The Telomere Effect.
Do you know Elizabeth Parrish?
lizabeth Parrish is CEO of BioViva, a Seattle-based biotech company working to develop treatments to slow the aging process. In April, the company revealed that Parrish herself had undergone “the first gene therapy successful against human aging”. The treatment, it claimed, had reversed the biological age of her immune cells by 20 years.
In September 2015, Parrish, then 44, flew to Colombia to receive two experimental gene therapies. One was a myostatin inhibitor, a drug that is being tested as a treatment for muscle loss. The other was a telomerase gene therapy – the drug that BioViva claims has reversed her cells’ biological age, by lengthening parts of her genetic material called telomeres.
Genes are held in twisted molecules of DNA called chromosomes. At the ends of these chromosomes are stretches of DNA called telomeres. Telomeres protect the important genetic material from damage that can lead to disease-causing malfunction or cell death. Telomeres also allow the cell and its DNA to divide, but as cells divide a portion of the telomeres is lost until, after a finite number of divisions, the cell dies, a process that might contribute to the human ageing process.
Telomeres shorten only a little at each cell division.
And when it becomes shorter than a certain length, the cell can no longer divide. This is aging.
Telomeres are not only shortened with age, but also due to stress, smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, unhealthy eating habits, and the like.
The length of telomeres represents biological youth. The decline in immunity with age is also related to telomere length.
Although not as effective as the injection, an enzyme called telomerase is greatly involved in telomeres, making it possible to delay or stop shortening.
Recent research has also made it possible to lengthen telomeres.
The activation of telomerase has made it possible to:・ Identify the short part of the telomere, repair the length of the telomere, and delay the shortening.
-This again triggers cell division and activates the cell itself.
-It is possible to keep the length of the telomeres or to make them longer.
Telomerase is in the human body and its amount decreases with age. However, when a human cell is exposed to the telomerase enzyme, the cell slows down and begins to divide again. Longer telomeres change the expression of genes in cell division to younger forms, resulting in younger cell functions.
The 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is presented to telomere researchers who have discovered telomerase, and there are high expectations for further development of telomere research.
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