Dr. Lawrence has a Jurisprudence Degree (UCLA-Law), an MS in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Nutrition. Since 1990 his focus has been on slowing and reversing human biological aging. He has developed numerous science-based protocols focused on optimal aging for health professionals and individual clients. Presently Dr. Lawrence is the administrator of two clinical studies to determine if human biological age can be reversed. NB- Dr. Lawrence is chronologically 72. His ‘biological age,’ based on telomere length is 45.
Q. Dr. Lawrence, before we get into specifics regarding what you have achieved with your research and clinical studies, can I ask you why are you involved in anti-aging research? I’m asking because often these personal stories can be most enlightening.
A. It’s self-preservation, I am nearly 73, but unfortunately, my family genealogy records show, in the last two hundred years, no male lived beyond seventy. One could say; “I am in overtime!” (hopefully, not the sudden-death type!)
Most of my ancestors died between the ages of forty and sixty-five, including my father at age 65. In the last two years three of my siblings, all in their sixties died. When people greet me with; “How are you?” my response is always; “I’m doing great- I woke up breathing this morning!”
Q. Some authors use early photos of themselves. How recent is this photo of you?
A. Four months.
Q. Impressive, you certainly look closer to your telomere age and thank you for your personal story. I guess that the obvious question is- can human biological age be reversed?
A. It can, but I want to clarify this though, as I believe both ‘biological age’ and ‘age reversal’ are misnomers and I generally avoid using those terms. More accurately, we can now slow down and reverse the average ‘cellular age’ of humans which results in significant life and health-span extension.
Today there is a scientific consensus that cell aging, the number of times our cells can replicate (the Hayflick Limit), determines human longevity and it also drives age-related disease.
Q. So what causes cell aging?
A.There are numerous factors including lifestyle, diet, free radicals, glycation, pathogens, toxic environmental exposure, as well as ‘wear and tear.’ Telomere shortening is one of the primary causes. Methylation issues are also a recently discovered cause.
Telomeres are sections of genetic material at the end of our chromosomes.
Telomere function is to preserve cell integrity and prevent chromosomal ‘fraying’ as cells replicate. Cell replication is necessary for life and each replication results in telomere loss.
Eventually, with enough telomere loss, cellular function, and maintenance decline.
With enough cellular damage tissue repair slows, organs and systems deteriorate and become dysfunctional. Gene expression is then altered, resulting in age acceleration, vulnerability to age-related diseases, disability and finally, death. This cascade of inevitable events can be significantly delayed by restoring telomeres.
Q. Are there clinical studies which confirm the telomere theory of aging is an accurate explanation of why humans age?
A. Yes, there are several thousand studies referenced on PubMed confirming the relationship between telomeres and aging. Many of those clinical studies have shown the all-cause mortality rate of people with shorter telomeres was significantly higher compared to those with longer telomeres.
The Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded in 2009 for the discovery of the telomerase enzyme and how telomeres protect chromosomes, which results in increased cell replication, and longer healthier lifespans.
Michael Fossel, M.D., Ph.D., who you interviewed several years ago, has written one of the most comprehensive books on aging, The Telomerase Revolution. In evaluating the various aging theories, he concludes: “Telomerase activation is the single most promising approach to reversing the effects of aging.” Dr. Fossel is also the author of the telomere textbook used in most American medical schools.
Q. Are there clinical studies which confirm a relationship between telomere length and mortality?
A. Yes, numerous studies. For instance, a study supported by the National Institutes of Health reported in a study of over 100,000 people 65 or older, those with the shortest telomeres had a more than 20 percent higher risk of death in the following three years than those with longer telomeres.
Q. Are short telomeres associated with disease?
A. Yes. Many studies confirm people with longer telomeres not only live longer but experience less disease. PubMed has over 4,000 clinical studies referencing telomere length and disease. These include cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, cognitive decline, COPD, stroke, arthritis, osteoporosis, etc.
A 2003 study published in The Lancet, reported mortality as a result of heart disease was over three times higher in individuals with shorter telomeres and eight times higher from infectious diseases.
