons, sooner or later will develop diabetes, and they have another kind of problems like heart inflammation and then, all those collateral diseases apart of productive life reduction and emotional distress, it affects our economy a lot. 


CG – We need to say that the first cause of death in Mexico is related to cardiovascular questions, and the second or third is diabetes, so we are talking about really grave things.


fdocc – Certainly, obesity can be controlled. We are treating obesity with molecular similar than when you use the switch to stop the light, to  dim obesity and related genes, in order that the person could be able to start losing weight.


CG – So, instead of liposuctions…


MV – I remind you of our phone here… that you can participate… Fernando Castro Chavez is joining us, and well, and he has this Ph. D. in Molecular Biology in Medicine and I want, as well as Cesar asked you, in simple words for you to explain us what is “Molecular Biology”.


fdocc – Yes, Molecular Biology is the study of the smallest part, basic for life. The part that allows you to be yourself, biologically. For each person to exist. It is the study of the function of genes and their structure. The genes’ function is to produce proteins, chiefly. Then, Molecular Biology also studies normal proteins, their forms, their characteristics, and when there is a change, an alteration, to see where is the damage and to try to fix it.


MV – Genes, in foods, where?


fdocc – Genes in the organism of each living being. You eat foods, and from there you take the prime matter to produce your proteins. With what you have ingested, you reorder the molecules and atoms, to produce useful proteins for you.


CG – And at those sizes really molecular, our structure is very similar with that of the mouse, for example.


fdocc – Yes, many molecular mechanisms, processes, have a common pattern. Like when we were talking before of the hand of the artist, like a painter, my professor Javier Niño, you can recognize his style when you see his works. You see the works of Botero and you can recognize their style, talking now about obesity. And in this case also, we can recognize the pattern of a common design from the smallest organisms, bacteria for example they have molecules, and genes and atoms with similar functions like the ones that we develop. Of course, with variations, we are more complex, but you can see a pattern, if we use animals as model, we can learn, and try to see if the same can work with the human being.   


MV – Which is the scientific process to identify genes?


fdocc – For example, you have an animal model, and you see its characteristics. In this case, it was discovered a gene whose product is a protein that stores fat. Then, a scientist declared: We are going to see if we inactivate this gene, what happens with the little animal? Then, deliberately Scientists harm genes and then they find out which changes the animal experiences. When the perilipin gene was damaged, it was destroyed this fat storage box, the animal was lacking of fat storage and constantly was burning fats, and never got obese, no matter how many fats or carbohydrates were eaten.


MV – Well that’s marvelous.


CG – Well, I take three to go, please … Sandra Garcia is calling us, he salutes our guest, she sends loads of congratulations to Doctor Fernando Castro and asks what can she do in order for her daughter to be able to eat as she is bad to eat? And she says, not only comments on her daughter, but also she salutes her daughter through this media, what happens, say, not only with Sandra’s daughter, but with us that have habits very in conflict with what should be good eating?


fdocc – Yes, the organism has a system to recognize when he needs to be feed. Then, children are, in a very natural way, their organism when they are hungry and in which amount. Many times we, adults are the ones that for social reasons overfeed ourselves and there is when it starts the “belly” formation. Then in this case, that the mother of this girl don’t worry, that Mrs. Sandra, thank you for your call, don’t worry, the organism of the girl is telling her the needs it has and it’ll be possible, if Mom wants to improve her diet, to control the junk food, that it needs to be reduced, and that’s the one that generally kids are more attracted, and to try to look the form to make attractive to her vegetables and fruits.


CG – Good that you mention junk food because it is a worry for us.


MV – And well, we have another call, this is from Aime Arias. She felicitates the program also for bringing this kind of guests, because the “culture” of junk food is very strong, precisely.


fdocc – Thank you Aime, her observation is very good, and yes, also it is that once we control obesity, to educate people, with the proper nutrition and with the proper physical activity. Because this will be a reversible inhibition, that will be something temporal. In simple words, we don’t want that the person become an addict to a drug. Will be drug-dependence because, once it is discovered the reversible substance for people to keep lean, it will need constantly to ingest that substance. Then, the person gets lean and not to depend on this medicine that inhibits the protein, that prevents the fat storage, then the person will need, once she gets lean to learn to eat better and to do exercise.


