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

Tom Matthews tmatth at
Wed Sep 16 22:36:39 EST 1998

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
   extend mean and maximum lifespan across many species, the latest
   appearing to be primates, although the experiment will not be
   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
   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
   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
   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
   4. It is reasonable to think that we can cause this same mechanism to
   invoked by drugs instead of 'starvation'.

> >While calorie restriction (or its drug induced manifestation) will by no
> >means give us immortality, it will allow many of us (especially the
> >older ones of us) to live long enough for higher tech, more fundamental
> >interventions in the aging process (maybe telomere lengthening) to
> >become available. What I am saying is the our antiaging research
> >priorities should be set in a kind of boot-strap fashion: First do what
> >is simplest and easiest to get us another 20-30 years. Only after that
> >is complete, do you put the big money into things that have promise for
> >much longer life extension, but are inherently more complex and more
> >difficult.
> Your logic is right but your reasoning is wrong.  The way to get us an
> additional 20-30 years is to attack the major causes of mortality in the U.S.
> population today.  These are heart disease, cancer, immunological failure and
> trauma.  These age related diseases, excluding trauma, would appear to be the
> logical place to start and then as you said we will have the time to look for
> a more permanent solution.

No, *your* reasoning is quite wrong here. These are very complex
diseases and we have been already working at them with a great deal of
funding for decades. Calorie restriction, or its equivalent, would delay
the onset of *all* of them by 20-30 years "in one fell swoop". That is
what it does in all animal models tested so far.

> Research into calorie or dietary restriction does, however, show some promise
> in these areas.  (Now Tom, don't shut off your computer:-) But CR is related
> to the telomeric theory of aging.  Dr. Effros in, Mech Ageing Dev 1997
> Feb;93(1-3):25-33, showed how CR enhanced the elimination of non-functional T
> cells by "normalizing" apoptosis thus improving immunological functioning.

This (and the rest which I have sniped) doesn't show any such thing
(except under your circular assumption that everything to do with
cellular health is related to telomeres), but that is irrelevant to my
suggestion of producing drugs to mimic calorie restriction.

> >Don't forget, that as life-extensionists, our purpose is not
> >*scientific* per se. Our highest priority should not be the glitziest
> >and/or most interesting and/or the most fundamental science. Instead,
> >our purpose is very simply to remain alive and healthy, and *that* is
> >what should set our research priorities.
> On this we fully agree.  I just happen to think that the research into the
> telomeric theory of aging is the best and fastest way to achieve that desired
> end.

We all know *that* by now!

Tom Matthews
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