Debate regarding the safety and efficacy of the telomerase activator TA-65
As discussed elsewhere on this site, most of the cells in the human body have a finite potential to replicate and repair tissues. As a result, we say that these cells are "mortal." The clock that controls this cell aging process is located at the end of the DNA strands, a region called the telomere. In the case of cells that perpetuate the species, the reproductive cells, they can escape this aging so that babies are born young. The immortality of these reproductive cells is accomplished by a gene called the catalytic component of telomerase. When turned on, the gene makes a protein that rewinds the clock of cell aging. There are reports of natural products that can turn on the telomerase gene in the human body. In the following debate, Michael West and William Andrews debate the safety of one of these products called TA-65. Dr. West takes the position that in otherwise young and healthy individuals, the long-term use of products such as TA-65 may raise the risk of cancer without significant health benefits.