Saturday, May 3, 2008
The Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research was recently awarded to 2 scientists for their work on snRNPs and Telomerase. Oh yes, that magical molecule that will allow us to live as long as Methusaleh, or some would claim.
What is telomerase?
The "clock" of cellular life was once a mystery to scientists. But soon they found that telomeres, the tips of chromosomes. Or as Dr Oz loves to say, the wrapping at the end of the shoelace, becomes progressively shorter over the life of a cell and when they become too short, cells die.
Dr. Blackburn one of the 2 scientists showed that telomerase can add DNA back to the ends of telomeres and effectively turn back the clock. enabling cells, and theoretically us, to live longer.
This has allowed Oprah and Dr Oz to give quite a show a few months ago and has spurred an interesting testing industry. The picture above is of a shop right here in Manhattan that helps enhance your telomerase activity through a molecule known as TA-65. From their site:
Noel and Eve currently travel between Hong Kong, California, and New York. In 2007 they opened the T.A. Sciences CenterTM, located on the Upper East Side in Manhattan which will market the first anti-aging products derived from Geron's technology. The T.A. Sciences Center will offer telomerase activating nutraceutical and cosmeceutical products to an exclusive clientele.
I wonder if Oprah knows about them. Do you think Dr Oz does? Well, now you know. Here's the big question? Does it work? Or is it too early to tell. Either way, they are doing it for over 20,000USD! I wonder if Dr Blackburn gets any residual income???? Doubtful......
The other scientist? Oh well she only discovered how snRNPs act on pre-mRNA. From Medical News Today
Dr. Steitz is Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale. She achieved global recognition when she found out how small ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs) behave in pre-messenger RNA, the earliest product of DNA transcription. She discovered that snRNPs get rid of introns, the useless chunks of DNA and pre-messenger RNA, by "splicing" them out and then joining the severed ends together to make messenger RNA. Messenger RNA then instruct the production of proteins, the essential building blocks of the body's biology.
First off......Introns are not useless chunks! Come on Catharine Paddock, PhD......dumbing it down, doesn't mean making dumb statements that aren't true.
Nonetheless, this is the first time 2 women have been awarded this prestigious distinction. It has only been around since 2000 though. So here's to more women in science!
The Sherpa Says:
Interestingly, I couldn't find TA-65 in pubmed. I wonder where the evidence base is for this nearly 30,000 USD therapy. Who said the public won't pay for "health care"? The less evidence, the better the pay. It is truly amazing what a little hype will do. With that much per patient you would hope they could fund some serious trials. It appears they have yet to do just that. Instead they will charge you for their "trials". Sound familiar? Absolutely. Isn't that what Linda Avey said about 23andME? Consumer Enabled Research? But it looks like in TA Sciences case, the profit is good and the research is sparse. Buyer Beware....