In this fifteenth episode, Liz Parrish shares her quest for radical life extension and details her two completed gene therapies. She describes the regenerative medical tourism available today for increased lifespan and costs. She relates her company's mission to create a human that regenerates faster than they degenerate. She details her upcoming gene therapies, including upgraded IQ.
Lee: Hello and welcome to the Quantified Health, Wellness and Aging podcast, Liz.
Liz: Thanks for having me, Lee. It’s great to be here.
Lee: I greatly appreciate having you. I’ll jump straight in here. In two thousand and… I almost said 2005… 2015, you flew to Bogota, Colombia and you made controversial medical history. You were a self-appointed guinea pig in the quest for radically increased longevity. You received a hundred injections to inhibit both the enzyme telomerase and myostatin. And since then, you’ve continued as a harbinger of a new era in medicine, in which people receive genetic modifications to not just halt aging but to reverse aging. Would that be a fair introduction?
Lee: Yeah, yeah. I should have worded that a little differently [laughter]. Let’s start with a few personal questions. Are you scared of death?
Liz: I am not, actually. I don’t think that somebody who runs out and does an experimental therapy is afraid of death. I think that a lot of people probably get that wrong about me. I was looking for cures for kids. In 2013, my son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I had already spent two years doing a nonprofit volunteering my time for the advocacy of the use and education of stem cells, so I had seen all this fantastic regenerative medicine technology.
Liz: I fell in love with genetics because I was working with epigeneticists as to why stem cells work the way they do, because every cells in our body have the same genes. We have the same chromosomes. But why do some cells have special abilities and, in this case, the ability to regenerate systems?
Liz: I had already sort of spun off into my love of genetics but when my son was diagnosed, it threw me into a world of sick children. And when I was at the hospital with him, I asked them, “What sort of therapeutics do you have in stem cells and genetics?” And they said, “Look, your son has a treatable disease. There are kids here who are dying. Please, just relax and learn to take insulin.” It really never fit into my head that there were kids there that were dying when I had read all of this fantastic, amazing research in the realm of stem cells and genetics. I had just spent two years doing that.
Liz: So I went looking for cures for kids and then I ran into the aging research. Every gene that BioViva looks at actually treats a childhood disease and the disease of aging. When I took those gene therapies, I took those as my gift to humanity. I took those knowing that I could have a negative, serious outcome, that I could die, but that I also might be able to help billions of people live better than they had been living and have a better future.
Liz: So I am not afraid of death. I would say that I am afraid of being a dependent. I don’t want to be sickly and have people have to care for me. I don’t want to suffer, and I don’t want the people around me to suffer. But I’m not afraid of dying.
Lee: You had said… Related to that… the technology sits in the labs for years, and… Technology, which has been shown to work and lab models… and you want to speed up technologies which help humans stay in homeostasis for as long as possible. This is what you’re saying, you want to create more robust human beings?
Liz: Yeah, absolutely. The goal of the company is to create a human that regenerates faster than they degenerate, therefore having a longer healthspan. And if that’s an indefinite healthspan, I’m all for that. I mean, no intelligent species wants to die. I mean, we don’t have any reason to desire that. We have a lot of industry built around that, a lot of religions built around giving meaning to that. But I think we can all agree, regardless of our religions and beliefs, that today we want to be alive, that we choose life over death. And we show it in our spending. We spend most of the money that we will ever spend on healthcare trying to stay alive at the end of life. So we choose life over death, and I certainly do, and our goal is to extend that as far as people would like to experience life itself.
Lee: Do you think we have more suffering today due to illness than we did in the past? The reason I ask that is because from a young child, I was washed with a… I was going to use the word dogma… The “Hey, these are utopian times in which we live. We live much longer, but it’s because we live much longer that we have chronic disease.” I’ve really been questioning that. Do you think that we may have lived in better healthspan quite some time ago in human history?
Liz: There’s some argument that we lived in better healthspan before farming. The introduction of farming and pushing animals in closer to human confines is believed, by some historians, to have decreased healthspan. But if you actually look at modern life the last couple hundred years, we have vastly increased healthspan through science and technology.
