It is now official; telomerase is really for-real. A Nobel Prize was just granted to Carol Greider, Elizabeth Blackburn and Jack Szostak, for discovery of the telomerase enzyme 25 years ago. Greider was a 23-year-old first-year graduate student back then. My impression was that very few scientists paid any attention to telomerase at that time. Yet, the awesome potential of telomerase is what got me interested in anti-aging research back in 1994.
Monday, the world’s press was full of reports on the anti-aging potential of telomerase and the use of telomerase inhibition to cure cancers. There is a danger now that hype and irresponsible commercialization of telomerase activators will start to obscure what is actually known about telomerase – similar to what has happened in the last two years with respect to resveratrol. Since I have written extensively on the telomere-shortening theory of aging and the possible anti-aging roles of telomerase, I thought this might be a good time to provide annotated links to what I have written.
· The write-up in my treatise of the Telomere Shortening and Damage theory of aging is a complete and current introduction to telomeres, their roles in aging and the key properties and roles of telomerase. Telomerase achieves a lot more than simply extending telomeres.
· The Telomere Shortening and Damage Firewall section of the treatise discusses the activation of telomerase as a possible anti-aging intervention, one I have been using personally.
· On October 5, 2008 I added a note to the treatise On telomerase expression and nervous system cells.
· My first blog entry with respect to telomerase was A January 28, 2009 item Geron in the news again. Geron was and continues to be the biotech company most heavily invested in telomere technology.
· In This week’s anti-aging news Jan 31, 2009, and related to the discovery of a new telomerase-related protein TCAB1.
· The February 18, 2009 blog post You may be able to keep your telomeres long reports on a Swedish large-population study of telomere lengths.
· The February 22, 2009 post Updated discussion of the Telomere shortening theory of aging covered changes up to that point due to what I learned about telomeres and telomerase since I first drafted the Anti-Aging Firewalls treatise about a year earlier. These changes have been since embodied in the treatise.
· The March 1, 2009 blog entry More telomerase tidbits discusses telomere length as a predictor of susceptibility to coronary artery disease and discusses birds who have long telomeres and who live a very long time for birds.
· The March 13, 2009 post From the fringe to the center discusses earlier and lesser prizes received by Blackburn and Greider and the emerging acknowledged relevance of telomerase.
· In the June 5, 2009 blog post Linking up the theories of aging, I discuss links between the Telomere shortening and damage, the Programmed epigenomic changes, the Susceptibility to cancers and the Stem Cell Supply Chain Breakdown theories of aging.
· In my June 9, 2009 blog post How am I doing I said ”So, on the whole I feel very good about my anti-aging program so far. Telomerase activation was one of the big changes in the last year and I think it might largely be responsible for some of the effects including improved eyesight and hair growth.”
· A June 11, 2009 post deals with the question Do resveratrol, curcumin and EGCG from green tea really inhibit the expression of telomerase?
· The July15, 2009 blog post Telomerase activation – upside and downside relates to another major update of the telomerase discussion in my treatise and mentions a possible danger involved with telomerase activation, that being promotion of the differentiation of cancer stem cells.
· The September 30 blog post Revisiting telomere shortening yet-again reports on finding a treasure trove of recent publications which shed light on three issues: the relationship between two of the theories of aging (Telomere Shortening and Damage, and Stem Cell Supply Chain Breakdown), the role of telomere shortening in multiple disease processes, and the nature of telomere shortening.
Although at the moment I am most excited by the newest theory of aging, the Stem Cell Supply Chain Breakdown theory, I see the Telomere Shortening and Damage to be a very important complementary theory. And I plan to continue taking a telomerase-activating daily supplement.