Major Criticisms of The Telomeric Theory

James james at nospam.com
Tue Sep 15 01:07:58 EST 1998

ufotruth at ix.netcom.com wrote:

> >snip<
> >What you seem to totally ignore though is that there will have been an
> >enormous waste of resources which *should* have been spent on other
> >antiaging research, if you are wrong. *That* is the main reason that I
> >said (given the condition that I made) that "I hope you are right"!
> >*You* seems to have this mental vested interest in the correctness of
> >the Telomeric Theory, whereas *I* simply wish to live forever :) and
> >thus, want resources spent in the most efficient manner possible.
> >"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" which antiaging theory is most
> >important for saving my life.
> The problem is, in my opinion, and I might be 100% wrong, that NONE of
> us on this entire plant knows for an absolute fact what are the exact
> processes that cause the aging process and how they EXACTLY work. We
> may know that certain things such as free radicals, AGE accumilation,
> and mitochondrial damage are certainly damaging to the human body,
> probably become even  more so in older individuals, and if we reduced
> them it would probably be beneficial to the human body. But we don't
> know if all of these factors combined in and of themselves ARE the
> aging process or if there are other factors which cause the above
> things to occur or occur at a higher level which causes the aging
> process.

[snip for brevity]

> And even if we did eliminate or reduce all of them then we still would
> have no gurantee that aging would have been totally stopped.
> Then, on the other hand, some of us would like to see research done to
> root out, if they exist, the FUNDAMENTAL causes of aging that could,
> possibly, either REDUCE or ELIMINATE ALL of the above factors which
> are harmful to the human body.
> One *possible* FUNAMENTAL cause of aging is telomere shortening.

You are falling into a "wishful thinking" line of logic.  Even while
disagreeing with many of your statements on the subject of telomerase I
have pointed out many times that I *do* believe that telomerase has
something to do with aging in humans, and is one of the factors that will
need to be solved.  That being said, there is not a snowball's chance in
hell that telomerase is going to cure aging by itself.  Pardon my strong
language, but while it is perfectly logical to argue that telomerase has
SOMETHING to do with aging, there is NO evidence (and I mean *evidence* -
not all the speculation that has been tossed around on this subject) that
it is THE cause of aging.  Arguing that telomerase research should be
pursued because it could turn out to be a cure-all is fairly ludicrous.

Just wanted to make that clear, it's not even what I meant to write
about...  I wanted to comment on Tom's (Matthews) "waste of resources
theory".  As I said before, I'd be willing to to bet that telomerase is
involved in aging somehow, and does need to be worked on because somewhere
down the road it will become a road block (and it may even be a road block
now for people that die of arteriolosclerosis).  BUT - it isn't the *most
immediate* problem for the *most* people.  If you had to allocate money and
personel on that basis telomerase research would not get the priority it

Now obvioulsy the statements made above are a matter of opinion, and Tom
Mahoney would disagree.  But here is something that I don't think he can
logically disagree with:  Think of all the work that would have to be done
just to safely use a telomerase-based aging treatment.  You better have
cancer treatments well in hand.  And how are you going to get a telomerase
treatment to your cells? You might be able to inject some types of cells,
like marrow stem cells, and fibroblasts, and other things whose spacial
arrangements are not critical.  Then they would just grow, replacing the
old cells, and everything woul be fine.  But that isn't going to work for
some cell types.  Probably won't work for the brain.  Won't work for the
heart.  Probably won't work for other organs that have complicated
structure, since you cant just expect the cells to migrate to the correct
place and be functional.  So not only do you have to worry about cancer,
but you have a HUGE delivery problem.  Current vectors are not even close
to being up to the job.

So to play Devil's Advocate, let's assume that telomerase IS the answer to
aging.  You should still be devoting your money and personel to curing
cancer and developing new vectors.  Without those things your telomerase
cure is worthless - or maybe worse than worthless if it gives someone
cancer.  I don't think that there is any question that prioritizing
telomerase research is not the best way to work on aging at the moment.

But, so what?  It really doesn't matter who is right and who is wrong
because "optimal allocation of resources" is not the way science research
works in our world.  People will work on what they want to work on as long
as they can convince NIH or someone else to give them money, and our
complaining isn't going to change that (nor do I think it should - the way
I see it it's kinda like freedom of the press for science).  So in this
case Tom Mahoney is going to get the last laugh :)

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