Liz: Antibiotics and immunizations are the first real preventative and predictive medicine for changing the outcome of how long we live. We live better now than we have, at least historically, in the last couple hundred years. If you want to look at something like chronic disease, yes, we probably died in shorter timeframes in the past of infectious disease, but now we have chronic diseases so now people are vastly spending about a third of their life in a chronic condition. And that is not good. That’s not something that we want to aspire to, and we want to have science step in now and do what it’s done in the past, which is increase healthspan once again.
Lee: Don’t you think that the… I would contend that in the last 30, 40, maybe 50 years it appears we’ve been having decreased healthspan or a rise in chronic disease… Metabesity… because of lifestyles, highly processed foods, lack of sunlight, higher stress, et cetera, and also possibly food guidelines which were wrong, a healthy whole grains, avoid fats, cut salt, et cetera. So don’t you think that it’s actually lifestyles which are ruining the bulk of health?
Liz: Yeah, I mean, I would argue that it’s genetics that are really the ruin because we have a hundred percent risk of mortality no matter what we do without modifying our genome. We know that by lifestyle interventions, by eating correctly and not smoking, we can… Just the cessation of smoking itself increased lifespan by six years on average in the whole population. There are a lot of things that we could be doing to live, yes, even healthier and better just within the parameters of lifestyle. You could probably add 6, 10, 12 years of much more healthy, active life. But if we want to break the barriers of the diseases of aging, it’s really going to be a genetic undertaking.
Lee: Before I go on to radical life extension, please correct me if I’m wrong, often I perceived those in… What I’ll call the radical life extension community… As not paying enough attention to the fundamentals of health. Often, it can be people in the crypto space who are staying up all night, sitting at computers, et cetera. Very interested in life extension, but paying… Eating pizzas, getting very little sunlight, et cetera, and something just doesn’t strike me right by trying to fix downstream issues that come downstream from those actions. Surely, we must get the basic actions of lifestyle correct, including basic supplementation like zinc, magnesium, and so forth first.
Liz: Well, I think that we can actually do them in tangent. People want quality and quantity. And a lot of people, because of the new way of living behind a computer with this dietary lifestyle that drives obesity, their desires for taste, cravings, over doing without… Look, I’m a vegetarian. I’ve been a vegetarian for probably, what, I don’t know, over 20 years. You and I might be better at doing without than other people. And I don’t think that it’s easier for us. I think that we’re just willing to make those changes, but other people don’t want to. I think that wanting it all is an okay thing, but it’s just going to have to be sorted out genetically.
Liz: It would be optimal if people went out and lived better lifestyles, healthier lifestyles, and did all of the correct things, but there… For instance, just with diet, there are so many diets out there. Now, you and I know that eating has to be a lifestyle and that’s how you have good maintenance, but really, for most people, the jury is still out on what works. Some people might run to a certain type of diet that makes you lose weight and think that that’s healthy, whereas in the long-term, that diet may have a detriment and the reason that you lose a lot of weight is because you’re basically pushing your system all the way to the limit. It just really hasn’t been sorted out in a clear and concise way, and I think that if you have a clear and concise way and a healthy diet that you can actually share that works with most people, you have to get out there and share that information.
Liz: That’s just a really heated, difficult area to get into, of what exactly do people need and what type of supplementation they should take, and I think that people… Yes, they should be looking into that and optimizing that. I think that that doesn’t circumvent, though, the desire to have optimal health with less effort, and I think that that is where genetics will go.
Liz: For instance, PGC-1? could take people who are grossly obese and help them curb their BMI back into a normal range in which they might have more energy and more excess of ATP to actually become more active. Some bodies are hindered from the get-go. For instance, a lot of people say, “Is genetic modification… Is that enhancement or is that preventative medicine?” Well, it’s really both.
Liz: And then they say, “Well, isn’t that gene doping? Doesn’t that give you an advantage over other people?” But people who are born with athletic genes or other so inclined genes that make them maybe better at mathematics or music… These are actually known areas. There are sports genes. For instance, there’s a great book called The Sports Gene and it goes over what most people who are actually really successful at sports, the differences in their genomics.
Liz: At some point, leveraging [sic: levelling] the playing field and making it so that everyone has the ability to feel more inclined to get out and exercise or eat better or something like that, it could be solved at least more than partially by modifying the genes. I think that wanting both quality and quantity is a normal aspect of being human.
