American Woman Gets Biologically Younger After Gene Therapies

American Woman Gets Biologically Younger After Gene Therapies

Apr 27



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“We need to talk about it. We need to realize that you, me, everyone on this earth — death is the great equalizer. And how you’re going to die, you can decide. So are you going to die by diseases that might be curable? Then you better step aside because we’re not going with that train of thought. We’ve got a lot of people and they’re not interested in dying the way that we’ve been told is the normal, natural way to die… Nope, we’re going to change that!”

— Liz Parish, CEO of BioViva USA — Source



First Successful Gene Therapy Against Human Aging? It May Be So
April 23, 2016

Original Link


The CEO of BioViva USA Inc, Elizabeth Parrish, claims to be the first human in world history to have successfully reversed the effects of natural aging — thanks to experimental gene therapy provided by her company.

Parrish first underwent gene therapy in 2015 — one designed to protect against muscle mass depletion that is inherent to aging and another to fight stem cell depletion due to age-related diseases.

Originally meant to prove that her company’s gene therapy was safe, the results — should they prove to be effective in the long-term and withstand due scientific scrutiny — would be the very first successful demonstration of telomere lengthening in any human.

“Current therapeutics offer only marginal benefits for people suffering from diseases of aging. Additionally, lifestyle modification has limited impact for treating these diseases. Advances in biotechnology is the best solution, and if these results are anywhere near accurate, we’ve made history,” Parrish notes.

To that end, even Parrish is clear that more investigation is necessary in order to verify the methods; however, if verified, this work will be revolutionary.


Telomeres are short segments of DNA that are found on the ends of each chromosome. These act as “buffers” for the wear and tear of natural aging. But with sustained cell division, telomeres eventually get too short to protect the chromosome. When this happens, it causes the call to malfunction and leads to aging.

The basis for the success of Parrish’s gene therapy is related to the telomere scores — which are calculated based on the telomere length in white blood cells (T-lymphocytes). Higher telomere scores indicate “younger cells.” Compared to average T-lymphocytes of the American population within the same age range, 44 year old Parrish claims that the gene therapies she underwent worked and showed that it reversed 20 years of telomere shortening.

As stated, it’s important to note that the results have yet to be verified by an independent source (which is really what science is all about). And Bioviva is still carefully monitoring Parrish’s blood and will continue to do so in the coming months, and even years, to ensure that the success it has seen in leukocytes can translate to the body’s other tissues and organs; or simply if the effects can be safely replicated in other human patients.


BioViva’s Liz Parrish Makes Progress In Controversial Gene Quest To Reverse Aging
By Alan Boyle
April 22, 2016

Original Link

The way BioViva founder Elizabeth Parrish sees it, biological aging is a disease — and she’s willing to bet her life on a cure.

Last fall, the 45-year-old Seattle-area woman underwent an experimental type of gene therapy aimed at addressing some of the big effects of aging, including loss of muscle mass and a shortening of the chromosomes’ telomeres. The procedure was reportedly done in Colombia, to get around U.S. regulations.

The idea of having gene therapy done on yourself raised eyebrows in the biotech community, but Parrish was unfazed.

“I 100 percent believe that it will work, or else I wouldn’t have done it,” Parrish told GeekWire during an interview in February. “I didn’t try to flame out in glory. The research shows that it should absolutely work.”

Now BioViva is reporting that it does seem to work, at least on Parrish’s telomeres. And that’s likely to fuel a debate over the widening scientific quest for greater longevity — conducted not only by BioViva, but by other ventures such as Human Longevity Inc. This week, Human Longevity announced a 10-year deal with AstraZeneca to analyze 500,000 DNA samples for anti-aging clues.

Parrish is already trying to follow up on a couple of clues through Bioviva USA, the privately held company she founded on Bainbridge Island last year. Bioviva announced its own deal this week with a London-based investment fund called Deep Knowledge Life Sciences.

One of BioViva’s anti-aging clues has to do with a protein called myostatin: Research suggests that genetically blocking the production of myostatin could help prevent age-related muscle loss.

The other clue has to do with telomeres, the stretches of DNA at the ends of our chromosomes that are thought to protect our genetic data from harmful mutations — much as the plastic tips on the ends of shoelaces keep them from unraveling. As we age, those telomeres become shorter, and the protective effect is gradually lost.

The gene therapy that Parrish underwent was aimed at inhibiting myostatin and building up telomeres.

In February, Parrish was reluctant to describe the effects. “There are a lot of things I could say — ‘Oh, this has happened, or that has happened’ — but it could all be due to the placebo effect,” she said. “Data is king.”

A bit of data came out this week: The Biogerontology Research Foundation reported that Parrish’s telomeres were short for her age when her white blood cells were tested last September at SpectraCell Laboratories in Houston. But when SpectraCell ran the same test on her cells in March, the telomere length went from 6,710 DNA base pairs to 7,330 base pairs.

