Palladium Lipoic Complex: “Energy to Get the Job Done”
Anti-Aging Medicine Therapeutics, Vol. 8 (2006)


Senior Scientist & Clinical Research Administrator,
Garnett McKeen Laboratory, Inc.

Professor of Biology and Chairman,
St. Joseph’s College, New York

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Palladium Lipoic Acid Complex (PdLA) is the most active ingredient in a dietary supplement called POLY-MVA. In the palladium lipoic acid complex, the element palladium is covalently bound to the anti-oxidant alpha-lipoic acid. In addition to PdLA, the proprietary blend of POLY-MVA is formulated with minerals, vitamins and amino acids such as molybdenum, rhodium, ruthenium, thiamine, riboflavin, cyanocobalamin, acetyl cysteine, and formyl methionine (Garnett 1995, 1997, 1998). Dr. Merrill Garnett invented POLY-MVA. While Dr. Garnett was formally trained as a dentist, he has done substantial graduate work and research in biochemistry and electrochemistry over a period of 40 years. His inquiry and screening of thousands of organo-metallic compounds led to the discovery of the non-toxic POLY-MVA supplement. Basic science and anecdotal clinical data suggest POLY-MVA to have chemotherapeutic properties. Dr. Garnett believes that the regulation of charge transfer may form the basis for new methods of drug discovery and medical treatment.

In this overview, we would like to address some of the frequently asked questions and misconceptions regarding POLY-MVA that we encounter during our scientific presentations.

A number of people are under the impression that the supplement, POLY-MVA, is merely a cocktail of palladium, alpha-lipoic acid, thiamine, riboflavin, cyanocobalamin, formyl-methionine and acetyl-cysteine. This is not true. There is no free alpha-lipoic acid or free palladium in POLY-MVA. They are bound together (Garnett 1995, Krishnan and Garnett 2006). This compound was synthesized by Dr. Garnett to create a metallic bioorganic molecule that demonstrates enhanced fat and water-solubility. Furthermore, it is prepared in a unique fashion so it does not produce toxic products upon consumption. This is unlike many other chemotherapeutics, which breakdown, accumulate in tissue and eventually become toxic.



o The formulation has undergone extensive toxicology study (Calvert Laboratories, Inc; Pharmakon USA, Inc.). The toxicology was conducted both intravenously a nd orally with PdLA. Mice were administered doses of 5,000 mg/kg (a typical human dose is 20 mg/kg). No deaths or signs of organ damage occurred in the test animals. It was concluded that the LD50 of PdLA exceeds 5,000 mg/kg. The same independent lab conducted the Ames test and no mutagenic effects were observed.

o While platinum and palladium share many chemical properties, it appears that platinum coordination complexes are carcinogenic and genotoxic. There is no evidence of any mutagenic property for palladium(Bunger et al. 1996). In a study examining human lymphocytes, platinum demonstrated significant genotoxicity, likely mediated by oxidative damage, compared to palladium (Migliore et al. 2002). Furthermore, palladium demonstrated no genotoxicity in mammalian or bacterial cells when tested using the cytokinesis-block micronucleus test (MNT) or SOS chromotest, respectively (Gebel et al. 1997).

o Human Safety: A university Phase I (SAFETY) study of PdLA was completed. 13 research subjects received study compound (POLY-MVA 10 mL/day) for varying time periods. There were no reported SAEs (Severe Adverse Events) attributed to the product. Nine subjects experienced an AE (Adverse Event) during the study which was considered potentially related to the study compound, while five subjects had AEs which were either possibly or probably related to the study compound. The events which were possibly or probably related to the study compound included: fatigue after cessation of compound, diarrhea, worsening leg cramps, headache, increased urination, light-headedness, difficulty sleeping, increased excitement.

o Human Safety: Recently, a Phase I dose escalation (2 tsp., 4 tsp. and 8 tsp.) safety study in normal patients has been completed at a major research university, prior the initiation of an integrative cancer support protocol. Again, no SAEs were reported.



o This was our initial thought after our first transient global ischemia experiments with the PdLA complex in POLY-MVA (Antonawich et al. 2004). However, the electrochemistry data of Dr. Garnett and his colleagues demonstrate unique electronic properties for the palladiumlipoic acid complex (Garnett and Garnett 1996, Krishnan and Garnett 2006). After our initial ischemia research findings, we sent some POLYMVA to Brunswick Labs, Inc. (Wareham, MA) for an ORAC analysis. An ORAC assay measures the oxygen radical absorbance capacity of a compound as compared to Trolox (vitamin E). The table below demonstrates the potent anti-oxidant capacity of POLY-MVA (expressed as Trolox equivalent per gram): The data in parenthesis are the real experimental values and the other data are normalized values with respect to the vitamin E standard.

