Over all the years I have been talking about telomeres, telomerase and life extension, I have had to listen to an endless sewing circle of people, some of them famous tell everyone that telomerase therapy increases the risk of cancer.
I have repeatedly said it does not and explained why but hey I am no Nobel laureate. The concept of shorter telomeres increasing cancer has always made more sense to me especially in the context of aging.
After all 95+% of cancers happen to people over the age of 55.
Genomic instability is the key and missing the check point that removes cells from circulation is telomerase and telomere dependent. Far from increasing the risk of cancer I have always felt that if anything better, longer telomeres and a more active repair system (telomerase) will reduce or at least not increase the risk of cancer.
A healthier immune system goes a long way to fighting of incipient cancers.
But my voice often fell on deaf ears as it has with Omega 3 topics and the like.
Now, my favorite telomere scientist Maria Blasco, she who proved increasing telomere length increases overall life span not just maximizing it like calorie restriction has just release a study showing that telomerase therapy, specifically gene-based telomerase therapy, the kind you would think would be the worst offender for cancer, does not increase the risk EVEN IN cancer prone mice.
Finally the way is clear to start using telomerase-based therapies for diseases that have no cure such as Alzheimer’s the way my friend and co-author Mike Fossel is doing.
And it’s about time.
I have always told and sometimes begged you to “Take Care of Your Telomeres!”
Now there is no excuse*
*The next BS theory I hope we can disprove is that of antagonistic pleiotropy which postulates that some genes (now epigenes since no one could find any culprit genes) are good for you when you are young and bad for you when you are older. No such genes have ever been found although plenty of alleles and SNPs may accelerate disease, none have been shown to directly accelerate disease. Wisely those scientists who had egg on their faces rushed to say, “OK well it must be epigenes then.” No Shxt!!! Aging is an epigenetic phenomenon.
Reference:Miguel A. Muñoz-Lorente, Paula Martínez, Águeda Tejera, Kurt Whittemore, Ana Carolina Moisés-Silva, Fàtima Bosch, Maria A. Blasco. AAV9-mediated telomerase activation does not accelerate tumorigenesis in the context of oncogenic K-Ras-induced lung cancer. PLOS Genetics, 2018; 14 (8): e1007562 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007562