The gene treatment reversed 20 years of one of the underlying causes of aging!
Elizabeth Parrish, the CEO of BioViva USA Inc, a biotechnology company that “aims to provide regenerative medicine to the masses through gene and cell therapies,” claims to be the first person in history to have successfully reversed one of the hallmark signs of aging with the company’s experimental gene therapy.
Before we get any further, it’s important to understand the role of telomeres in aging. Telomeres are the protective tips found at the end of each DNA strand, and without telomeres, the DNA strands become damaged and unable to do their job. When we are born, our telomeres are long, but as our cells age, the telomeres become shorter and shorter until the DNA starts accumulating damage — damage that is thought to make our bodies frail and diseased.
So, the gene therapy that Parrish received is designed to protect against muscle mass depletion and stem cell depletion — both inherent to aging and age-related diseases. She first underwent the therapy in 2015, and while it was originally intended to prove that the company’s gene therapy was safe, she claims that the therapy successfully lengthened her telomeres — which will be a very first in world history if the technique goes on to be confirmed in peer reviews.
Telomere scores are calculated based on the length of telomeres in white blood cells (T-lymphocytes), and higher scores indicate youth. Compared to the average T-lymphocytes of the American population within the same age range as Parrish, who is 44 years old, she says that the gene therapy reversed 20 years of telomere shortening! Pretty impressive if her results get verified.
"Current therapeutics offer only marginal benefits for people suffering from diseases of ageing. Additionally, lifestyle modification has limited impact for treating these diseases. Advances in biotechnology is the best solution, and if these results are anywhere near accurate, we’ve made history," Parrish said in a statement on the BioViva site.
In the months and years to come, BioViva will continue to monitor Parrish’s blood, as well as test new gene therapies and combination gene therapies to restore age-related damage. Depending on the observations of Parrish, the researchers will be able to determine whether the success of the therapy can translate into other tissues and organs in the body, and if the effects can be safely replicated in other humans.
If the results go on to be verified by others in the scientific community, this could be revolutionary.
As stated in the release, “For now all the answers lie in the cells of Elizabeth Parrish, ‘patient zero’ of restorative gene therapy.”
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