MV – To do this, to deactivate say this gene in which you are doing the study of your thesis, there is not any repercussion?


fdocc – Very good question, thanks that you mention it, of course. Every human medicine has side effects. The most diluted, the lesser side effects, but the amount that normally “heals” a symptom, are high and can have side effects. What may be a side effect of this possible medicine once it is discovered in humans? Because in humans we can not do what is done in mice, to deliberately destroy un gen. Rather in humans is like to put a temporary clip, people gets lean and once that happens, it is removed. Then, the side effect is that, the person in a cold place, if she has the inhibitor, if it has the clip not to store fat, what happens is that it lacks its thermoregulation system. Then yes, there are always side effects. Which means: A person with this medicine could not stay in cold places, because it will lack of its thermoregulation system normally working, until the clip is removed, or the inhibitor. Then, the side effect is that thermoregulation gets reduced. Then, either we stay in a tropical place, and that’s one of the important reasons why we want to stay here in Puerto Vallarta. Besides it being a very rich place in resources, which will help us investigating a great deal of animal varieties and plants to look for the inhibitor, also it is the best environment for this kind of treatments.


MV - Good, I remind you, we are with Doctor Fernando Castro Chavez. We are talking about Molecular Biology. Eleven fifteen in the morning. We invite you to listen with us “Proyecto Tacos”, from this CD called “Sabor a Trópico”, and will return with the program.

(Melody: Bello Horizonte. Broken Beat Ambient. 6:33)


Prerecorded: An open tribune for your voice to be heard. “I Ask for Peace and Word”.


MV – 224-8072 is our phone in “I Ask for Peace and Word”, we are today with Doctor Fernando Castro Chavez talking about Molecular Biology and about these interesting processes.


CG – Yes, look, we need to tell in many aspects, this research of the character that you are presenting to us, has many applications and one of those has to do with prevention. There is a lot of beds in the hospital that today are busy with sick people with maladies which they shouldn’t get sick with and this has to do with several situations, one of these, well we are talking clearly, if the persons are obese, clearly in another moment they will have cardiovascular problems or they will have diabetes’ problems. For example, now that there is no this prevention, what happens in the hospitals? In what the money is expended? Eh, what diseases are appearing?


fdocc – Thanks, very good question… days ago I went with the sub-director of the IMSS here in Puerto Vallarta, Doctor Alejandro Lopez and he took me to visit the hospital, and told me that half the expense of the Social Security here in Puerto Vallarta is for kidney problems. The expense in dialysis is too big, a person is out one day, and needs to return for two days because her own kidneys don’t work at all. Then he told me, if we could be able to discover the way to regenerate kidney, our costs will be reduced because then, instead of the person depending on an external machine to be able to evacuate the liquids, we will be stimulating her own organism to regenerate, which means, to reconstruct the damaged tissue being able to function again by itself.


CG – This regeneration question, has something to do with this research related with “Stem Cells”?


fdocc – Yes, completely, for example in its early studies, we can remember things that regenerate, like plants, with a fragment of a twig, or with a leave you can regenerate the full plant. In animals, we all have seen that when we take a lizard by the tail, it releases it and the lizard regenerates a new tail. But there are more extreme animals and those are from here, from Mexico, the Axolotl or Ambystoma living in the Lake of Patzcuaro, and other lakes like Zumpango, Zempoala… and these animals not only regenerate the tail. Those are big amphibians, similar to a miniature crocodile with fat face, and its four extremities. And the surprising thing is that if you cut a leg of this animal, it regenerates it. And what happens is that its cells dedifferentiate and revert to a state that we may call of pluripotentiality and are capable of producing new cartilage, bone, skin, nerve (nervous system).


CG – Let’s say in simple words, it will be like playing cards and having the wild card. The joker card then can shape according to the needs of the body ¿no?


fdocc – Exactly.


CG – Now, there is a lot of myths I have heard, specially in literature related to Stem Cells research that are extracted from human embryos and as a matter of fact. in United States there is a great debate about its prohibition. There is a series de prejudices, how is the situation here in Mexico? Do we have the technology, the capacity? And do we have the regulation allowing it in comparison with other places? What advantages or disadvantages we have?


fdocc – In Mexico we have the advantage o fan almost unlimited availability of natural resources: animals, plants. And from there we can learn a lot and we don’t need even to use embryos. For example just by seeing the technology used in a natural way by this animal to regenerate its extremity, its feet, even an eye. It is something surprising, even if this animal a broken column, it can regenerate it, it can weld it. Then, those characteristics we could learn from the animal, using the same methodology that I used searching obesity looking at which genes are being expressed in the animal regenerating, and to see this we could be able to see the related human genes, and to try to do the same. Then we could push the human organs, adult organs having, each tissue a storage place of pluripotent cells. The reservoir cells. Cells that when you cut yourself (a nail, hair, skin,) immediately arrive to fix it. And the interesting thin is that while you are younger in your age, more easily you regenerate. Which means that when a person is very old, 80, 90 years, the availability of pluripotent cells in each tissue gets very reduced.