Lee: I’ll try and say this super briefly so I don’t take up time. I see we’re going to the future where health, wellness and aging is quantified at a extremely high resolution level. And once that happens, then you have… Well, I’ll call it currency, and you can start seeing if you eat broccoli for… I’m making this up. If you keep living on broccoli, you won’t need a certain gene therapy or are far less likely to have that need [in the future], and it will track what the cost of the gene therapy is, et cetera, so you’ll always have a GPS for each action that you take. Does that make any sense?
The goal of the company is to create a human that regenerates faster than they degenerate
Liz: Again, I think that you could eat really healthy, you could exercise really well, and with the genes that we have today, we will still die of aging. The worst-case outcome would still come to be.
Liz: One of the things that we offer at BioViva is a DNA methylation kit, so looking at your methylation patterns and then intervening in your lifestyle, and then looking at them again to see the sort of benefits that you got from the intervention. But until there is such a food or something that you could eat that would actually stop the accumulation of damage… I’m not sure what that will be, but until then, I think we’ll be looking at genetic modification in order to really break that healthspan-lifespan bottleneck.
Lee: If you’re able to say, who is the lab providing the epigenetic, the Horvath clock processing?
Liz: The epigenetic process, actually looking at the CpGs, that’s not the clock itself. That’s just the CpG sites. That’s Rutgers University, and we’re using the Illumina EPIC array. It gives you the most points of your methylation data available. It’s almost a million different CpG sites. It’s kind of like taking your whole genome sequencing for your methylation data. It’s data that can really grow with you over the coming years. It’s actually immense. It’s incredible.
Lee: And who’s applying the machine learning to determine the age?
Liz: We’re doing the machine learning on the BioViva side. What we’re hoping to do is look at multiple clocks, but we’ll be starting with the one clock and then expanding it. The benefit of this huge array, the 850,000+ CpG sites, is to be able to see what happens with patients that take regenerative gene therapies after therapeutic intervention. We do a before and an after, and we needed something that was really broad so that we could look at pretty much everything that was going on in the genome, and we decided to make it into a product that we launched to the public.
Lee: Why didn’t you just use a third party for that? Why did you begin taking quite a bit of that in house?
Liz: Well, because we’re the only company in the world that has patients’ data on what happens after patients take regenerative gene therapies, we need to actually look at the broadest band of data to see what markers move. That’s an in-house process. That’s data that’s very specialized to the company.
Lee: This epigenetic marker of aging is a nice metric to attach to these gene therapies, to see what is working and not working. I’m sure you know the company Q Bio. It would be quite interesting to also do markers through a company like that to ascertain what is changing.
Liz: Yeah, I’d have to look into it. We’re working with a group in Israel now. We’ll be looking at proteomics. We already do genome testing. We do a lot of testing. We even do a biome testing before and after gene therapy, so we look at a lot of different markers in patients.
Lee: How many people have you run through, if you’re able to say?
Liz: So that’s Integrated Health Systems. That’s our exclusive partner and I can’t… I don’t really do a whole ton of advertisement for them. We do let people know that they exist, and we talk about what we do on our side. I think last year, probably… I’m not sure, maybe about 12 people. I mean, I only know that we don’t actually get the names of the patients or any specifics. It’s randomized data… Or anonymized data, I should say, not randomized, or else we’d be mixing up samples. But I think that we’re getting the data from maybe 12 or more people this year from that system.
Lee: Okay, so that made my mind jump to the longevity subreddit, and this may be a question you can’t answer because you’ll say it’s for your partner company, I’ll see. The question was, “what do you think of the dating agency model proposed and used by Alexander Masters, where a rich individual pays for a treatment for themselves and for 10 other people could be useful in getting real and human data on various treatments in some country with much lower regulatory costs like Colombia. Are you aware of that model?”
Liz: One thing that we’re doing… So I’m not entirely aware of that model. We actually encourage people all the time, high net worth people, to fund studies through Integrated Health Systems to help other patients get access to the technology, and we’re working with a nonprofit, Maximum Life Foundation, that has funded 10 patients to get access to free gene therapy for dementia.
Liz: We’re constantly searching for people or nonprofits who will fund an average person to go through therapeutics.
Lee: I wonder if someone could fund, say, 10, 12 individuals at one go and do some kind of double-blind placebo controlled study.
