Her company’s experimental therapies have reversed 20 years of normal telomere shortening, over a 7 month period. This result is based on the average T-lymphocyte (white blood cell) telomere length compared to the American population at the same age range. The higher the telomere length, the “younger” the cells.
The experiment started in September 2015, when 44 year-old CEO of BioViva USA Inc. Elizabeth Parrish received two of her own company’s experimental gene therapies: one to protect against loss of muscle mass with age, another to battle stem cell depletion responsible for diverse age-related diseases and infirmities.
If early data is accurate, it is the world’s first successful example of telomere lengthening via gene therapy in a human individual.
Telomere lengthening protects the body from age related damage
Telomeres are short segments of DNA which cap the ends of every chromosome, acting as ‘buffers’ against wear and tear. They shorten with every cell division, eventually getting too short to protect the chromosome, causing the cell to malfunction and the body to age. Find out more about telomeres.
In March 2016, tests taken by SpectraCell revealed that Elizabeth’s telomeres had lengthened by approximately 20 years, from 6.71kb to 7.33kb. These findings were independently verified by the Brussels-based non-profit HEALES (HEalthy Life Extension Company), and the Biogerontology Research Foundation, a UK-based charity committed to combating age-related diseases.
BioViva will be testing new gene therapies and combination gene therapies to restore age related damage. It remains to be seen whether the success in leukocytes can expanded to other tissues and organs, and repeated in future patients.
This exciting news could see the name Elizabeth Parrish, go down in history as ‘patient zero’ of restorative gene therapy, and the first on the road to indefinite life extension.
Background information for BioViva USA, Inc.
BioViva USA, Inc. is a to-clinic gene therapeutics company incorporated in Delaware. BioViva utilizes intramural and extramural peer-reviewed research in order to create marketable therapies for treating age-related diseases and infirmities — including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, heart-disease, cancer, sarcopenia and kidney failure — at the level of the genome. The company has attracted the interest of Deep Knowledge Life Sciences (DKLS), an innovative investment fund which aims to accelerate the development of biotechnologies for healthy longevity, who have added the company to their portfolio.
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