Woman is Biologically 20 Years Younger After Testing her Company’s Gene Therapy
Elizabeth Parrish, CEO of BioViva USA, essential volunteered herself as a guinea pig to test her company’s new gene therapy to combat aging at it’s biological source. It was a daring move with some pretty impressive results.
For the most part, we think of anti-aging as an external battle against gravity and potentially toxic substances in our environment. But BioViva goes a step further by looking at the biological aspects of aging that eventually cause diseases like Alzheimer’s to manifest.
Parrish initially only intended to test the safety of her company’s new gene therapies. She took a bold step here: previously the therapies had only been tested on mice in 2012. The mice didn’t develop any radical cancers so I guess she figured it was worth the risk. She received one therapy that was intended to slow down age-related muscle deterioration, and another to slow down stem-cell depletion– two factors that contribute to age-related diseases. The post-therapy test results are showing that she is actually biologically younger than she was before the experiments.
So what does “biologically younger” mean? Well your DNA basically deteriorates from general wear and tear throughout your life. That’s probably why meth addicts appear to age 50 years in a decade. Or how heavy cocaine users develop Parkinson’s disease way later in life. Anyways, telomeres are small pieces of DNA that protect the ends of your chromosomes like a helmet. Unfortunately, every time a cell divides the telomeres shorten and this makes the chromosome more vulnerable. Without protection, the cells eventually stop working properly and begin to succumb to “age” related symptoms and diseases; like wrinkles, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.
Parrish’s telomers were tested in September 2015 and March 2016– before and after the experiments. The result? Not 5 or 10, but 20 years younger! 20 years is a lot of wear and tear to reverse. So the tests reveal that her white blood cells are younger but they still need to figure out how to practically apply the same gene therapy to other organ systems. Plus, tests months or years down the road could show that the therapies didn’t hold up over time.
Until now we could only really focus on environmental factors to combat aging, like wrinkle creams, healthy lifestyles, and avoiding hard drugs. Yeah, boring right? But these tests open up a lot of possibilities for combating age-related diseases directly at the source. BioViva’s current projects focus on gene therapy to slow-down heart damage, muscle deterioration, Parkinson’s, and ALS. BioViva is now working with another biotech company in London to share knowledge and research towards new age related gene therapies.