Liz: Yeah. I mean, you can do things like that in gene therapy, but… Gene therapy is generally therapeutics that are used in sick people. They’re used in someone that you’re trying to treat a condition, and as far as double-blind… I mean, I think that that works really well for small molecules. It’s not necessary for gene therapy because you’re either upregulating the protein or you’re not. You’re highly unlikely to get a placebo effect of an upregulated protein in the blood [laughter].
Liz: You can do that, and that’s something that you would do in clinical trials. We do what’s called studies, giving people access to therapeutics on a participatory basis, so people can take actionable action into their own healthcare.
Liz: George Church is one of our advisors and he’s basically set up some ways that we might be able to do something similar while giving everyone access to the technology if it’s successful. There’s a name to that study… And it’s not coming to my mind right now… but it ensures that everyone gets access to the therapeutic if it actually works.
Liz: The thing is, is that gene therapy is very expensive, so if people are paying to participate or paying for other people to participate, they generally want to ensure that they’re actually getting the gene therapy. But we’re open to suggestion.
Lee: Liz, what was your ambition as a child?
Liz: My ambition as a child was to be a veterinarian.
Lee: Okay. Now, we’re at this point where you wish to radically extend human lifespan. Now you can imagine that you’ve got Elon Musk who wants to take us to Mars. Now, if we achieve radically extended human lifespan, let’s say 200, 500 years, has quite a different human configuration living on Mars with a lifespan of a few hundred years.
Liz: Yeah. I think that the beautiful thing is that different people are pushing towards different technologies and actually, I think that if you want to go to Mars and especially then if you eventually want to come back, you need to live a long time. Space and gene therapy have been something that have been intertwined succinctly, protecting against radiation, creating muscle mass so that muscle wasting and loss and spaces and as detrimental and increasing the immune system because astronauts actually do get a hit on their immune system as well-
Lee: Accelerates agent space. Yes.
Lee: You said you want to create more… I can’t pronounce today, morphological freedom.
Liz: Oh yeah. Absolutely. Where we go with gene therapy today is really trying to create healthier lives. My goal is to extend the human healthspan and lifespan to what people want, what they would prefer for themselves and in the meantime, cure childhood disease. Remember my initial goal, is to get children well, so that they at minimum live a lifespan that we do today. But where we go from that goes into the ability to do a myriad of things genetically with oneself in order to fulfill the type of person that you feel that you are. Maybe some people are born with inadequacies in thinking that they should have been another sex, but maybe some people didn’t realize they were born to wish that they could climb a mountain in a short period of time or live in a specialized environment or travel in space.
Liz: A lot of people are born with those desires, but with a body that’s incapable of actually accomplishing that. The desire with genetics and the outcome is that we really have a sky’s the limit scenario. One of the most important things in science is to have some sort of model organism, something that you can base your hypothesis on. There are organisms that are almost immortal. There are organisms that don’t get cancer. There are organisms that see in billions of colors instead of the mere millions that we see in. There are organisms that have sensory systems that we don’t seem to have, or have been downplayed over time. There are organisms that have pretty blue feathers instead of brown hair. My hope is that in the future safely, without modifying our or hindering future generations, that people will have the freedom to genetically expand into areas that they feel like they identify with.
Lee: I believe you said you wanted to see you in billions of colors instead of-
Liz: I do. That’s why I brought that up. I have been pretty obsessed with gene therapies to the eye, both regenerative because all of us are losing our vision with time. There may be ways to slow that down, but there are no ways to stop that with outside of gene therapy. I would also like to expand my vision to be one of those pentochromates, to see the world in a totally new way. I think it would be absolutely amazing.
Lee: What hope do you have for the future?
Liz: My hope for the future is that childhood disease is eradicated. Humans live a lifespan that they’re comfortable with. They can bail out when they want to, when they feel that they have experienced everything that they would like to experience. I’d like to see human minds that are not hindered with aging. Some of the things that cause mortality priming, our preparation for death, the stockpiling, the shutting down to the people around us and becoming, I don’t know, accepting of the death process, is because of either pain or loss of senses over time. The loss of sense of smell, the loss of the ability to see well, the loss of your hearing, all of these things happening in parallel, along with the degredation of the organ that we call the brain. If we could keep all of these systems on top performance, I believe that people will feel much more fulfilled.
