In the very beginning of our book The Immortality Edge, in my forward, I quote Neil Armstong: “One small step for many, one giant step for mankind,” rendering my opinion on the importance of telomerase therapy and telomere science.
That opinion is passing from an opinion to fact.
This past week saw several major releases in the anti-aging field. I will get into detail about them in a moment, but I want to remind you about something critical that is also beginning to change. Last year, I had the great fortune of standing in front of interested people at David Wolfe’s Longevity Now Conference and teaching them about Omega3’s, telomeres, epigenetics and other, soon-to-be timely topics.
Every single one of those heretofore unknown areas has been in the news lately. In addition, Suzanne Somers’ book Bombshell came out last week and spent 21 pages on topics we wrote an entire book on in 2010: telomeres, telomerase and TA-65. This was a huge step, because now a popular author is writing about my field — something that has never really happened before.
OK, the BIG BANG study of the year is Dr Blasco’s latest study and it is gigantic for several reasons.
First, it uses telomerase therapy and markedly extends the life spans of adult mice (24% longer lived) and old, old mice (14% longer lived) with a single (yep, that is one time) injection of telomerase therapy. Next, it uses viral transfection, to insert the telomerase gene, a method that had heretofore, increased the risk of cancer. Now, it can be done with no risk of increasing cancer. I hope these silence the critics of telomerase therapy once and for all. For years, they have been hiding behind the misconception that telomerase “causes cancer”. I suspect many of them knew it does not, all along, but it made a fast, easy and scary argument against using telomerase.
At least now we will be treated to the real reasons why people fight it: “We aren’t supposed to live forever, Doc!” OK, your choice – you don’t get any, how’s that?!
It is important to note that the mice were allowed to accumulate the damage of aging to adult and old age, before they were treated. Then, when they were already “damaged by aging” they were treated and got better!
Next critics will say: “But it did not create immortal mice.” First off, who would want to! Next, mice do not age by telomere degradation and telomerase lack, alone. If we were to estimate “how much” mouse aging is dependent on telomeres, it would probably be around 50% or less. This suggests that when we develop said therapies for people, it may have more startling results. Sign me up!
Of course, there is little impetus to develop an anti-aging shot, among Big Pharma and the government, but I can guarantee you this. They will be first in line when it is approved!
For now, we are “stuck” with a safe effective alternative, TA-65. And yes, there will be more and more studies on this as well, but just in case you missed it, Dr Blasco was able to demonstrate significant life span lengthening (and yes, health span as well) with no increase in cancer with her mice on TA-65, as well.
For the past 2 years, since the publication of our book The Immortality Edge, I have had to listen to people criticize what we wrote, as being speculative and unproven. I challenged each critic to come back and write their concerns again, in a year or two, because they would all be answered. No one did, but one guy wrote, “Hey Doc, what do you think?! You think you know something the rest of the world doesn’t?”
In this case, I might!
But, there is so much more to learn and I do love this stuff. Stay tuned and I’ll do my best to translate it into English for you.
P.S. Of lesser note this week, a very interesting study came out looking to identify “SNPs” Single Nucleotide Substitutions or (P) polymorphisms in identical twins. This was pretty cool, because it might identify some of the reason one twin (or on a broader sense , why someone) is more “disease prone” than the other. They definitively need to do epigenetic mapping and short telomere testing on the twins as well!
Telomerase gene therapy in adult and old mice delays aging and increases longevity without increasing cancer
Bruno Bernardes de Jesus1, Elsa Vera1, Kerstin Schneeberger1, Agueda M. Tejera1, Eduard Ayuso2,3,
Fatima Bosch2,3, Maria A. Blasco1*
Keywords: AAV9; aging; gene therapy; health span; TERT
Received February 22, 2012
Revised March 29, 2012
Accepted March 30, 2012