The Journal of the American Medical Association (2010) reported an international team of doctors compared telomere length against instances of cancer in 787 patients. The patients with the shortest telomeres had three times greater risk of cancer than patients of the same age who had slightly longer telomeres. Short telomeres increased the risk of cancer and also seemed to make cancer more virulent. Short telomere length doubles the mortality rate of cancer.
Dr. William Andrews, one of the world’s leading authorities on telomerase biology, has written: “Almost every known disease can be attributed to the shortening of telomeres.”
Progressive telomere shortening is likely the primary cause of skin aging. It is possible management of telomere length could slow, stop and, possibly reverse skin aging.
Q. Is it possible to measure the length of a person’s telomeres?
A. Yes. Testing has improved over the years and a reasonable approximation of ‘telomere age’ or ‘cellular age’ is now possible.
A newborn has an average telomere length of 10,000 bps (base pairs). An adult of 20-30 years has an average telomere length of approximately 8,000 bps. Humans lose 35-150 base pairs per year. When telomeres reach a critical level of fewer than 4000-5000 bps, cell replication is impaired, and a cascade of serious health issues occur together with an increased of risk of death.
Specific telomere length is less important than changes in length over time. A person that who loses 50 bps versus 150 bps per year is aging much slower and at a decreased risk of disease and mortality.
Q. Can telomeres be restored or ‘lengthened?’
A. Yes. The key to health-span and extended longevity is to activate an enzyme, telomerase, which restores telomere length.
American scientists erroneously claim they discovered the telomerase enzyme. They are still looking for a safe and effective way to activate it.
More than thirty years ago, Russian scientists discovered how to ‘turn on’ telomerase using specific short-chain amino acids, referred to as ‘Peptide Bioregulators.’ Their published results confirm that these Russian peptides activate the telomerase enzyme to ‘turn on’ relevant genes, stop telomere loss, and lengthen telomeres resulting in a longer and healthier lifespan.
Q. Are there clinical studies that confirm the Peptide Bioregulators can restore telomeres and reduce all-cause mortality?
A.Yes. Both Russian studies (2003) and the interim results of my American clinical study, Telomerase Activation Protocol (TAP), confirm the Peptide Bioregulators restore telomere length.
In the ongoing TAP telomere study, of 22 subjects with two or more telomere tests, 96% experienced lengthened telomeres over baseline while 4% maintained their baseline telomere length even though a year older at their secondary test. The average decrease in their ‘telomere’ or ‘biological age’ was 16.9 years over two years.
In the 1990s Prof. Vladimir Khavinson, Director the St. Petersburg Institute of Bioregulation and Gerontology conducted a human clinical study, published in Russia in 2003, to determine if Peptide Bioregulators could enhance the health and extend the lifespan of humans.
In the Russian study, there were two groups of subjects based on age, ‘Elderly and Old’ (the Russians are not the most diplomatic). In each group, there was a ‘peptide’ group and a ‘control’ group of non-peptide subjects.
In the ‘Elderly’ group (60-74 years of age) over twelve years, the control group (non-peptide) experienced higher all-cause mortality (44.1%) while the peptide group experienced significantly less mortality (22.3%). In other words, the peptide group reduced death by fifty percent!
In the ‘Old Age’ group (75-89 years of age) the results were even more dramatic. The non-peptide control group, during the six years of the study, experienced all-cause mortality of 81.8%. The peptide group had significantly less mortality of 33.3%. In other words, the peptide group had a survival rate of 66.7 % compared to 18.2% in the non-peptide group. (See Figure 2 that details the precise statistics).
Unfortunately, these studies are either ignored or generally unknown outside of Russia and eastern Europe. If a USA pharmaceutical company produced these results with a drug, it would be broadcast on every media in America and considered to be one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time!
In addition to the dramatic decrease in all-cause human mortality, the studies reported improvement of many biomarkers including memory and physical performance, bone tissue density, immune enhancement, and telomere lengthening.
Q. I understand you are engaged in a second biological-age clinical study having to do with epigenetics and methylation. So far, we’ve managed to publish two books about the technology, one scientific reference titled; peptides in the epigenetic control of ageing and the other a public booklet, by Dr. Marios Kyriazis titled; the peptide bioregulator revolution.
