Telome Health, Inc. (THINC), a biotechnology firm based in Menlo Park, CA has launched the beginning phase of a research study that will measure and analyze age-based average telomere lengths of Bay Area residents.
THINC is Chaired by Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, who shares executive and advisory functions with co-founders Elissa Epel (Ph D UCSF), and Cal Harley (Ph D), who served as Chief Scientific Officer of the Geron biotech corporation before becoming President and Chief Scientific Adviser of Telome Health.
The clinical trial, a first of its kind for THINC, is yet to collect any samples from participants, but researchers have begun to review applications to select participants that will go on to have their telomere lengths measured. Each trial member will be given a small compensation for their participation in the study, which involves three separate fasting blood draw and saliva collections over the course of a year. Research subjects can also request in depth reports of their average telomere length, along with educational information about telomeres and health.
Prospective members should be aware of the trial’s requirements, which include being a healthy man or woman between the ages of 20 and 79, a resident of the SF Bay Area, English Speaking, and the willingness to maintain stable health behaviors over a twelve-month period.
A few restrictions disqualify residents with certain chronic illnesses, current smokers, people who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 35, and those who take certain supplements daily.
For this writer, Telome Health’s new clinical trial strikes a more personal note. I am a research participant in this study, pending a final signature of consent. As I begin this project as a subject, one question has found its way to the focal point of my consciousness: What will my telomeres reveal about me?
The answer? I don’t know. But I hope to find out. I think.
Throughout my research in telomeres, I’ve run into a wide spectrum of information, ranging from intellectually demanding scientific journals to downright sensationalistic claims of immortality and eternal youth. I can’t say I’m not intrigued by the idea of knowing my biological age (versus chronological age), but what I’m looking forward to most is using this experience as a perspective builder, so that I’ll have a clearer understanding of both the telomeres literature and my own health, to strengthen my ability to mediate between media and truth. I hope that connecting personal experience with telomeres literature will enhance this website and provide readers with a more personalized approach to the science of aging as a whole. The ultimate goal of participating in this health study is to share my experience and insights with others to help empower our online health community. Even more, I’m looking forward to connecting with fellow Bay Area residents who’ll also be part of this study!