What is telomere biology?
If you’re asking, you’re not alone – although the discovery of telomerase was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2009, much of the public is still unfamiliar with this groundbreaking science.
Here are the principles of telomere biology in very broad strokes:
- In every dividing cell in our bodies, there is a “clock” of aging that determines the cell’s health and age.
- This “clock” is a region of DNA at the end of each of our chromosomes, called the telomere.
- Every time a cell divides, the telomere gets slightly shorter.
- We age because, as our telomeres get shorter, our cells age.
- Bad things happen when telomeres get short. Our cells become sick, they stop dividing, and this is the root cause of aging and age-related diseases.
- There is an enzyme called telomerase that makes our telomeres longer.
- Every cell in our body contains the genetic information needed to produce telomerase – but the production of telomerase is “switched off.”
- Certain chemicals, compounds, and natural ingredients can tell the body to switch telomerase on.
- When telomerase is turned on, the rate at which we age will slow – and with enough telomerase, could even stop or reverse.
If you’d like more detailed information, we have a short book, “Bill Andrews on Telomere Basics: Curing Aging” which is available here for free.
It sounds like science fiction, doesn’t it? But we’ve already seen that it works. In 2010, Dr. Ron DePinho at Harvard Medical School devised a method to switch telomerase on in a line of engineered mice. The results were amazing: old mice became young again.