Q. What can you tell us about this new clinical study?
A. The new clinical study is the ‘Epigenetic Methylation Study’ (EMS), as measured by the Horvath Epigenetic Clock.
Dr. Steven Horvath is a biostatistician scientist at UCLA, he has developed a very accurate way of measuring biological age versus chronological age.
This is done by measuring methylation on various DNA sites linked to aging and specific genes. Prof. Horvath discovered hundreds of age-related DNA sites where methylation changes could be observed which in turn effect DNA and ultimately genes.
As we age, there are changes to our DNA caused by methylation. The result is methylation found at specific DNA sites turn off certain genes which are generally protective and turn on genes which promote aging. The scientific explanation is that chemical changes to cytosine—one of the four DNA bases, or ‘letters’ of the genetic code—make genes more-or-less active (on/off), and this is age-related.
The changes in a person’s DNA can determine whether the person’s body is aging unusually fast or slowly. Dr. Horvath tested this epigenetic clock on 13,000 blood samples collected decades ago, from people whose subsequent date of death was known. The results revealed that the ‘clock’ could be used to accurately predict mortality.
Dr. Horvath while acknowledging the clock accuracy has expressed his frustration because he, and other scientists, are unaware of any effective intervention to modify the ‘toxic’ methylation and reverse biological aging.
Our preliminary data suggest that Peptide Bioregulators can reverse the methylation aging process and “rewind the clock.”
A very simplistic way to think about all of this is an analogy to an automobile. Telomeres are like the tread levels on tires. The more tread the further you can travel. Longer telomeres allow for increased cell replication, about 40% more than the ‘normal’ Hayflick Limit.
More cell replication results in longer life and less disease. We know from Russian clinical studies, and three years of the American Telomerase Activation Protocol (TAP) clinical study, the Peptide Bioregulators can lengthen telomeres.
Methylation can be compared to the operational parts of an automobile (engine, transmission, fuel system, electrical, etc.) As these components wear out the operation of the vehicle is impaired-even with ample tread remaining on the tires.
We have preliminary evidence we can ‘repair’ the operational aspects with the Peptide Bioregulators which will result in less age-related methylation, which in turn will restore DNA to a ‘younger’ state.
The EMS study is now underway. We use Dr. Horvath’s technology licensed by UCLA, to test the subject's baseline methylation levels which provide a methylation-based ‘biological’ age. We then create a Peptide Bioregulator protocol to reverse the methylation-based biological age.
Q. Another important question to ask is- have you seen any adverse side-effects with the peptides?
A. Peptide Bioregulators have been used for over thirty years in Russia, as well as the last four years in America, without any negative side-effects.
Q. In summary what do you anticipate the results of these two studies will have on human biological aging?
A.We know we can reset the telomere biological clock. We expect to do the same with the methylation clock. Our preliminary results suggest a 20-40% increase in human longevity and a significant reduction in all-cause mortality, death, and disability from heart disease, cancer, and many other diseases.
Q. In 2015, Dr. Fossel, wrote; “We are on the brink of an enormous leap forward, in which we will become capable of reversing the aging process in an obvious and striking way. We are about to not only cure and prevent age-related diseases but reset the aging process itself.” Now, it is four years later, so are we there yet?
Q. I can appreciate that this is going to take a little time to sink in with a lot of people, even those who are heavily involved in the field. But right now, this does in my humble opinion represent an extraordinary possibility for a positive intervention in biological aging. Furthermore, this must be one of the most cost-effective approaches available today, for what is, after all, a cutting-edge protocol. How can folks get in touch with you if they want to enroll into your professional monitored program?
A. If people are interesting in joining my program, they can read all the enrolment details and contact me via this website: www.telomere.clinic
Q. Dr. Lawrence, I’d like to thank you very much for all your time today, we greatly appreciate health professionals like yourself who are pushing the boundaries, so that we may all live as-long-as possible, as healthy as possible.
A. As you would say Phil- Cheers! And, I look forward to both of us waking up tomorrow-breathing!