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Why Anti-Aging Could Breed the Next Batch of Billionaires By Patrick Cox January 6, 2011 Dear Penny Sleuther, If you`ve been a long-time reader, you may be familiar with the work being done by scientists who are trying to increase telomerase production.
Telomerase is often called “the immortalizing enzyme” because cells with the telomerase gene fully activated do not age.
There is no publicly traded company doing real telomerase gene activation research now. Moreover, there is no guarantee that those who are working in this area will accomplish their goals of stopping or reversing the cellular aging process.
This is, however, an area that transformational investors should be aware of because the impact of success would be so great it would affect almost every part of your portfolio.
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This is analogous to current work in small-scale nuclear fusion. We don`t know if the people who are working on these fusion devices will succeed, despite very positive indications. If they did, however, energy costs would plummet and the whole world would change.
Consider this a heads-up.
The journal Nature recently published an article showing that telomerase reverses the aging process in mice genetically engineered to lack the enzyme. The study was carried out by scientists at the Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science and various departments of Harvard Medical School.
Let me explain the purpose of the study by quoting the source. This is a little technical, but it is worth reading carefully:
An aging world population has fueled interest in regenerative remedies that may stem declining organ function and maintain fitness. Unanswered is whether elimination of intrinsic instigators driving age-associated degeneration can reverse, as opposed to simply arrest, various afflictions of the aged.
To find out if these dramatic effects are reversible, Dr. Ronald DePinho`s team engineered mice with the telomerase inactivated in such a way that it could be turned back on by feeding them the chemical 4-OHT. The researchers allowed the mice to grow to old age without the enzyme, and then reactivated it for a month.
Nature News reports the following: “What really caught us by surprise was the dramatic reversal of the effects we saw in these animals,” says DePinho. He describes the outcome as “a near `Ponce de Leon` effect” a reference to the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, who went in search of the mythical Fountain of Youth. The animals regained their fertility. Other organs, such as the spleen, liver and intestines, recuperated from their degenerated state.
The one-month pulse of telomerase also reversed effects of ageing in the brain. Mice with restored telomerase activity had noticeably larger brains than animals still lacking the enzyme, and neural progenitor cells, which produce new neurons and supporting brain cells, started working again.
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“It gives us a sense that there`s a point of return for age-associated disorders,” says DePinho. “Drugs that ramp up telomerase activity are worth pursuing as a potential treatment for rare disorders characterized by premature ageing,” he says, “and perhaps even for more common age- related conditions.” Over the past decade one company, Sierra Sciences, has been working on finding more potent telomerase-activating compounds. Laboratory tests reveal that several of these molecules have 100 times the potency of TA- 65. These, however, are man-made molecules and would require many tens of millions to acquire regulatory approval.
Currently, the company is looking at naturally occurring substances because they would be easier to bring to market than a man-made drug.
Founder William Andrews said that in the hundreds of thousands of molecules cataloged throughout the world, he can find what he is looking for. Until more powerful telomerase activators are found, we cannot know with 100% certainty that they exist. The financial implications of success at extending health spans through regenerative medicine, however, would be unfathomable. Time is the one product for which there is unlimited demand.
Unfortunately, the economic downturn has hit Sierra Sciences hard. They have discovered various natural compounds that increase telomerase production, but it is not yet clear if they will increase telomere lengths.
Andrews has teamed up with natural mineral, herb and botanical expert John Anderson, the founder of Isagenix, to screen natural products.
Anderson owns rights for many natural substances and is providing Sierra Science with molecules that are “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS).
Andrews`s strategy for telomere lengthening, however, is not the only approach. A number of companies that I closely follow are also beginning to look at ways of increasing telomerase production. They have numerous recently developed tools at their disposal, including genetic engineering and DNA vaccines. If anyone succeeds, you`ll hear about it. I just didn`t want you to be taken completely by surprise.
Yours for transformational profits, Patrick Cox P.S.: While telomerase gene activation research isn`t currently investible, I have alerted my Breakthrough Technology Alert readers to some tiny publicly traded firms that are currently developing transformational technologies.
And I`m predicting that 5 events could make their investors substantially richer in the next year learn why.
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