CG – Well, in a general level we can say, adult metabolism is slower in every aspect of its cellular proliferation, no? Is useful the research to revert some processes related to aging? Delay them? Or such things?


fdocc – More than anything, in specific organs, it will be possible to attempt to have a replace system, see? It’s very surprising that in our organisms the liver, if 2/3 of it were cut, the remaining third could be able to regenerate another full liver. Then, we, in fact have an organ very regenerative, the liver. Also the pancreas regenerates but the liver regenerates faster. Then, if we learn from those organs and see the genes which are expressing there, we could try to see if it’s possible also to regenerate something more difficult at these moments such the kidney.


CG – And a question, maybe more trivial but I am sure that some portion of the public will be interested in: and what’s the function of the liver? It may be an obvious question but, the liver is one of the organs more complex of the human body, I’ll identify it as a pharmacy of the human body. But, what’s the function of the liver? In simple words …


fdocc – The liver is basic to process every substance arriving to the organism. Then, foods, fats, carbohydrates, and most especially toxic products, they end in the liver and the liver tries to destroy them, processing them to reduce their harm. From there they go to the kidney to be expelled. The liver is, effectively as you adequately mentioned it, is the laboratory of our organism. Is the one that directs, and is very interesting the way tissues cross-talk, the liver communicates with the brain and tells it, I need a bit of this, a little bit of that, then the brain awakes in the stomach the need to ingest food, and the brain as well, according to its communication with the liver, it says when it’s full, when it’s satiated of such need. Then, there is a very good intercommunication between organs. At the end it’s told to the muscle: we have enough carbohydrates, now you can use them and the heart as well.


VM – We have some questions but before of it I wish you to comment, in Mexico and in Jalisco, in which place we are situated in this kind of researches, but out of a sudden we hear spectacular news that important studies have been done by Mexican researchers.


fdoccMexico, specially Jalisco is outstanding in hepatology research, precisely liver research. We have in Guadalajara the Civil Hospital, the Biomedical Research Center of the West. We have also Molecular Biology in the University Center of Health Sciences. And there are things very interesting going on. They are classifying genes proper of native persons in Mexico, classified per ethnic groups. And they are evaluating how they process alcohol?  And they have seen that the ethnic groups of Mexico have similes with the Asian, but Asian are even more sensitive to alcohol. Which means that its easier for an Asian to get drunk with just one cup.


CG – We don’t realize such things here...


fdocc – The ones a little more resistant are the Caucasian, the European races.


CG – Yes well, simply Russians with Vodka… climates and…


VM – I hear also the news that medicines were assimilated differently in the organisms of the different races, true?


fdocc – Exactly, each ethnic group has a different metabolism. We wish the day in which each medicine be dosed according to the ethnic group to not affect so much other organs, to prevent a lot of the lateral effects.


VM – Well, alter this musical pause we will read your questions. We invite you to continue participating… and we continue listening “Proyecto Tacos”.


CG – How interesting…


(Music: Entre Amigos, Café Corregidora. Broken Beat. 5:32)


[Next Information within Asterisks Rebuilt by Memory]



* MV – Well, this was “Proyecto Tacos”. We salute Willow Brizio here from the show.


CG – In the musical pause we asked Doctor Fernando Castro: How it is that you landed in Puerto Vallarta? Why Vallarta?


fdocc – Well. My parents live here. When my father retired, some five years ago, they decided to come to live here. I thank my dad Manuel Castro, who helped me to obtain my Doctor’s degree. I came to Puerto Vallarta and asked my dad: what research is going on here in Vallarta? He told me: why don’t we go to C.U.C., U. de G. in Ixtapa to see what’s been done there? He went with me and I was able to deliver my curriculum, I think that in a couple of weeks they answer me related to my acceptance. I am thankful with Prof. Rocio Preciado who then was in charge of Medicine and helped me a lot. Then I knew Dr. Morales and Chemical Navarro who invited me as a jury for the final work in Biochemistry taken by doctors and nurses.


