Testing at Gemtec

One man, William Henry Andrews, PH.D, made it his life’s mission to solve and find a cure to human aging – spending the past 20 years of his career, as an molecular biologist and gerontologist, researching the prospect of eternal youth.

In 1999, Bill Andrews founded Sierra Sciences in Reno, Nevada, and dedicated his time to his discoveries at Geron, with the prime purpose of finding a cure to human aging. Underwritten by investors; Richard Offerdahl and Pierluigi Zappacosta, Dr. Andrews assembled a team which focused on discovering a small molecule that would bind to a telomerase repressor, causing the body to constitutively express telomerase in the presence of that molecule.

Between 1999 and 2005, Sierra Sciences’ made their primary focus to identify a telomerase repressor protein, in the hope that a drug could be specifically designed to bind to it. During this period, Geron Corporation discovered TA-65, a small-molecule telomerase activator, derived from Astragalus membranaceus. Sierra Sciences tested its efficacy, and shortly after, Dr. Andrews became the first paying customer to take the supplement.

In 2005, Dr. Andrews suspended Sierra Sciences’ attempts to identify the telomerase repressor protein and instead switched to the “brute force,” – a system designed for developing the examination of large numbers of semi-random chemicals, determining whether they carry telomerase.

After nearly two years of screening, in November 2007, Sierra Sciences discovered the chemical C0056784, which induces approximately six percent as much telomerase, as is found in the immortal cancer cell line HeLa.

In 2008, using this new chemical (C0057684) as a positive control, Sierra Sciences developed a much more sensitive real-time, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), based high-throughput screening assay, the “hTERT RT-PCR assay,” enabling the team to screen 4,000 chemicals per week.

In 2010, Dr. Andrews and Sierra Sciences entered into an agreement with John Anderson, founder of Isagenix International, to use this assay to screen natural ingredients for telomerase activity. A year later, based on the assay’s results, Isagenix launched Product B, a telomere- supporting nutraceutical.

About The Author

Branka Duric

Beauty Editor experienced in writing on Fashion, Beauty, Health & Skincare.