Vitamin A = 1.6 (2,800)

Vitamin C = 1.12 (1,890)

Vitamin E = 1.0 (1,700)

Melatonin = 2.04 (3,468)

a-lipoic acid = 1.4 (2,400)

POLY-MVA = 5.65 (9,605)




o While POLY-MVA does indeed have the ability to be a highly effective free radical scavenger, its ability to donate electrons to the mitochondria of the cell is critical in explaining its dramatic benefits (Antonawich et al. 2004, 2006). Anecdotal clinical evidence of the reports of additional energy, led to our early hypotheses regarding its possible benefits in stroke and ischemia. Following an interruption of blood flow to any tissue, in our particular case the brain, there is deprivation of oxygen and glucose. Providing an alternative energy source can maintain the integrity of the electron transport chain within the mitochondria (Antonawich et al. 2006).

o The PdLA complex was demonstrated, by Dr. Garnett, to shuttle electrons to oxidized DNA. However, this process does not appear to proceed directly to DNA. By conducting a competition assay with alpha-lipoic acid, which works at complex I of the mitochondria as a cofactor while pyruvate is converted to acetyl CoA, one can attenuate the beneficial effects of POLY-MVA (Antonawich et al. 2004; Garnett McKeen Laboratory, Inc. 2007). This is critical since mitochondrial health is a major concern during myocardial and cerebral ischemia. By providing this alternative energy source, the electron transport chain components do not readily dissociate (coenzyme Q-10 = ubiquinone; cytochrome C). Therefore, in a normal cell, it provides an energy boost, while it serves as a supplement to energydeficient ischemic cells.

o Since lipoic acid and thiamine are cofactors early in the aerobic cascade, they appear to direct the PdLA complex’s energy benefits to the mitochondria. A recently conducted study by Sudheesh, Ajith, Janardhanan and Krishnan (2009) examined the age-related decline of mitochondrial enzyme activity and respiratory chain complexes in rat hearts. Aged animals orally administered 0.05mL/kg PdLA (equivalent human dose of approximately ½ tsp.) had significantly enhanced Krebs Cycle activity (i.e. enhanced isocitrate dehydrogenase, a-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase, succinate dehydrogenase and malate dehydrogenase activity). This PdLA-induced activity improvement was also significant at Complexes I & II of the electron transport chain. Thus, it appears that PdLA has the ability to shuttle energy to the aerobic respiration cascade to augment the generation of high energy intermediate molecules within the Krebs cycle, as well as, directly boost the oxidative phosphorylation pathway responsible for the generation of ATP.

o Furthermore, these basic science findings also translate to clinical cellular energy markers. In a recent pilot observation, 5 fatigued aged canines, in remission from cancer, were orally administered 0.022mL/kg (2 drops per 10 lb.) PdLA for two weeks. The PdLA supplement demonstrated elevated mitochondrial metabolite levels (Genova Laboratory, Inc.), with 41 out of 45 of the parameters demonstrating a cellular energy improvement. This pilot has been developed into a multi-center randomized double blind placebo controlled crossover study.




o Since POLY-MVA is a highly efficient redox molecule, normal daily recommended values of vitamins have not been of consequence in our laboratory studies. However, excessive doses of anti-oxidants may attenuate its benefits. As mentioned above, administration of alpha-lipoic acid in our competition assay hindered the redox benefits of POLY-MVA (Antonawich, et al., 2004; Garnett McKeen Laboratory, Inc. 2007). However, alpha-lipoic acid alone offers only a fraction of the ischemic protection offered by POLY-MVA. In recent energy studies, 13x more alpha-lipoic acid was necessary to obtain the same cellular energy benefits attributed to PdLA complex (Janardhanan et al., 2008).




o This formulation was studied independently at Calvert Laboratories, Inc. to determine its’ effectiveness in halting the growth of glioblastoma cells in vivo. Four groups were given daily intravenous (IV) doses of this formulation or placebo; four groups were given intraperitoneal doses of 0.5, 1.0 or 2.0 mg per mouse for a total of four weeks. Tumor volume was measured throughout the study. Compared to the controls that received no formulation, mice receiving the test material orally or intravenously at 0.5, 1.0 or 2.0 mg had a significantly reduced growth of the glioblastoma (50% or greater reduction in tumor size).

o Dr. Frank Antonawich’s university studies examined the chemotherapeutic effects of POLY-MVA on brain and breast tumor cell lines. We were investigating the relationship between the degree of anaplasia of malignant cells and effectiveness of the PdLA complex. Metabolic dysfunction, related to hypoxia and subsequent adaptive gene responses, renders some cells resistant to traditional chemotherapeutics but sensitive to the metabolic modulation of PdLA.

o Our ischemia studies in animals demonstrated that acute, post-ischemic and prophylactic administration of POLY-MVA limits ischemic damage. This appears to be a result of its ability to stabilize the mitochondria by providing energy to the electron transport chain, as well as, quenching free radicals generated as a result of reperfusion (Antonawich et al. 2004).





