A biotechnology initiative called Libella Gene Therapeutics claims that the genetic therapy she is currently developing could slow down aging. For $1 million, the company will offer older customers an experimental treatment that tells them that they will extend their telomeres, which sit at the end of our chromosomes, such as protective caps, but shrink as we get older.
Libella uses technology to transfer a specific gene to patient cells while telomeres are being reconstructed. The company estimates that customers will slow down their aging, or even make them look younger. Libella recommends injecting patients with the virus that carries the molecule needed to increase the length of telomeres. Libella CEO Jeff Mathissaid he knew what he was trying to do was like science fiction, but he believed it was a science reality. However, experts in the field are not convinced by saying that what the company is doing is commercial.
Leigh Turner, a biology expertat the University of Minnesota, said that although Libella Gene Therapeutics is based in the United States, they have managed to find a way to evade US federal law. This is happening outside the United States, 40km north of Bogota, in Zipaquirá, because the necessary permits are not available. Turner said the biotech company did not conduct its anti-aging experiment at any major hospital, but instead chose a low-budget clinic, which was troubling. Turner added that he thinks this is a study that many things might go wrong.
It’s also unclear where Libella got the viruses needed for treatment. Virovek, a California-based company known as libella’s producer, refuses to answer questions. As a result, Libella promises something that can happen in science fiction films, but how real it is is debatable.