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Doubt Casts on Science Behind TA-65 Supplement

Updated on September 9, 2010

Carol W. Greider and Elizabeth Blackburn were awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in medicine for their discovery of telomerase in 1984. It was a game changer for the scientific community as it expanded upon theories about why humans age.

Telomeres are found at the end of a strand of DNA. As it is a biological marker of aging, those with short telomeres are advanced in their lifespan while children have long telomeres. It was previously believed that every time cells divide, the telomere is shortened. New research has proven that this is an oversimplification. The body has the ability to use telomerase to repair telomeres but can’t keep up with the overaccumulation of damage. Ultimately it is a losing battle for the telomeres however, at least until science finds a way to increase the activity of telomerase in the body.

Biotech companies specializing in anti-aging research such as T.A. Sciences and Sierra Sciences are attempting to find compounds that most effectively activate telomerase.

To date Sierra Sciences has screened 254, 593 compounds and have found 858 telomerase inducers. Scientists are able to keep up this break-neck speed of testing 4,000 compounds per week by using robots to do the grunt work. It appears Dr. Andrews and his team is looking for a homerun before proceeding with further studies.

Although a different company produces it, Andrews has faith that TA-65 is a supplement worth taking. The problem is that wishful thinking may be blinding his objectivity. Many of us want radical life extension treatment at our fingertips but that doesn’t make it so. Frankly, more testing needs to be done before TA-65 can be accepted into the mainstream.

Enthusiasts taking it now are experimenting on themselves. There’s nothing wrong with that as it is an individual choice. The reward of longer telomeres is great, but the costs may even bigger. Dr. West has raised concerns that TA-65 may work against the body’s natural anticancer program.

Founder of T.A. Sciences Noel Thomas Patton (far right) with Greta Blackburn and Dr. Mehmet Oz .
Founder of T.A. Sciences Noel Thomas Patton (far right) with Greta Blackburn and Dr. Mehmet Oz .

Even immortalist and tranhumanist groups aren’t buying into the hype. Some are going as far as to call the Patton Protocol a “scam” (allegedly). First off, the price is far too extravagant for the average wage earner. 6 months supply of TA-65 alone ranges from $1,200 to $4,000 depending on the dose you require. I ‘m guessing older individual are leaned towards the supercharged formula.

That’s TA-65 on the cheap. Get ready for the full course below.

  • Initial tests cost $2,890.
  • 6 month supply of full Patton Protocol costs $6,225.
  • Lab work done by Quest Labs costs up to $890.
  • Doctor’s direct consultation fees are an additional $500.
  • So, the Total is a mere $10,505.

The second issue that raises skepticism concerns the main active ingredient of TA-65. It is a proprietary, patented formula and T.A. Sciences prefers to be vague about the contents in their literature. The problem with this is consumers can’t look up research papers on pubmed.org to confirm or disprove the company’s claims. There are rumours that it is either made from Astragaloside IV or cycloastragenol. Both are extracted from the herb Astragalus, the ladder being the most potent version.

The third and final concern is the potential cancer threat. In a Life Extension Foundation article, Dr. West wrote:

“To overuse the car analogy, in aging we see a highway littered with cars that have run out of gas, so to speak. So the question is can we find a way to fill up the gas tank of the aging cells in our body, to reawaken telomerase just enough to rewind the clock of cellular aging without causing an undue risk of runaway cells and cancer.”

The Verdict

TA-65 may very well be the first effective “youth pill” not to be a total sham. Without conclusive evidence that it does indeed work, parting with $1,200 to $10,505, depending on the extent of the treatment seems imprudent.

If you aren’t a fabulously rich individual with the spirit of a mad scientist, stick with resveratrol. Although its anti-aging powers uncertain as well, at least it has a pile of research papers citing numerous health benefits to back it up.

