Results of the rejuvenation experiment
In 2015, a sensation flew through the media: the CEO of the American company BioViva Elizabeth Parrish (Elizabeth Parrish) began an experiment on gene therapy of aging. Now she has presented the intermediate results of her experiment.
In September 2015, our heroine received several intramuscular injections containing gene therapy drugs based on adenovirus vectors. One of these drugs, injected into the leg muscles, was intended to inhibit the age-related atrophy of muscle tissue caused by the protein myostatin. On average, a person loses about 50% of muscle mass by the age of 80. This condition, known as sarcopenia, worsens the quality of life and is involved in the development of many age-related pathologies.
The purpose of the second drug was to prevent telomere shortening, which is considered an important aspect of cell aging. Telomeres are protective terminal fragments of chromosomes that shorten as a person ages. Progressive shortening of telomeres leads to an increase in the number of cells that have entered the phase of physiological aging, increased cell death and increased risk of cancer. Shorter telomeres are associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and certain types of dementia.
The human telomerase gene (hTERT) increases the activity of the telomerase enzyme, whose function is to increase the length of telomeres. For better distribution through the body, the drug containing it was injected into several places.
According to the results of the analysis conducted before the start of therapy, Elizabeth Parrish's leukocyte telomeres were unusually short and corresponded to about 65 years of age, which indicated premature aging.
According to the results of repeated measurements carried out in March 2016, the length of telomeres increased from 6.71 kilobases to 7.33 kilobases (1 kilobase = 1000 pairs of nucleotides). This corresponds to the rejuvenation of cells for about 20 years in just 6 months. At the same time, the biological age of the cells began to correspond to Elizabeth's passport age.
The next measurement of telomere length, carried out in 2018, showed even more impressive results. Telomere length increased to 8.12 kilobases, which is equivalent to rejuvenation for another 10 years.
The results obtained exceeded the wildest expectations. Firstly, the therapy did not have any undesirable side effects. The main threat in this case was the risk of developing cancer as a result of activation of the enzyme telomerase. Secondly, the telomere length continues to increase without additional effects.
Myostatin inhibitor therapy has also brought significant improvements. The results of the examination showed an increase in muscle mass, which remained stable for 3 years after the therapy.
Animated images of hip cross-sections at different levels obtained by magnetic resonance imaging show a change in the composition of muscle tissue. For three years after the therapy, there is an increase in total muscle mass and a decrease in the amount of intramuscular fat deposits. This process is associated with positive metabolic changes and improved musculature functionality. At the same time, Elizabeth's total body weight did not change during the specified period.
The obtained interim results indicate the safety and effectiveness of two experimental gene therapy approaches to human rejuvenation, previously thoroughly tested in animal experiments.
Laboratory analysis showed that the therapy provides a stable increase in the length of telomeres in leukocytes. Researchers are currently trying to figure out whether this effect extends to other cell types. Also in the future, they plan to determine the dose of the drug, which will affect all cells of the body. The ultimate goal of the work is to create a therapy that will allow people to avoid the development of age-related diseases.
Evgenia Ryabtseva, portal "Eternal Youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru based on BioViva: New telomere length results – a 2018 update by Liz Parrish.