Liz: They’ll do a lot more, they’ll start taking care of the environment and taking care of each other. We need to work together to create this magnitude of future that we have upon us. That really is my goal. I want to see less people bickering and fighting and cutting each other down and more people working together, lifting each other up and that each person’s vision is a combined mission that we could expedite. I think that vastly that’s tied to lifespan and brain performance and body function. When we’re performing well, when we’re young, when life doesn’t seem limited, we have more friends, we’re out doing more things and we learn more. I’d like to see that expanded exponentially.
Lee: Where do you get your optimism from? What’s the source of it?
Liz: It must be my genes because I’m just one of those people. I don’t know.
Lee: The answer is always the genes, right?
Liz: I don’t know. I’m just one of those people that it’s really, really hard to knock me down and knock me out of optimism. I’ve been around a lot of negative people that choose a negativity and pessimism over optimism. That never drives the future. That always halts things to a stop. I just tell people, if you can’t be optimistic about the future, you just need to go and do some reading. There’s some really great books out there about the progress that we have made in science and technology and how the world is becoming a better place, “My world in data.” That’s a great place to go. “Myworldindata.org.” (sic: ourworldindata.org) That’s an Oxford group, and they keep a track of poverty and all of the negative effects that could possibly be happening from technology and yet we actually are burgeoning and becoming a better world every day.
Liz: That knowledge really drives my optimism. I know that people are mostly good. I know that outside of psychopaths or something like that, where the brain has gone completely wrong, we are at least 80% good. It really is where you give benefit. If you give people a cookie for doing the right thing, they will do more of the right thing. If you give them some benefits from doing negative things, they will do more negative things. But as a whole, we are good. I think that we can be even better.
Lee: I would definitely agree that human nature is fundamentally good and the realization of that was a transformative time in my life because I felt I’ve been culturally bred to believe it was every man for himself. I think that’s caused because ruling class ideologies are perpetuated.
Liz: Oh yeah. They do write history, don’t they? I can totally see that. I also feel like we’re falling out of this, the most famous luxurious people are, you know, the most popular. I think that as a species and as humans, we’re becoming more interested in the process rather than the outliers of super wealth. I know that it still does push a lot of buttons and a lot of people aspire to that. But great ideas and great thinking and great giving in this time when people on average all around the world almost, are living better than Kings and Queens did have some 150 years ago. We have enough time on our hands to do better and be better and actually bring in better ideas. I think that that’s what it’s all about.
Lee: You seem to be going in opposite direction of who I feel is, is the zeitgeist, which is, people complaining of turning to Amazon robots, of being gig economy workers, Uberized etc. Not being able to afford healthcare, job instability, great economic disparities, stratification always increasing etc.
Liz: Well, I think that with COVID-19 here, we’re learning maybe some other tools that we’re going to need to deal with an ever changing landscape. I think that biologically, we’re not trying to turn humans into robots. That’s why we make computers. We make computers to solve a certain type of problems and keeping the humanity and the essence and the empathy of humans. That’s something that’s unique to us, love. What creature goes to some harsh landscape, like a beach and sees the beauty. I mean, that’s actually a very difficult landscape for organisms to live in, a seaside, but we see beauty in that. I think that in ensuring that the narrative of humans is as meaningful as the better parts of us, is going to be an important part of moving forward.
Liz: Now, robotic sort of instrumentation in AI can be very beneficial to humans. We just need to make sure that we look out for the earning capacity and ensuring that people don’t struggle, who are losing their jobs. That’s happening around us all the time. You go to the grocery store and a lot of, you can self check yourself out. It’s not so good that there doesn’t need to be a person there that’s being called on constantly, but it will get to that point where we are needing less and less manual labor from humans.
My goal is to extend the human healthspan and lifespan to what people want, what they would prefer for themselves and in the meantime, cure childhood disease.
Liz: Could that be a good thing? Yes. As long as we’re innovating, because there’s a lot of job opportunities or the idea of basic income for people, for everyone. Is really the lack of innovation just as we’re still stuck on fossil fuels apparently, even though there’s great innovations in machinery and cars and things like that. It’s like the image as if there is nowhere else to go that we just go from here to doing nothing, but that’s not true. There’s a lot of innovation that could create a lot of jobs out there that is just not being funded.
