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Telomeres and Drugs and Big Pharma

ScientistHeart disease has one of the longest standing associations with short telomeres.

Recently a similar association was established for strokes (thrombotic ((clot) and hemorrhagic (bleeding)).

The limitations of these studies in terms of direct correlation are that they are not using modern technology to determine the shortest telomere lengths or percentage.  They are still using out-moded technology known as PCR. Interestingly, one of the main champions of this technology is a lab here in the U.S.  It’s up for sale now if you have a few spare millions!

Then again, if you have few spare millions, you’d be way better off investing in Life Length, which uses patented proprietary technology to measure not only average telomere length but the percentage of critically short telomeres – the ones that actually cause aging and disease!

As illness after illness in the category we call disease of aging (heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, etc) is linked closer and closer to telomere shortening it should also come as no surprise that Big Pharma is circling the wagon, waiting for someone small to take the risk, develop the product and then swoop in and capitalize on someone’s sweat, equity and intellectual property.

But don’t trademarks and patents protect you?  Only if you have the money to defend them.  Ask me how I know!

If you’ve even been involved in a lawsuit, you know that being right or guilty often comes down to how much you can pay the legal team. With a budget in the double-digit billions, would you want to take on Big Pharma?

So what are they up to in the telomere field?

Well, the first thing will be using technology like short telomere testing to define what drugs are “good for you”.  The better part of this role is that one can also look at certain groups of people, classify their telomeres and determine whether or not certain drugs are likely to be beneficial for them.

The preliminary work has already been done for statin drugs and it turns out that among people with heart disease it looks like those with the shortest telomeres benefit most from statin drugs – although statins do not lengthen telomeres.

Also, predictably, the effects of statins, which on the telomeres are the same as antioxidants and fish oil, are now beginning to be talked about as “anti-aging” drugs in traditional allopathic (doctors with MD and DO behind their names).

I can’t help but laugh at this because it reminds me of what I call the “Testosterone scenario”.

Fifteen years ago, if you helped treat your patients with congestive heart failure, diabetes or osteoporosis, or simply age-related declines in testosterone, you would have been called a quack or out of your mind.

Again, ask me how I know!

Now you see TV commercials asking, “Is it low T?!”  And while you are listening to those commercials, listen to the relatively short and relatively benign list of side effects compared to the other drugs Big Pharma is hawking on TV! So quackery becomes safe and effective therapy.

Likewise, don’t be surprised if you soon see the words “anti-aging” become part of the regular doctor vocabulary and statins touted as anti-aging drugs. Once Big Pharma says it’s OK, it’s OK.

Never before and if you are 15 years ahead of Big Pharma and now you are “correct” no one comes up to you and says,  “Hey, I take those quack remarks back!”

Now for the real question – what will they leave out?

1)      A thundering herd of people will not benefit from statins. Why do you think there have been hundreds of millions of dollars spent on proving that statins work in trials like JUPITER ((Justification for the Use of Statins in Primary Prevention: An Intervention Trial Evaluating Rosuvastatin trial). We are still trying to justify their use and cost even though heart disease is an inflammatory illness. Even JUPITER states the many effects of statins are NOT related to cholesterol lowering.  Talk about the world’s most expensive antioxidant!

2)      Not all statins are the same and only one has been tested in this way.

3)      By keeping one’s telomeres long and adding in the right dose of Fish Oil, you might delay heart disease and other illnesses that are associated with aging.

4)      What about drugs that shorten telomeres? Do you think you will find out about that? Only if that drug is already on the chopping block and there is a replacement ready and waiting that can make up the profit margin.

And while everyone is hunting for the big drug pay day, there is a little-known nutraceutical that has human safety and efficacy trials and has been shown to turn on telomerase and lengthen critically short telomeres.

It is called TA-65.

I somehow doubt Big Pharma will tell you about that either until they own it.

Doc

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