Wednesday, December 13, 2006


A discussion on telomerase, the cell immortalizing enzymeThursday, September 21. 2006
Definition, Open Comments Thread
Telomeres are bits of genetic material that cap the ends of chromosomes. Each time a cell divides, these telomeres get shorter until finally they are so short that damage begins to happen to the "interior" DNA or chromosomes start to stick to one another on the ends. The number of times a cell divides before going into this decline is called the "Hayflick limit."

Telomerase is a naturally-occurring enzyme which re-lengthens telomeres. It is present in high concentrations in the fast-growing embryo's stem cells, and declines with age. Most cancer cells are able to divide well beyond the Hayflick limit and become tumors because they re-activate telomerase.

Many companies are working on both the cancer connection and the cellular rejuvenation connection. (See the blog entry below for our list of companies doing telomerase work)

There are many definitions of telomeres and telomerase on the web, and has one of the better ones. (search using the keyword telomerase)

Please leave your comments here (in any language you like) on your interest in telomerase.

Posted by Andrew Straw at 13:09 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, July 21. 2006
Poor have shorter telomeres than the rich.
Reuters came out with an article recently on how poor people have shorter telomeres than rich people, and that this was strongly correlated with lifespan.

It is worth taking a look at that article. Unfortunately there was no mention of telomerase as a means to lengthen telomeres that had shortened. As we know, Geron is testing a compound in China that activates telomerase.

Might be worth contacting Reuters and suggesting that they write about telomerase.

Posted by Andrew Straw at 14:13 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, April 22. 2006
Investing Games For the Very Old
Wanna be a multi-millionaire? The key is living to be very old.

For instance, let's assume that the stock market averages about 10% growth per year. Not an unreasonable assumption over a long period of time.

Now, in order to fully take advantage of the magic of compound interest, one has to invest something. For purposes of this game, let's put aside $150. Most people can come up with $150 in a year's time, even those on a low income.

Finally, let's assume that this investment will be for 150 years. Currently, nobody lives that long, but if we start living that long through anti-aging therapies being developed today, we will see the result of our little investing game.

$150 at 10% interest over 150 years yields a return of over $242 million dollars. Given an inflation rate of 3.5% average over 150 years, one would only expect the $150 to grow to $26,000, so $242 million is truly incredible.

Perhaps this should be a lesson for us. Putting aside any money today yields huge returns in the long run. One can easily go into the bank with, say, $500 and set up a trust for your great-great-great-great-great grandchildren. If each generation has two kids, there will be 32 people sharing your $800 million or so 150 years from now. What a nice gift. I bet you didn't know you could be a philanthropist on today's minimum wage!

Posted by Andrew Straw at 14:17 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, March 22. 2006
Telomerase Companies
There has been some serious fighting regarding patents for telomerase-based therapies. One can only expect that this will continue. Geron seems to be in a dominant position regarding telomerase, at least so they claim. At present, these are the companies has heard are doing telomerase-based work:

A. Geron,

B. Phoenix Biomolecular,

C. Telomolecular,

D. Sierra Sciences,

E. Pharmexa (Denmark),

If you are aware of any others, please leave a comment or drop me an email at

Posted by Andrew Straw in Companies at 19:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Inhibiting Telomerase? Maybe we should think twice.
Today I was reading an abstract at on how inhibiting telomerase may cause early onset of old-age related diseases such as osteoporosis. Going after telomerase is something we should be very careful about. Imagine conquering cancer only to increase the likelihood of heart disease or Alzheimer's. Medical science should be fully aware of the consequences of such long-term effects before launching on a crusade.
Posted by Andrew Straw in General Discussion at 19:11 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, March 13. 2006
Certain Metals Modulate Telomerase
Way back in 2000, a study was done in Japan to demonstrate how different metals--notably Zinc, Copper, and Cadmium--could increase telomerase in cancer cells. And chelating those metals out reduced the telomerase levels in the cancer cells.

Posted by Andrew Straw in General Discussion at 11:46 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (3)
PKC, Telomerase, Cancer, and Bipolar Disorder
After doing a little rummaging on the site, I found that PKC promotes telomerase's "up-regulation" in several types of cancer cells. The cancer drug tamoxifen dramatically reduces PKC's effectiveness and hence telomerase's ability to assist cancer cells.

Oddly enough, PKC is also implicated in bipolar disorder. Abnormal levels of PKC are associated with mania. Both Lithium and Valproate (VPA) control the PKC problem and, after several weeks of use, mania is usually under control. In the link above, it was found that the cancer drug tamoxifen controlled mania in a number of bipolar patients.

