Would you pay five million dollars to be young again?
Hi, I’m Bill Andrews. I’m one of the world’s leading anti-aging scientists. When the fundamental biological reasons that humans age were first discovered in the 1980s, I immediately quit my job and changed my focus exclusively to the study of telomere biology – the anti-aging field that the Nobel Committee acknowledged in 2009 as a world-changing discovery.
I started my own company, Sierra Sciences, in 1999. After twenty years of research and millions of dollars of investment, we’ve finally reached the finish line. We are going to begin clinical trials in the world’s first legitimate attempt to make an old person young again.
The Cause of Aging
Humans age because our cells age, and our cells age because a repetitive region of DNA called the “telomere” shortens every time our cells divide.
That may sound incredibly simple – but the truth is, despite all the complex science underlying that claim, the conclusion really is that simple. I won’t go into all the ins and outs of telomere biology here on this page, but I’ve written a simple primer on telomere biology that can be found here.
I’ve also written two much more thorough eighty-page books, written for the educated layperson but full of cites to hundreds of scientific papers. They can be purchased at Amazon here and here, but of course I will provide them free of charge (as well as copies of any and all medical research) to anyone interested in being one of the first test subjects of this groundbreaking procedure.
To reverse aging, we need to get the enzyme telomerase into a person’s cells, which will lengthen that person’s telomeres and reprogram their bodies to be younger.
For decades, I’ve experimented with different approaches to doing this. Some turned out to be too dangerous to try, and some weren’t effective enough. Some didn’t work at all. But as the entire world’s scientific community worked on the problem of safe and effective gene therapy delivery mechanisms, the answer is finally here.
AAV has a long and well-documented history. It was originally discovered in the 1960s as a curiosity: a “satellite virus” that sometimes accompanied adenoviruses into the human body, but caused no disease. In some ways it resembled a virus of a virus, unable to affect the human body at all without a “helper virus” present.
In 1998, scientists stripped AAV of two important genes – its “replication” and “capsid” genes – so that it could not integrate into human genes at all. Instead, it would enter a human cell, allow its genetic payload to be expressed, and then be naturally released from the cell. In doing so, it became a perfect vehicle for gene therapy, giving science the ability to instruct cells in the body to do things they would not normally do.
To date, AAV has been used in 117 clinical trials, representing almost 6% of all gene therapy trials ever attempted. Studies have been conducted on sufferers of Cystic Fibrosis, Parkinson’s disease, hemophilia B, and others; the hemophilia B study was particularly remarkable, where with a single infusion of the gene SPK-9001, bleeding was reduced in patients by fully 96%, essentially curing the disease.
Most importantly, in all 117 clinical trials, patients did not suffer ill effects from the gene therapy itself. AAV therapy appears to be a safe and effective technology for delivering a missing gene into the human body, and a promising way to cure any disease caused by a missing gene.
Where We Come In
Though my team is working on ways of improving AAV technology, I am not a major inventor of AAV; as with all medical technology, I will be “standing on the shoulders of giants.”
Rather, my area of expertise is the hTERT gene – the gene in our bodies that lengthens telomeres and makes our cells younger (which mostly only happens in our reproductive cells to make it possible for us to have children who are younger than we are). I do not believe there is a lab in the world that understands hTERT to the extent mine does.
We plan to deliver hTERT into your cells, both intravenously and into your spinal fluid. The procedure is minimally invasive, and you will be closely monitored for three days after treatment. There will be careful monitoring of dozens of aging-related biomarkers, before the procedure and for up to a year afterwards; we will be able to tell whether you are internally getting younger (though we certainly hope you’ll see and feel the results, quickly, and won’t need us to tell you about them.)
Make no mistake: this is a pioneering attempt to do something that has never been done before. In fact, the U.S. government won’t allow it to be performed on domestic soil, so although testing of biomarkers will take place in the United States, the AAV therapy itself will take place in a hospital in Columbia.
We’re trying to make old people young again. This has never been credibly attempted in human history. So, although of course we’ve made every effort to minimize risk and maximize efficacy, there are still so many unknowns, including death or serious injury.
Also, there is the possibility that the therapy simply won’t work. We wish the price were lower, but creating this much hTERT AAV is going to take a team of scientists four months to make, working around the clock, using exceptionally expensive equipment and raw materials. If it works, and the therapy is put into mass production, the price will come down, but the first attempts will be expensive.
At Sierra Sciences, we strongly believe that informed consent is a human right. That you, and you alone, have the right to decide whether this therapy is for you. Our responsibility is to be fully transparent and make sure you have every piece of information you require to make an informed decision.
There is quite a bit of evidence (detailed carefully in both my books), that you will, plain and simply, become younger.
Proof of concept experiments have already shown old animals regaining their youth again. In 2010, a Harvard Medical School team achieved reversal of aging in genetically altered mice. Their muscle tone improved; their memory improved; their organs, once shriveled by old age, grew larger and healthier; they regained their reproductive capacity. It’s been shown that animals can be made to age in reverse. They can be made younger.
How much younger could this therapy make you? It’s impossible to say with certainty. In 2012, Spanish researchers increased the lifespan of mice by about 24% using telomerase gene therapy, so it’s certainly possible the same benefit will accrue to a human patient.
However, I have many reasons to believe that telomerase gene therapy will work far better on humans than on mice (again, the reasons why are discussed in detail in both of my books). The ultimate goal is to bring a person back to their physical prime, able to enjoy the energy level, metabolism, physical appearance, and general health they enjoyed at age 24. In other words: clinical agelessness.
This would be the ideal result, and I do believe it is theoretically achievable with this therapy, and I stake my reputation on that.
On the other hand, to reiterate, AAV therapy is relatively new and hTERT therapy has never been tried before. Results could also be modest, trivial, or nonexistent.
The Bottom Line
This is a groundbreaking, world-changing experiment we’re about to undertake. It’s an audacious risk, similar to Gagarian’s decision to be the first man shot into space, or Columbus’s decision to sail west into the vast unknown. The first successful patient would certainly be written about in the history books for years to come (assuming that's your choice: we’re absolutely committed to doctor-patient confidentiality).
This is the first time in the world that something has gone on sale that no one has ever been able to buy before: a chance at more young, healthy, years of life.
A cure for aging will happen eventually. Science is moving in that direction. There have been decades of study into age reversal and there will be decades more. But at this point, we’re ready to try: to stop just academically studying the issue, and to actually do it.
If you’re interested in being a pioneer in age reversal along with us, please contact us.