Pointing Out Sierra Sciences

Via a post to Betterhumans, a pointer to Sierra Sciences, another of the small, privately funded companies (such as Telomolecular and Phoenix Biomolecular) that aim to use telomere-based medical technologies to tackle aspects of degenerative aging.

Check it out! Looks like they are really growing. I know Reason and a few others here don't really subscribe to the "Telomere theory" of aging, however, any attack on the process is a good one. I for one believe that the cosmetic applications alone will be enough to [propel] anti-aging into a serious spotlight and be able to attract more attention to the science as a whole.

I can't say I agree with that last sentence - the vast and unhelpful cosmetic "anti-aging" industry is, well, unhelpful. Counterproductive, even. For better or worse, however, for this research community to lean in that direction would seem to be a natural outgrowth of the research between five and eight years ago on telomere length, telomerase and aging physiology in skin. Such leanings are well in evidence over at Phoenix Biomolecular. Not so at Sierra, but more power to either company if they can raise money for more constructive research by going down that path - hopefully without ending up like the Life Extension Foundation, wherein the lion's share of effort goes towards maintaining a business based on old school technologies that will not significantly extend life spans rather than pushing the frontiers forward.

The past few years have not been kind to the telomere theory of aging as it originally stood - that telomere shortening alone causes aging. The contribution of shortened telomeres to the plot is more complex and not yet well understood; a great deal is yet to be learned about the underlying biochemistry and genetics. Scientists are still obtaining apparently contradictory results in telomere and telomerase research, which indicates that the fundamentals are not yet clear.

Successful application of new knowledge of telomere biochemistry to the treatment or prevention of specific age-related conditions seems plausible at this stage, but you don't know until you try. These scientists and company founders have raised the money, so let them get out there and make progress.

As a final note to the biologists in the audience, Sierra Sciences is hiring.

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