One wonders if Lithium or Valproate could therefore be used as an anti-cancer drug. Maybe not Lithium, as it tends to be toxic outside a very narrow band, but perhaps Valproate? Something to think about.

It would be interesting to know if PKC's ability to induce telomerase has anything to do with mania, or if this is another process entirely. I couldn't find any articles at all when I did a search on "telomerase and bipolar."
Posted by Andrew Straw in General Discussion at 10:51 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, March 12. 2006
Favorite Research Sites: and
The National Library of Medicine has an online research tool,, which you can use to find abstracts of research on telomerase. Run a search with telomerase and cancer as the keywords and you will find literally hundreds of studies. Same is true of an "aging and telomerase" search. Lots of studies on rejuvenating tissue.

Another site is the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, online at and available for "telomerase" patent-pending searches.

Do a little research these sites and see what articles and patents you like best. Come back here and tell us about why you think that article is interesting.

Posted by Andrew Straw in General Discussion at 12:00 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
If you would like to contact the administrator of the blog, please feel free to use MSN Messenger. You can often find me online during the day New Zealand time.

MSN Address:

See you online!

Posted by Andrew Straw in General Discussion at 10:22 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (3)
Tuesday, February 28. 2006
Telomerase Therapy Does Not Cause Cancer!
It was just announced that telomerase-based therapies do not cause tumors to grow in human tissues. This is an extremely important discovery which opens the door to using telomerase to treat many other tissue types and do in vivo tests of telomerase-based therapies.

Posted by Andrew Straw in Research at 13:33 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, February 7. 2006
Anti-aging Therapies: Ethical or Not?
It may seem obvious to many of us that any new treatment for old-age diseases is desirable, but once you start calling those same treatments "anti-aging therapies" some get all bent out of shape.

My question to's readers is quite simple: are treatments designed to reverse aging and extend lifespan ethical or not? And even if they are ethical (or even imperative) in your opinion, what sorts of issues will society face when millions of people can live hundreds or even thousands of years?

Posted by Andrew Straw in General Discussion at 10:49 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, February 6. 2006
Contacting the people who discovered telomerase.
Telomerase was discovered by Elizabeth Blackburn and Carol Greider. If you have questions about their original work on the Tetrahymena or their current research, I suggest you contact them. They are the heroes of the telomerase community.
Posted by Andrew Straw in Links at 13:35 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
A supporter has a plethora of interesting information and links which I think you should peruse. Here's the link:
Posted by Andrew Straw in Links at 12:45 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (7)
Welcome to the discussion, where we discuss the latest developments in telomerase technology, news, and events. I hope you visit often and provide your own insights in our forum.

If you are not as familiar with telomerase, offers an excellent explanation of this "cellular immortalizing" enzyme.

Kind regards,

Andrew Straw
February 2006

P.S. Advertising supports this site and will allow us to do more in the future. If you have a product, book, or service you would like to advertise here, please email If you are a researcher working on telomerase and would like to advertise your lab, you are welcome to leave a free comment or alternatively purchase a banner ad, which would be more visible. Contact the email above.

P.P.S. We like links to -- please provide a link to us (and let us know you are doing so) from your website and send us yours if you have a site interested in telomerase.

Posted by Andrew Straw in Announcements at 11:17
Wednesday, January 11. 2006
The Secret to Immortality?
Ponce De Leon sought the fountain of youth in Florida hundreds of years ago, and ever since the story of Gilgamesh thousands of years ago people have sought the secret to immortality.

Have we found the answer to this secret?

Dr. Michael Fossel of Michigan State University seems to think so. He has stated that telomerase, an enzyme used to heal DNA and immortalize cells, could be the target we are looking for.

In 2000, for instance, a study was conducted that took old human skin cells--wrinkly, sagging--and immortalized them. These human skin cells, when grafted onto a rabbit's skin, started acting like young cells again. They produced collagen, became more flexible and soft--all without any negative side effects.

Telomerase has been suggested as a treatment for a number of old-age diseases such as macular degeneration in the eyes, osteoporosis of the bones, and arteriosclerosis in the arteries. It has even been shown that telomerase can be used to help cells that would normally die outside the body be able to grow and thrive, showing the possibility of growing replacement organs.

Telomerase was used to rejuvenate the white blood cells in AIDS patients, increasing resistance to the disease.

PLEASE VISIT THE REST OF THE BLOG: We have information on research, companies making amazing discoveries, ethics, links, and much more. See the blog for more details!

- END -

Posted by Andrew Straw at 13:40 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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