IUBio Biosequences .. Software .. Molbio soft .. Network News .. FTP

Major Criticisms of The Telomeric Theory

ufotruth at ix.netcom.com ufotruth at ix.netcom.com
Tue Sep 15 18:53:59 EST 1998

On Tue, 15 Sep 1998 01:07:58 -0500, James <james at nospam.com> wrote:

>You are falling into a "wishful thinking" line of logic.  Even while

Wait just one second. Wouldn't many people say that even suggesting
the possibility of EVER reversing the aging process, by ANY means, as
nothing more than wishful thinking?

Also, what is so bad about "wishful thinking" as long as you realize
that you could be wrong and are open to evidence and information which
could indicate that your thinking is wrong? It was wishful thinking
that caused the discovery of the light bulb, air plane, automobile,
and many other inventions.

Without "wishful thinking" civilization would have never advanced past
the stone age.

>disagreeing with many of your statements on the subject of telomerase I

If you disagree with me that is your right.

>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

No. You do not "believe" that telomere shorteing has something to do
with aging in humans. You KNOW, because of the DATA AND INFORMATION
you have read, that it is significantly probable that telomere
shortening does have something to do with aging.

Or, you might really "believe" that telomere shortening has something
to do with aging. But you "believe" because of the data and
information that you have read. Not because you blindly believe on

So, since you realize that telomere shortening does have at least SOME
effect on the human aging process don't you think it deserves just as
much funding and research as lets say, new kinds of anti-oxidants,
drugs to eliminate AGEs, etc?

But one thing that is very interesting about telomere shortening is
that we know for a fact that it can definantly KILL an organism if it
lives long enough for its cells to divide enough to lose a certain
percentage of their telomeres.

>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

So basically you are saying there is NO chance. How the heck do you
know? No one on this whole darn planet knows for sure. It seems to me
that there is a possibility, definantly not a certainty, that telomere
shortening could be at least ONE of the MAJOR causes of aging and by
ELIMINATING telomere shorteing humans could either slow their aging
process or rejuvinate themselves.

Again, let me stress, that I believe this is only a POSSIBILITY. It
may be only a 2%,  5%, 10%, 20%, or 50% possibility but it is a

You see telomere shortening is a DEFINANT limiting factor of human
life span. If a human lived long enough his or her cells would
eventually lose enough of their telomeres to cause them to die which
would cause the organism to die.. This is a FACT and NOT just a guess.

What we need to know now is whether this loss of telomeric length is
significant in humans lets say 60 years old or only in humans perhaps
500, 1000, or 1,000,000,000 years old.

But, since this is DEFINANTLY a limiting factor on the human life
span, even if only in individuals 500 years or older, then it seems
logical to me that research should be done to ELIMINATE this factor
and see if there are any theraputic results.

>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

It very well could be one of the major causes of aging in human
organisms under 100 years old. Or, it might not be or cause at all.
And there is always the possibility that it is one cause among many.

But we know it would be a major cause of aging in a human being if he
or she lived long enough. Because of this it seems to me that research
should definantly be done.

>pursued because it could turn out to be a cure-all is fairly ludicrous.

It is not ludicrous at all. There is the possibility that telomere
shortening could be THE cause of aging. This possibility may be VERY
small, perhaps only one in a trillion, but it is a possibility. But it
seems to me that the possibility that telomere shortning is at least a
MAJOR factor is much higher. 

>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

It "might" not be the most immediate problem for most people. If
telomere loss does cause most of the aging process then, indeed, it is
the main problem for "most" people.

>personel on that basis telomerase research would not get the priority it

In my opinion telomerase research should get more priority than it
currently does. Let me ask you something, how many companies are
actually doing MAJOR research into telomere shortening? Only two that
I can think of. GERON and Biogenix.

There are many different organizations, clinics, hospitols, and
companies doing research into all kinds of diseases that generally go
along with aging but very few studying the possible fundamental causes
of aging, one of which could be telomere shortening. Mre research
should be done into what CAUSES aging and not just treating the

>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

Well, we do not know that we would have to have a lot of other work
done. It is possible that you could immortalize all the cells in the
human body and have no ill effects but then on the other hand it could
cause problems. We just do not know. And until further research is
done into telomerase and telomere loss we will not know.

>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.

You are correct. There would be a LOT of work to be done. But if more
research was done into telomere shortning and it was proven that it is
a major factor of aging in individuals over lets say 50 years old then
all the work that would have to be done would be worth it.

>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

Not neccasarily. GERON has immortalized groups of normal human cells
and let them divide for many more generations than they would in the
typical human and they did not become cancerous. Of course we do not
know if they would become cancerous or not in the human body but this
shows that immortalizing cells does not automatically make them more
likely to turn cancerous.

>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.

Of course not. I don't think telomere research should be the number
one priority. But surely it should be among the top ten at least.

>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

It does matter.

>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 :)

It might not or it might.

Look, I have stated my opinions in this post. I have nothing against
your personally. If I have offended you personally I want to
apologize. We do not agree about telomere shortning, that is very
clear. But just because we do not agree about that, and may end up
debating each other to some degree, I just want you to know that I
have nothing against you personally and if I have offended you I

I just, again, felt a need to state what was on my mind.

Take care and have a great day.

Best Regards,

More information about the Ageing mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net