V. RELATED RESEARCH
A. Growth Factors
One of the most exciting fields of biological research, besides telomeres, is
the regeneration of human tissues through the use of various growth factors.
Human growth factor FGF-I (basic fibroblast growth factor), has been used to
grow new blood vessels and initiate the formation of capillaries that have
bypassed clogged arteries in the human heart.
Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) has also been shown to grow new
blood vessels and is thought to be the primary cause of tumor
neovascularization. Drugs that stop the functioning of this growth factor
have been shown to cut off the supply of blood to tumors and actually cause
them to shrink.
Transforming growth factor beta 3 has been used to grow a patients own skin
on a synthetic matrix which was used in an emergency skin graft for a burn
patient in L.A. It is currently in phase III clinical trials and will
revolutionize the treatment of burn victims.
Transforming growth factor beta 2 and basic fibroblast growth factor FGF-1
can aid in wound healing for trauma patients.
Purified growth hormone (somatotropin), has been used to re-grow cartilage in
And a whole range of growth factors have been shown to be active in if not
controlling of cellular proliferation and differentiation in the fetus and
Another growth factor, dissociable chromosome healing factor (CHF) interacts
with telomerase to initiate telomere formation. Whether CHF can stimulate
telomerase production in cells not normally expressing the enzyme needs to be
This is exciting research but how is it related to the telomeric theory of
aging? Recent research has shown, for every growth factor tested, that they
will not maintain growth when the telomeres are too short. They will,
however, resume growth in the presence of the enzyme telomerase.
The implications of this research are that therapies based on the use of
these growth factors need to take account of telomeric length for the
therapies to be effective over the course of time. While they do stimulate
the growth of the various tissues, each cellular replication reduces
telomeric length and may cause the tissues produced to enter senescence
Perhaps the combination of growth factors with hTRT, the catalytic protein
subunit of telomerase, will not only maintain the replicative capacity of
these cells but may actually increase their rate of reproduction by
decreasing the time between population doublings.
Integrating the research into growth factors with the telomeric theory of
aging may produce effective long term therapies and help increase human
(Next: The Mitochondrial Theory of Aging)
Thomas Mahoney, Pres.
Lifeline Laboratories, Inc.