Lee: I even wonder. Personally, I won’t even wonder, I have the opinion that jobs is an antiquated notion and I find absolutely mindless that we still even talk about the concept of jobs.
Liz: Well, the thing is, we should have a basic human right to health care and everything. I mean, look at the United States, we have a really terrible health care situation here. I mean, there are people, for instance, just recently with this new infectious disease going in to the hospitals here and coming out with 35000, 55000, $75,000 bills that they can’t pay. In some cases not being given acceptable care because they don’t have healthcare insurance. It’s ruinous. It is really bad. It’s very much synonymous with, I mean, just historically, we know how bad this is.
Liz: It’s synonymous with having homeless people and not giving them the ability to access toilets and wash their hands. If you go into most cities, you can’t access a bathroom unless you’re a patron. Where do these people go? We know that sanitation was one of the biggest jumps in increasing healthspan, in good outcomes in disease states in humans that we had seen. Just being able to wash up. That should be an absolute basic right. On top of that, having the best in health care. But maybe we don’t have the best in healthcare today and so we’re waiting for that to happen. I don’t know.
Lee: Well, I’m glad we have dreamers and we have optimists. Last question challenging that, do you ever ponder, if the likes of major platforms like Amazon will end up demanding gene therapy because it makes our workers more efficient or lowers the cost of workers somehow. Do you ever think of the dystopian effects socially?
Liz: Well, I mean, I would hope that everything that we choose for, whether it be for workers or anything else would be for the health of them… Sorry, my cat is meowing.
Lee: I wondered what that was. Anyway, I better jump into what I was supposed to cover.
Liz: I mean, a lot of people say, “Would this just be for the rich, are the rich the only people who would benefit from increased…”
Lee: Helps stratification to the extreme. That’s how it appeared. Yes.
Liz: That doesn’t really make sense because the reason that we hand down health to people and the reason that we industrialized countries was on the backs of lifespan. When somebody can be trained for a job and then they actually live long enough to do that job, that industrializes whole nations. That’s why we see new nations stepping up into being the new call centers or the new specialists in certain areas for global companies, is based on their lifespan. Your lifespan and your health helps drive industry. We want you to be as healthy and live as long as possible in order to maximize the profits, if you want to think about it in that sense. Passing down any amount of healthcare that can help people do that would be in the benefit of anyone who has money and owns companies.
Lee: Yeah. The virus doesn’t benefit if it kills its host, which is why most viruses tend to become less aggressive. I guess if you keep your subscribers longer, it’s in your interest.
Liz: Yeah [laughter]. Hopefully, they’re healthy and happy and you’ve brought them health, which expands on some amount of joy and happiness in their life. That would be a very basic thing to bring, but certainly, certain people in certain positions may want to participate in different types of gene therapy. For instance, if you were doing heavy lifting, you would definitely want to participate in a myostatin inhibitor because it would increase your muscle mass and make you less likely, hopefully to have an injury over time, and that would keep you active. I mean, the hope is that everybody has their say in the technology that they participate in, but if it makes you healthier and live longer, I think that most people would want to participate.
Lee: It’s a path to turn in humans more towards being software driven, I would say.
Liz: Oh, I don’t know about that. I mean, you can…
Lee: I mean, it’s making them more malleable and more fluid, less predetermined, is the trajectory.
Liz: Yeah. What it does is it gives you the ability to look at your genome like code and modify that code, making your life easier for you. If you’re a person who was born with very little muscle but a lot of fat stores, you can turn that around to your own benefit. You can increase your muscle mass today with gene therapy and then you can use those fat stores that you might have had, they’re going to be much depleted by increased muscle mass. They just become energy stores for greater muscle mass. Again, I would imagine that people would choose for these things for the reasons that they benefit them. Not any other reason. I don’t think that we’d be doing gene therapies on people that would hinder them, like the shortening someone’s lifespan wouldn’t be of any benefit looking historically at what industrialized countries and having sick people certainly doesn’t help the economy or people or anything else.
Lee: Yeah. I was more thinking you could determine it yourself in a software like fashion, in a more fluid fashion, in a very malleable fashion, rather than a centralized or culturally, it’s more you blend with machine and then you can alter yourself too. It’s like a dream you’re living in a way.