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      josephp 6 years ago

      AN EXCELLENT ARTICLE. Made me sad and enraged. The web is getting saturated by sleek, clever and up market promotions some "secret formula" hidden from the public or some special supplement or foodstuff that will be revealed only if signed up and paid for the privilege. No compassion, no philanthropy, only the $ sign poorly masked for those savvy but a clever lure for the innocent, naïve and/or in need! Some whom I respected eventually get addicted to profit. So those with sufficient funds keep buying time and services, supplements etc. and leave offspring according to evolutionary observations. These likely continue be part of the ruling elite who is not known to possess and educated heart.-

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      Gern 6 years ago

      While it is prudent to be concerned about side effects of any new and unproven supplement, the trend demonstrated here is similar to what is seen thoughout the industry. There are numerous researchers and doctors speculating about the potential for telemerase to cause cancer because the production of it is turned on in cancer cells, but little to no actual research or data that shows any increase in cancer whatsoever.

    • NCBIer profile image

      NCBIer 6 years ago

      Good article! Be wary of anyone claiming to be on the verge of “curing” aging. It is simply not possible to keep people “young and healthy forever” as they claim (http://www.sierrasci.com/). Like resveratrol, TA-65 is not and will not be regulated by the FDA. The paper itself is has not been published yet, but you can view a summary of the article at this link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20822369.

    • profile image

      Mike 6 years ago

      I just heard of TA 65 a few days ago (Nov 20 2010). I just got around to googling it today. Yikes, telomerase activator, protector, or what ever. The first thing I thought of was CANCER! It would be great if TA65 were actually effective and safe. But I would be VERY CAREFUL with it. Much of the mechanism of carcenogenesis is alterations in the expression and control of genes not just the genes (alleles), i.e. DNA base sequences themselves. Helping cancer cells live longer is probably not a good idea. As you know many possible cancer treatments being developed involve "helping cancer cells burn through their telomeres so they can no longer reproduce, i.e., you help cancer cells age fast". I have a degree in biology and have fair knowledge of molecular genetics. I would not base my faith on a technology from one source, I'd like to see research from many independent study's, DCD, FDA, Mayo Clinic, Harvard U. M.C., Stanford U. M.C., etc. Feel free to experiment on your own body, I guess they skipped the Rats on this one. Also remember biology or medicine can not change the laws of physics. Noting thermodynamics, you can not stop entropy! Disorder or aging always increases.

    • D.Virtual.Doctor profile image

      Funom Theophilus Makama 6 years ago from Europe

      Telomerase is an enzyme that adds DNA sequence repeats ("TTAGGG" in all vertebrates) to the 3' end of DNA strands in the telomere regions, which are found at the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes. This region of repeated nucleotide repeats called telomeres contain condensed DNA material and prevents constant loss of important DNA from chromosome ends. As a result, every time the chromosome is copied only a couple telomeres are lost, which causes no damage to the organism. Telomerase is a reverse transcriptase that carries its own RNA molecule, which is used as a template when it elongates telomeres, which are shortened after each replication cycle. The existence of a compensatory shortening of telomere (telomerase) mechanism was first predicted by Soviet biologist Alexey Olovnikov in 1973,[1] who also suggested the telomere hypothesis of aging and the telomere's connections to cancer. Telomerase was discovered by Carol W. Greider and Elizabeth Blackburn in 1984 in the ciliate Tetrahymena.[2] Together with Jack W. Szostak, Greider and Blackburn were awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery

      This is such an awesome hub. Very contemporary and indeed breath- taking. I am so privileged to read this hub because I am duly informed and educated. Hoping to read more of such hubs from you. Cheers!

      D.Virtual.Doctor

    • profile image

      Jamal shamon 6 years ago

      I would like to know the prises and the adress and more informaition about TA 65 in case to order it at the future

    • profile image

      jamal shamon 6 years ago

      jamal.shamon@gmail.com

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      drdave 6 years ago

      This is comical. A classic case of blind leading the deaf. The least scientific thing said here was not about TA-65, it was about resveratrol. Talk about hype. yep better stick with that while your telomeres shorten!

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      geo 6 years ago

      from la times story jul 6 2010

      Now, in a study just published in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., Austrian researchers reported that people with shorter telomeres are more likely to develop cancers.

      The researchers measured telomere length in the leukocytes (a type of white blood cell) of 787 people in 1995. The scientists sorted the people into three groups based on their blood cells' telomere length: longest, middle and shortest.

      Over the next 10 years, 92 developed cancer. The researchers found that the risk of cancer was twice as high in the middle-length group compared with the longest-length group. It was three times higher in the shortest-length group compared with the longest-length group.

