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Dallas Scientist Becomes His Own Experiment While Fighting ALS

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Dallas Scientist Becomes His Own Experiment While Fighting ALS

Tony Wood from Dallas, TX, has been co-creating technology that helps grow plants in water. Miraculously, the technology has also shown promising results in treating neuro-inflammatory diseases such as muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s, and asthma. Wood was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Shortly after, he realized the oxygen-infused saline he helped create might have potential to treat his diagnosis as well.

At 69 years old, Wood began losing movement in his arms and legs. He now has trouble speaking and must use his chin to guide his wheelchair. When all seemed hopeless, he came to the realization that the technology he had created to treat other diseases might, in fact, be able to treat his own illness. The Food and Drug Administration has approved Wood’s request to become his own guinea pig. He is working with a UT Southwestern Medical Center neurologist, using the technology he has created as treatment. He has become a one-man research trial.

Wood says, “I am my own experiment.”

When Wood was a child he worked in an electronic shop where he repaired televisions, irons, and vacuum cleaners. He says, “I had an insatiable curiosity about how things worked.” He graduated from Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas and earned a degree in physics from the University of Texas at Arlington. He then began a career at Texas Instruments, which led to his own scientific venture, which he sold in 2004.

During his spare time Wood built Jeeps and remodeled homes around his neighborhood. He would spend time in his garage trying to find ways to rapidly fold gases into liquids. He thought to himself, “It could help with waste-water treatment or ethanol production.”

At the time Wood didn’t realize it, but the machine he had created produced microscopic bubbles known as “nanobubbles”. Scientists say this kind of bubble should not exist, but inexplainably does. In the magazine New Scientist, an article states, “Nanobubbles should collapse before they can even form.” The magazine also says, “No one can say how they exist. So far, none of the proposed explanations quite has the ring of truth.”

Richard Watson chief science officer for Tacoma-based Revalesio, the firm that bought Wood’s company, says, “He’s such a visionary on a lot of fronts.”

Wood says, “I certainly did not start out wanting to find a nanobubble. All I wanted to do was put more oxygen in the water.” In 2007, Stanford University researchers discovered that oxygen-infused saline could produce steroid-like anti-inflammatory results. Revalesio’s Watson said, “We thought: If that’s true, all these inflammatory diseases should be beneficially affected.”

The oxygen-enriched saline, known as RNS60, shuts down the common thread of chemicals which crescendo toward destruction of the body’s central nervous system caused by diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

About a year ago, Wood noticed his hands beginning to curl and his left leg buckling. He is now diagnosed with ALS and on permanent disability. His wife, Janel Wood, says, “Some people may not get to this stage for years. Tony got to this stage in months.”

One night, two days after Christmas, Wood woke up so weak he couldn’t even get out of bed. He was rushed to the hospital and placed in intensive care, and Wood says he remembers having a vision. The message: You have work to do.

The doctors presented papers the couple were to sign with a “do not resuscitate” directive, should it come to that. “Is that what you want?” asked the doctors. Woods was unable to speak at this time and shook his head implying no. He spelled out the words, “I GOTTA TRY.”

While in ICU, Wood suggested doctors try using his technology RNS60 on him. Janel says, “They just listened politely.”

It is hard to measure the effects or signs of improvement from a one-person trial unless Wood’s disease stops completely. However, doctors say his symptoms have seemed to reach a plateau.

His wife says, “Yes, it would be best if he could walk and talk and move his arms, but inside, he’s still the same. Patents are happening all over the place, and he wants to be there. I’ve heard him say so many times that science is really about failure. Over and over you might fail, but that one time you really do solve the problem, then all the doors open up.”

Some might not understand the idea of pursuing failure as Wood does, yet you almost have to admire a man who has become his own test subject, with treatment based on an invention scientists say shouldn’t exist. Wood has said the whole experience has given him a deeper spiritual understanding of himself.

“I am much more than flesh and bones,” he has written. “I am an active, participating human, aware of being in service to others.”




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