Antiaging Research Priorities [was Re: Major Criticisms of The Telomeric Theory

James james at
Wed Sep 16 23:02:47 EST 1998

Tom Matthews wrote:

> Excelife wrote:
> > In article <35FF2E57.1917 at>, tmatth at says...
> > >Currently, calorie restriction is the only therapy which is non invasive
>    and can be applied to an already living animal which has been proven
> to
>    extend mean and maximum lifespan across many species, the latest
>    appearing to be primates, although the experiment will not be
> complete
>    for some years. The only reason why humans will not and do not use CR
>    (although some do) to extend their lives and health is because of its
>    impalatability (literally :-). What is needed is a major research
> effort
>    to find out the exact mechanism by which CR extends healthy mean and
>    maximum lifespan, then create the necessary drug thearpies to achieve
>    "the CR effect", and make them available to humans. If this can be
> done,
>    it should be worth billions of dollars to whoever patents those
> > >effecting drugs.
> > >Again the main reasons this is my choice are:
> > >1. We know calorie restriction works now to rduce and delay *every* type
>    of fatal disease process (at lesst in many animal species, far more
> than
>    we had the same data about any other method of antiaging).
>    2. It is a very low tech and non-invasive "adjustment of our
>    biochemistry in some manner.
>    3. It is reasonable to think that we can discover its mechanism in
>    detail.
>    4. It is reasonable to think that we can cause this same mechanism to
> be
>    invoked by drugs instead of 'starvation'.

All quite good points and reasoning.  I would also like to add that we should be
able to make great strides in figuring this out *right now*.  Differential display
and gene chips would probably show us what calorie restriction is doing (the one
caveat that comes to mind is if it regulates an epigenetic phenomenon that makes it
indistinguishable from normal aging).

The problem with using this technique in humans or primates is that the genomes are
not completely sequenced so we would have to resort to ESTs (expressed sequence
tags) to figure out what genes were what.  That would not be as efficient, and
getting access to complete EST databases would probably involve shelling out money
since some of the sequencing efforts in this area thus far have been private.  By
2005 (or earlier if Venter has his way) the human genome will all be sequenced and
then we can rock-n-roll!

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