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o Veterinary - The largest integrative cancer investigation of PdLA was an open-label, veterinary oncology program with over 900 dogs enrolled, since its inception in January 2004. Patients received the PdLA supplement POLY-MVA as part of their chemotherapy, radiation and/or surgical protocol at a dosage of 1mL/5 lbs. P.O. twice daily (equivalent human dose of approximately 8 tsp.). The PdLA seemed most effective in the cases of solid tumors (i.e. soft tissue sarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, mast cell, transition cell carcinoma, lung, anal sac carcinoma, renal carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, fibrosarcoma, melanoma, menigioma, neuroblastoma, mammary adenocarcinoma). Some of the most effective findings were apparent in the osteosarcoma patients. The etiology of osteosarcoma in large dogs is considered identical to the disease progression in humans. While in canines the “standard of care” is limb amputation followed by chemotherapy, in human patients, limb– sparing surgery following tumor excision is performed (Ogilvie and Moore, 2006). In this open labeled study, integrative PdLA support (PdLA + amputation) improved the animals’ median survival time 62% (103 days more) compared to surgery alone (n= 11 and 162, respectively). When the PdLA supplement was added to the chemotherapeutic regimen (carboplatin + doxorubicin) the dogs exhibited a 27% longer median survival (79 days more) (n= 32 amputation with chemotherapy; n= 17 amputation + chemotherapy + Poly MVA). Furthermore, there was no significant difference (p=0.30) in median survival time between dogs treated with amputation + Poly MVA versus those that were treated with amputation + the “standard of care” chemotherapy.

o Veterinary – It is important to note that following PdLA complementary support, chemotherapeutic animals’ demonstrated improvements in various objective parameters (i.e. weight, anemia, liver and kidney function). In addition to these enhanced clinical parameters, a subjective owner quality of life survey resulted in an 86% improvement following the addition of PdLA adjunctive support.

o Human – An outcome-based study of stage IV cancer patients began in January 2004. Over 225 stage IV patients were in this observational cohort, with prostate, breast and lung cancer being the best responders. The typical oral dosage used was 40 mL or 8 teaspoons per day.

o Human – Recently, a major research university completed a dose escalation safety study and kinetics profile of the Palladium Lipoic Acid formulation (Poly MVA) in preparation for a formal glioblastoma program. This was an IRB approved study, which was monitored by a DSMB (Data Safety and Monitoring Board), as well as, being granted an IND from the FDA.




Is POLY-MVA’s proposed mechanism of action directly related to its structural formulation? POLY-MVA’s unique electronic and redox properties appear to be the key to its physiological effectiveness. When glucose enters a cell, it is broken down under anaerobic conditions (absence of oxygen) into pyruvate. Pyruvate subsequently enters the mitochondria, via complex I, and is quickly oxidized, in the presence of alpha-lipoic acid, to acetyl-CoA. In aerobic respiration, acetyl-CoA is then channeled into the Krebs/Citric Acid Cycle to create the reduced forms of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FADH2). NADH and FADH2 donate their electrons to the electron transport chain to make the high energy molecule ATP. Recent studies in India (Sudheesh et al., 2009) have demonstrated Palladium Lipoic Acid Complex’s ability ton facilitate aerobic metabolism, which is responsible for ATP production in healthy cells. The energy needs of the body are supplied by splitting ATP into adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and a free phosphate (Griffin et al. 2006). Studies have demonstrated that POLY-MVA provides electrons to DNA, via the mitochondria.

Electrons are lost in normal cells as a result of oxidative damage from radiation and chemotherapy (Garnett and Garnett 1996). POLY-MVA electron transfer provides an additional energy source to normal cells. However, cancer cells are metabolically challenged, and function in a hypoxic environment. Since there is less oxygen and more free electrons in the cancer cell, generation of free radicals occurs at the tumor mitochondrial membrane (Antonawich et al. 2004). This activates apoptosis by facilitating the release of cytochrome C from the inner mitochondrial membrane, allowing the formation of an apoptotic complex in the cytoplasm. This complex, results in the subsequent activation of the caspase cascade of enzymes that destroy the malignant cells. At significantly higher concentrations of POLY-MVA necrosis becomes apparent in the malignant cell. Given that normal cells are richly oxygenated, POLYMVA is nontoxic to them and they actually benefit from the energy boost (Antonawich et. al 2006).

Additional findings have examined the role of PdLA complex and a malignant cell’s ability to physiologically adapt to a hypoxic environment. These physiological changes appear to be mediated by a molecule called HIF -1 (hypoxia inducible factor-1), which increases in hypoxic conditions to promote an increase in (Brown et al. 2006; Paul et al. 2004): Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) - a promoter of angiogenesis; Glucose Transport 1 (GLUT1) and glycolytic enzymes – critical components in anaerobic respiration; and Erythropoietin (EPO) – responsible for the differentiation of red blood cells) (Bacon et al 2004; Weinmann et al. 2004). POLYMVA appears to decrease the production of HIF -1 thus restricting the ability of the cells to adapt to its environment and subsequently making it more vulnerable to the apoptotic cell death discussed above.