CG – Here, I have a special call. This is from your cousin Aida de la Torre Castro, he greets you and says that the talk is very interesting, what do you tell us about this call?


fdocc – Yes, I thank my cousin Aida for her call and her husband, my cousin Gustavo. They are here on vacations from United States and they re in my parents house listening the program.


CG – Are they from the same place you did your research?


fdocc – No, I was in Houston, Texas, but they live in California.


VM – Aurora Leon felicitates the speaker and says that she has hypotiroydism. She asks, if a medicine able to counter obesity is found, does the person have to take it for life?


fdocc – No, we hope to be able to find this antidote and that the person be able to take it until she reaches their proper weight, one that is reached, to leave the medicine in order that * again she will be able to work with exercise, and nutrition to reach the point when she don’t depend on the medicament.


VM – You told us that this research in simple words is like putting a clip to the gene to silence it and after that to take it out.


fdocc – Yes.


VM – My question is this one: is there any possibility that this altering, repeatedly for a long time, be hereditary, that this gene be transmuted into another gene and to have some kind of problems?


fdocc – Not, it wont be inheritable. But the person will be depending on an external substance to be able to inhibit it.


CG – And also we need to tell that the dependence not only may be physiological, but psychological and there it can be devastating, then, if there is not an educational strategy to change habits, well this and any other medicine may generate some phantoms in the mind, or not? Collateral damages not precisely implied with physiology.


fdocc – Apart of the possible cost. It always deals with lowering the costs as possible, but the moment will come in which it will be told to a person: Look, this can help you, but once you reach your proper weight we are going to try for you not to depend on this substance.


MV – In comparing other current treatments, in this sense to reduce hunger, the appetite, versus the appetite suppressors, what advantages does it have?


fdocc – Commercial substances available now act at the neuronal level, at the level of the brain. They suppress some nervous receptors in the brain the ones that tell you, “I hunger, I want to eat”. They suppress them, but in this case it will be to suppress the function of a structural protein, of a mechanical protein. The advantage is that it won’t act on the nervous system, and the collateral effects will be very small because every substance that is acting on receptor systems of the brain, neuronal, could have collateral effects like some depression, or some emotional things not so clear. And when it acts at a mechanical level, like in this case, this mouse, at the same time that increases the fatty acids burning, as all the genes of beta oxidation are activated, and the Krebs cycle, and the respiratory chain, and at the same time, the expression of all genes involved in fat synthesis in the animal are reduced. Which means that is totally balanced.


CG – In conduct terms, is it more active? Is it more resistant to fatigue? Does it improve other capacities, concentration for example, attention? What happens?


fdocc – There is something, that this animal have more muscles. Which means, when they weight this animal that never gets obese and compare it with the wild type animal, they practically have the same weight, the difference is that this animal, what it lacks in stored fat, it has developed in muscle.


CG – Hey, will this little animal pass the anti-doping in sports? To participate …


fdocc – No, I think…


CG – What I mean seems like a joke, but it will be part sports medicine, the possibility to experiment with these or from the start they won’t pass the anti-doping test.


fdocc – Sports medicine doesn’t want the person to be dependent, because any external substance to the nature of the sportsman, sooner or later will be put aside. Even when wont be a drug in the sense of hallucinating, is an external substance to be restricted.


MV – Eleven forty five in the morning. I remind you, 224-8072 we are here to receive your comments or your participation, today we have Doctor Fernando Castro Chavez talking with you about molecular biology. Let’s go with more of “Proyecto Tacos” and we’ll continue.


(Song: Wixarika +pa Mituchi. Broken Beat. 5:07)


Prerecorded: Participate directly in our debates. Communicate by phone to …


MV – Thanks to be with us, we have here our last segment. There is a lot to say but we will try to be brief in our comments, to continue reading your phone calls. We were talking in this space while we were listening the music of the benefits of biological resources in Mexico, why they favour us, and among other things the climate and specifically, well we were laughing that the Doctor was telling us about the favorable that is this that we are suffering here in Puerto Vallarta.


fdocc – I absolutely think that even when there is uncomfortable, I we see the sunny side of the heat situation we will see that even to sweat is beneficial for your organism because you eliminate every great amount of toxics, that otherwise will be left stored and for example, in cold places where there is no stimulation to eliminate through sweat these toxins, they stay on the skin, they remain stored and all this can contribute with diseases, cancer problems and all of that. Then, it has its advantages even the sweat to eliminate toxics.