The foundation said the lengthening implied that Parrish’s white blood cells had become biologically younger. That’s debatable, however. For one thing, the findings haven’t yet been submitted for peer-reviewed publication. For another, the connection between a change in telomere length and improved cellular function hasn’t been nailed down. Human telomere length can vary widely, from less than 5,000 to more than 15,000 base pairs.

Bottom line? Parrish is likely to continue as a human guinea pig for years to come.

The fact that she went ahead with self-experimentation under less-than-transparent circumstances has rubbed some people the wrong way. Last October, MIT Technology Review said there’s a chance that the experiment could be remembered as “a new low in medical quackery.”

University of Washington medical researcher George Martin resigned from BioViva’s scientific advisory board after he heard what Parrish had done.

“She’s a good-hearted person, and I’m very fond of her,” Martin told GeekWire this week. “But as a physician, I felt very strongly that we had to do clinical trials and pre-clinical trials.”

Parrish herself acknowledged that she didn’t tell any of her scientific advisers about her gene therapy in advance. “They would have had to say no,” she said.

The way she sees it, she had to say yes.

“Over 100,000 people die every day of aging diseases,” she said. “Somebody told me today, they said, ‘You’re so brave.’ Maybe I am, maybe I’m not. What’s brave is knowing that there could be a cure for aging diseases, and not taking it, and deciding that you’re going to wither away. I’m not that brave.”


American Woman Gets Biologically Younger After Gene Therapies
BioViva USA
April 21, 2016

Original Link

Elizabeth Parrish, CEO of Bioviva USA Inc. has become the first human being to be successfully rejuvenated by gene therapy, after her own company’s experimental therapies reversed 20 years of normal telomere shortening.

Telomere score is calculated according to telomere length of white blood cells (T-lymphocytes). This result is based on the average T-lymphocyte telomere length compared to the American population at the same age range. The higher the telomere score, the “younger” the cells.

In September 2015, then 44 year-old CEO of BioViva USA Inc. Elizabeth Parrish received two of her own company’s experimental gene therapies: one to protect against loss of muscle mass with age, another to battle stem cell depletion responsible for diverse age-related diseases and infirmities.

The treatment was originally intended to demonstrate the safety of the latest generation of the therapies. But if early data is accurate, it is already the world’s first successful example of telomere lengthening via gene therapy in a human individual. Gene therapy has been used to lengthen telomeres before in cultured cells and in mice, but never in a human patient.

Telomeres are short segments of DNA which cap the ends of every chromosome, acting as ‘buffers’ against wear and tear. They shorten with every cell division, eventually getting too short to protect the chromosome, causing the cell to malfunction and the body to age.

In September 2015, telomere data taken from Parrish’s white blood cells by SpectraCell‘s specialised clinical testing laboratory in Houston, Texas, immediately before therapies were administered, revealed that Parrish’s telomeres were unusually short for her age, leaving her vulnerable to age-associated diseases earlier in life.

In March 2016, the same tests were taken again by SpectraCell revealed that her telomeres had lengthened by approximately 20 years, from 6.71kb to 7.33kb. This implies that Parrish’s white blood cells (leukocytes) have become biologically younger. These findings were independently verified by the Brussels-based non-profit HEALES (HEalthy Life Extension Company), and the Biogerontology Research Foundation, a UK-based charity committed to combating age-related diseases.

Parrish’s reaction: “Current therapeutics offer only marginal benefits for people suffering from diseases of aging. Additionally, lifestyle modification has limited impact for treating these diseases. Advances in biotechnology is the best solution, and if these results are anywhere near accurate, we’ve made history”, Parrish said.

Bioviva will continue to monitor Parrish’s blood for months and years to come. Meanwhile, BioViva will be testing new gene therapies and combination gene therapies to restore age related damage. It remains to be seen whether the success in leukocytes can expanded to other tissues and organs, and repeated in future patients. For now all the answers lie in the cells of Elizabeth Parrish, ‘patient zero’ of restorative gene therapy.

Since her first gene therapy injections BioViva has received global interest from both the scientific and investment communities. Earlier this month BioViva became a portfolio company of Deep Knowledge Life Sciences (DKLS), a London-based investment fund which aims to accelerate the development of biotechnologies for healthy longevity.

Dmitry Kaminskiy, founding partner of DKLS, said “BioViva has the potential to create breakthroughs in human gene therapy research, while leapfrogging companies in the biotech market.”

About BioViva USA, Inc. is a to-clinic gene therapeutics company incorporated in Delaware. BioViva utilizes intramural and extramural peer-reviewed research in order to create marketable therapies for treating age-related diseases and infirmities — including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, heart-disease, cancer, sarcopenia and kidney failure — at the level of the genome. For more information visit:

About Deep Knowledge Life Sciences (DKLS): An innovative investment fund which aims to accelerate the development of biotechnologies for healthy longevity. It is London-based subsidiary of Deep Knowledge Ventures (DKV). DKLS has gathered eight life science portfolio companies of DKV, including BioViva USA Inc., Insilico Medicine and Pathway Pharmaceuticals.

For more information on SpectraCell:

For more information on HEALES:









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