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Telomere Lengthening for the Rich and Risk Tolerant

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For anyone with a strong urge to try an unproven anti-aging therapy and a spare million bucks, a company called Libella Gene Therapeutics (headquartered in a strip mall in Manhattan Kansas) will enroll you in their gene therapy "clinical trial" which aims to lengthen your telomeres, similar to one of the treatments that Liz Parrish from Bioviva attempted on herself. Here is a description of the trial:


If it were free, would anyone here sign up for this experiment? While I admire the pioneering spirit of someone who would, given the lack of evidence that longer telomeres is associated with slower human aging [1] and the risk that it may increase cancer rates, I would give it a pass.



[1] Aging Cell. 2019 Dec;18(6):e13017. doi: 10.1111/acel.13017. Epub 2019 Aug 24.

Telomere length and aging-related outcomes in humans: A Mendelian randomization
study in 261,000 older participants.

Kuo CL(1), Pilling LC(2), Kuchel GA(3), Ferrucci L(4), Melzer D(2)(3).

Author information: 
(1)Department of Community Medicine and Health Care, Connecticut Convergence
Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering, Institute for Systems
Genomics, University of Connecticut Health, Farmington, CT, USA.
(2)Epidemiology and Public Health Group, University of Exeter Medical School,
RILD Level 3, Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, Exeter, UK.
(3)Center on Aging, School of Medicine, University of Connecticut, Farmington,
(4)National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Inherited genetic variation influencing leukocyte telomere length provides a
natural experiment for testing associations with health outcomes, more robust to 
confounding and reverse causation than observational studies. We tested
associations between genetically determined telomere length and aging-related
health outcomes in a large European ancestry older cohort. Data were from
n = 379,758 UK Biobank participants aged 40-70, followed up for mean of 7.5 years
(n = 261,837 participants aged 60 and older by end of follow-up). Thirteen
variants strongly associated with longer telomere length in peripheral white
blood cells were analyzed using Mendelian randomization methods with Egger plots 
to assess pleiotropy. Variants in TERC, TERT, NAF1, OBFC1, and RTEL1 were
included, and estimates were per 250 base pairs increase in telomere length,
approximately equivalent to the average change over a decade in the general white
population. We highlighted associations with false discovery rate-adjusted
p-values smaller than .05. Genetically determined longer telomere length was
associated with lowered risk of coronary heart disease (CHD; OR = 0.95, 95% CI:
0.92-0.98) but raised risk of cancer (OR = 1.11, 95% CI: 1.06-1.16). Little
evidence for associations were found with parental lifespan, centenarian status
of parents, cognitive function, grip strength, sarcopenia, or falls. The results 
for those aged 60 and older were similar in younger or all participants.
Genetically determined telomere length was associated with increased risk of
cancer and reduced risk of CHD but little change in other age-related health
outcomes. Telomere lengthening may offer little gain in later-life health status 
and face increasing cancer risks

© 2019 The Authors. Aging Cell published by the Anatomical Society and John Wiley
& Sons Ltd.

DOI: 10.1111/acel.13017 
PMCID: PMC6826144
PMID: 31444995 

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Hm, it should in fact be free. If successful, it would be tremendously profitable for the service provider.

I personally wouldn't do it if free, as I don't believe it is likely to be beneficial. But others may have different take and priorities.

But the million dollars price tag makes it look less like a study and more like physhing for suckers....

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