CG – Let’s see, can you tell me what toxins do in the body?


fdocc – Yes, toxins are something strange to the organism, something that the organism cannot, many times cannot even to process. Then, what the body does with some chemical toxins for example, is to try to surround them with cells and then there is when it starts to accumulate a cell mass that can end up with cancer. Then, for me that many toxins that we ingest from the foods or that enter from the environment stay stored and the organism, when cannot eliminate them, surrounds them and can be one of the ways in which cancers develop, and the idea will be then to stimulate the form in which the person herself could be able to eliminate it. And there is where sweat is very good, then, there are many things that we have here in Mexico, for example we were talking about the natural resources, and Mexico has a great amount of climates, a great amount of organisms and plants, a lot of them not even classified. Let’s think there in the forests of the south of Mexico. In total there were more than 1,300 considered as reptile species, and more than 300 different species of amphibians with all their sub-varieties and variations among them. And for example, the amphibians, the great majority regenerates. Even frogs, for example also if a frog breaks its vertebral column, it can regenerate it, to weld it, and move itself again, and jump. Then, those are amazing things and we count with such advantage here in Mexico, when compared with the other countries, and from here we could receive a great amount of information and substances from those organisms that we could use for treatments, medicines and more than anything, to learn what they have molecularly.


MV – Well, this project that you presented here in Guadalajara University, related to the mouse that don’t gets obese to say it in few words, but the purpose is to do also another kind of research? 


fdocc – Yes, once we start in Guadalajara University. And they tell me in two weeks related to that, to be professor of full time first and after that to apply as a researcher. And the next step will be precisely, this that was analyzed in an animal model, to apply it in human being. Then, the great opportunity that we have is that here in Mexico sith so many resources, if something is discovered, from there research will be done, and the discovery can help first locals, and as the climate here is more benign for this situation of the needed thermal balance, obese people of the North, from United States, from Canada, will need to came and to stay here for some months, in a treatment in a local clinic and with the treatment they will get lean. That by one side, for the other side, Mexico has a big advantage in the study of Stem Cells, because it don’t have the prejudices they have in the United States associated with the start of those investigations in Stem Cells. Stem Cells initially were extracted from embryos, and in United States that has been totally prohibited and restricted. But as we were talking as well in the interval, multiple Stem Cells can be obtained now from other organs. For example, from bone marrow that constantly is producing new cells. With the proper ingredients, with the proper soup, it can be stimulated that these pluri-potent cells in adult be able to produce the needed tissues and could be introduced again in the adult. Which means, ideal will be to do also, here in C.U.C. in Guadalajara University, and here we leave the antecedent, for a project in Stem Cells. And of course, kidney will be one of our first prospects to do research, one of our first options.


MV – And well, to go with something to think I wish you to explain us, how important are the genes?


fdocc – Yes, genes are the basis of life because form there, from genes you obtain proteins. First it was thought that a gene was able to produce only one protein, but now as it is investigated, it has been seen that one gene can produce multiple proteins. For example, we have approximately 35,000 genes in human, but we have more than a million proteins. Then, it means that with one gene, according to the variants in the re-coupling, in the “splicing”, which is like a readjustment, a cut and paste. With one gene divided in nine segments, for example, that are called exons, some variants will take only eight of those nine segments and will give a different protein when compared if seven of those segments were taken. Which means that one gene can produce multiple proteins and these are the basis of your metabolism and your biological well being.


MV – Do we have a last question?


CG – Yes, well more than a question, Pedro Ruiz felicitates the guests. Well, Doctor Fernando Castro. He says that these contributions benefit us all and humanity in general, that a very good program. Well, we finally reach the end of the program. We have a couple of minutes.


MV – And yes, well, I want to thank the Doctor, for joining us today. I repeat that it has been of great interest what he has presented to us in this program, in Gustavo’s program as well. As a matter of fact he already received an invitation on the part of here, Cultural Radio to frequently participate. All of that will depend on how these projects be programmed, but independently, you are invited again to another program, there are many things that we still can comment on it. But, thanks for having been with us.


fdocc – I am thankful with you. And if I am accepted in the University, well I wish also to invite each of the students to contribute with their studies and what they’ll be learning.


MV – And we invite the audience to be with us the next program, Thursday next week at the same time. My name is Monica Venegas.


CG – In controls it was “Hazard”, I am Cesar Gilabert and this was another edition of “I Ask for Peace and Word”.


fdocc – Thanks very much and have a good day.

(The next program is advertised: “Restaurant Trio Coffee Bar”)

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