POLY-MVA appears to be a selective metabolic modulator. Since it is a potent redox molecule, it has the ability to provide an alternative energy source to cells. While this is certainly of benefit to both normal and ischemic cells, based on their metabolic dysfunction it is detrimental to malignant cells .



Antonawich, F.J., Welicky,L.M., Fiore, S.M. (2004) Regulation of Ischemic Cell Death using the Lipoic Acid Palladium Complex, POLY-MVA. Society for Neuroscience, Abstract # 379.3.

Antonawich, F.J., Fiore, S.M., Welicky, L.M. (2004) Regulation of Ischemic Cell Death by the Lipoic Acid-Palladium Complex, POLY-MVA, in Gerbils. Experimental Neurology 189(1): 10-15.

Antonawich, F.J. (2005a) Poly MVA Induced Regulation of Cell Death in Cancer and Stroke. XII International Congress on Anti-Aging Medicine , Chicago, IL.

Antonawich, F.J. (2005b) A Combination of Antioxidant Activity and an Alternative Energy Source is an Effective Anti-Ischemic Strategy, XIII International Congress on Anti-Aging Medicine , Las Vegas, NV.

Antonawich, F.J., Welicky, L.M. (2006) Ischemic Neuroprotection following Delayed Administration of the Lipoic Acid-Palladium Complex, POLY-MVA. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, (submitted).

Bacon AL, Harris AL. (2004) Hypoxia-inducible factors and hypoxic cell death in tumor physiology. Annals of Medicine; 36:530-9.

Brown JM, Wilson WR. (2006) Exploiting tumor hypoxia in cancer treatment. Nature Reviews: Cancer; 4:437-47.

Bunger, J, Stork, J, Stalder, K. (1996) Cyto - and genotoxic effects of coordination complexes of platinum, palladium and rhodium in vitro. Int. Arch. Occup. Environ. Health; 69(1):33-38.

Garnett, M. (1995) Palladium Complexes a nd Methods for Using Same in the Treatment of Tumors and Psoriasis, U.S.Patent, No. 5,463,093, Oct.31.

Garnett M. (1995) Synthetic DNA reductase. Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry; 59:C48.

Garnett, W. A and Garnett, M. (1996) Charge relay from molybdate oxyradicals to palladium-lipoic complex to DNA. Conference on Oxygen Intermediates in Nonheme

Metallobiochemistry June(Minneapolis,MN). Garnett, M. (1997) Palladium Complexes and Methods for Using same in the Treatment of Tumors, U.S.Patent, No. 5,679,697, Oct.21.

Garnett, M. (1998) Palladium Complexes and Methods for Using same in the Treatment of Psoriasis, U.S.Patent, No. 5,776,973, July7.

Gebel, T., Lantzsch, H., Plessow, K., Dunkelberg, H. (1997) Genotoxicity of platinum and palladium compounds in human and bacterial cells. Mutat. Res. 389(2-3):183-190.

Griffin JL, Shockcor JP. (2006) Metabolic profiles of cancer cells. Nature Reviews: Cancer; 4:551-61.

Krishnan, C.V., Garnett, M. (2006) Liquid crystal behavior in solutions, electrode passivation, and impedance loci in four quadrants, in “Passivation of Metals and

Semiconductors, and Properties of Thin Oxide Layers”, P.Marcus and V. Maurice (Editors), Elsevier, Amsterdam, p 389-394.

Migliore, L., Frenzilli,G., Nesti, C., Fortaner, S., Sabbioni, E. (2002) Cytogenetic and oxidative damage induced in human lymphocytes by platinum, rhodium and palladium compounds. Mutagenesis; 17(5):411-417.

Paul SA, Simons JW, Mabjeesh NJ. (2004) HIF at the crossroads between ischemia and carcinogenesis. Journal of Cellular Physiology; 200:20-30.

Stahl SS. (2005) Palladium -Catalyzed Oxidation of Organic Chemicals with O2. Science; 309:1824-6.

Sudheesh, N.P., Ajith, T.A., Janardhanan, K.K. and Krishnan C.V. (2009) Palladium alpha - lipoic acid complex formulation enhances activities of Krebs cycle dehydrogenases and respiratory complexes I-IV in the heart of aged rats. Food and Chemical Toxicology 47: 2124–2128.

Weinmann M, Belka C, Plasswilm L. (2004) Tumour Hypoxia: impact on biology, prognosis and treatment of solid malignant tumours. Onkologie; 27:83-90.


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