      This makes sense, the authors wrote, given that telomeres keep chromosomes stable and cancer is associated with rearrangements of chromosomes that can result in some genes working overtime and others not at all -- causing cells that shouldn't proliferate to begin multiplying out of control.

      http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/booster_shots/2010...

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      drdave 6 years ago

      For the past 3 years I have been reading misinformation listening to internet pontification and doing my best to educate people about telomeres and telomerase. Now the research keeps piling up and its like Schopenhauer: first violently opposed then ridiculed and then accepted as if everyone knew it all along. Telomeres are the master switch to extended health and longevity everything ultimately points that way. How does TA-65 look now? Too expensive? a scam? Let me guess more research is needed.

      And where did i put that resveratrol?

    • profile image

      drdave 6 years ago

      One other thing to the lady who thinks they skipped the mouse studies. Look up Perry et al. on Pub med. You'll find no increased cancer conversion in mouse models for cancer on TA-65. Look up DePinho on same and you'll find essentially a repeat of a study done 10 years ago: turn on telomerase in mouse models of aging and you can reverse it not stop it not slow it down but reverse it. Look up DePinho and Passos and you'll find why teloemres ultimately control mitochondrail fate. For the CR fans look up telomeres and mTor and FOXO and you'll find how telomeres control those pathways as well as P53 and PPAR gamma. Every major cellular "anti-aging switch so far ultimately has telomere control. My prediction: sirtuins will be next to fall. Dang where did I put that resveratrol!?

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      David Dressler 6 years ago

      I am somewhat acquainted with TA Sciences from the inside. A few years ago I consulted with them to see about bringing the Patton Protocol and TA-65 into Canada. I was shown research that should allay fears that TA-65 might cause cancer: it doesn't. Also, at the time, the procedure in the US cost about $22,000US per patient and was being administered by Dr. Al Sears in Florida,he being the second MD in the US to be licensed by TA Sciences to do the protocol. It is certainly possible to get published research from TA Sciences to allay suspicions that 1) TA-65 is oncogenic (causes cancer), 2) TA-65 does not work (on the contrary).

    • profile image

      Ta 65 User 6 years ago

      Correct me if Im wrong please ( and Im certain many of you will :) ).

      Cancer is normally kept in check via your immune system. At any given point in time your body does and will have cells that exhibit anomolies that could be deemed as cancerous or cancer like. It is simply the unchecked growth and the in ability of your immune system to identify these cancer like cell that leads to tumors/cancer. This is why indiviuals with aids for example, who have compromised immune systems, often present with very unusual and rare forms of cancer.

      I have a few concerns with the arguments used by anit-ta65 arguments.

      1. There is the preception that taking ta65 will some how cause cancer cells that already do not have telemere degredation to become more prolific???

      2. Its fact that an improved and healthy immune system will reduce the risk of cancer, this supplement has show to do just that. If increasing telomere length leads to a healthier and more youthful immune system and would better enable it to identify potentially cancerous cells then what is the underlying rational??

      3. There is the assumption that people would be taking ta65 at the same time as telomerase inhibiting drugs used to fight cancer?? I believe if you actuall y read the bottle and material provided by TA sciences it is quite the opposite.

      The supplement is NOT an anti-cancer drug/supplement and Im fairly certain that if I had been diagnosed with cancer that was unchecked I would stop taking it.

      That being said there are still numerous quesitons to be answerd on both sides. Hope this helps to point out a few key flaws in some of the views presented

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      dan 6 years ago

      I take TA-65 and see results ...

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      edward 6 years ago

      By the way lower PH in a humans can be perfect for cancer growth .A higher nortmal ph can help keep cancer away. Soda pop lower a human body PH so why do you all drink soda pop ... HMMM ...... Soda pure trash for your body .

    • profile image

      Sir Stephen 6 years ago

      Quit eating sugar supplemented foods and drink. No pills, potions, or drink will overcome the poisons generated by refined sugars in all its marketing names.

      Consider, for all practical purposes, that these added sugars are long term chronic addictive poisons. If you will treat these particular food additives with distain you

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      Dr. Sarkozy 5 years ago

      Without a doubt TA-65 promotes the development of cancer

    • thinghopper profile image

      thinghopper 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe

      Ridiculous

      This is sales hype for a different product.

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