Liz: Yeah. It really gets exciting. I really picture that there will be an application on your phone or however, where you using applications at the time that you’ll basically have your 10 year plan, and your 10 year plan will be the things that you want to accomplish and the gene therapies that will get you there. Now, hopefully you’ll get your basic gene therapies like immunizations long before you have symptoms of aging and you’ll be protected there. But maybe you have a couple of years sabbatical in which you want to go mountain climbing, or you want to take 10 years to do your space exploration trip for the global government or whatever it is. You want to go live in the International Space Station or go to Mars or you want to spend a couple years in Antarctica because people are starting to explore it and create housing there. I don’t know, something in a low light condition. You would be able to prepare for that accordingly. It’s very exciting.
Lee: Liz, could you introduce gene therapy? Explain the two gene therapies you did yourself, so I can build some further questions in the back of that, please.
Liz: Yeah. Absolutely. I was just kind of shutting down the door now that everybody is kind of…
Lee: I thought the pause was, “Oh, gene therapy though.”
Lee: Let’s talk about Amazon and so on.
Liz: There is someone, I don’t know, they’re sewing something or I don’t know what that sound is. I hope you can’t hear it.
Lee: I don’t hear it. I’m good.
Liz: What is gene therapy? Gene therapy is a therapeutic approach to curing disease. I’ll tell you how gene therapy works. Number one, all of your cells in your body have chromosomes and those chromosomes have genes in them. Those genes code for you. Now, there’s something called epigenetics. You don’t have all of the same genes turned on in every cell because some genes or some cells want to be nose cells. They want to be olfactory. They want to help you smell. Some of the cells want to be the lining of your gut, and so they want to help you pick up nutrition and excrete waste. When we look at disease states and genes, where most of the gene therapies started, are in diseases called monogenic disease, meaning that a patient or a person was born with a single gene defect and a disease like this might be hemophilia A or hemophilia B. It might be something like sickle cell anemia or severe combined immune deficiency, which is what we know as boy in the bubble disease.
Liz: They have a hindered immune system, and just things like the common cold can kill them. When you have a single gene mutation, gene therapy becomes a little bit easier because we only have to put one therapeutic gene in. We just put a proper copy of the gene that you have that’s defective into the cell, and I’m going to tell you how you do that, but it changes the organism. It makes the organism healthy again. Right now, there’s five gene therapies that have been passed through the regulatory system. They’re a one-time treatment for a lifetime cure, so you’re not going to be taking pills for the rest of your life or injections. It’s a one-time treatment for a lifetime cure.
Liz: How do we get gene therapy into cells? We use what are called vector delivery methods. Often, these are actually gene therapies that are delivered by what are originally viruses. Right now, at this moment in history, everybody’s freaking out about a virus called SARS-CoV-2, and viruses are super tenacious and really good at getting in cells. Something that we talked about earlier that Lee mentioned is a virus that isn’t very good has a self-limiting capacity. It makes the host sick and the host dies, and the immune system has a huge response to them. Often, the immune system is actually the detriment to the organism. In gene therapy, we use viral vectors of viruses that traditionally don’t get you very sick because we don’t want to create an immune response, and we use a viral vector because of this. Viruses are really good at getting genetic material into cells.
Liz: We use viruses that can’t get you sick, and they actually are neutered. All of their genetic material is taken out. We only use them for the caps at the docking mechanism to the cell. What we do is we put therapeutic genes in. In the case of hemophilia B, you might see something like a gene called Factor IX. You put that into the viral vector. The viral vector delivers the gene to the cells, and then the cell starts making the proper protein because genes make proteins, and those proteins make you.
Liz: In regenerative gene therapy, when we’re looking at something like aging, we’re looking at a multi-combinatorial effect. There is not one known gene that will cure aging, so we look at a myriad of genes. Right now, with our partner company, we’re looking at four different genes. One of our advisors, George Church, is looking at upwards of 40, and so we will be looking at all of those genes as they’re ready to be put into humans and see how they affect the organism.
Liz: Now, in 2015, I took two gene therapies. I’ll tell you how it goes. This’ll just make it much more summarized. A therapeutic gene is put into a vector delivery method system. It’s built up quadrillions of these gene systems, so each one of them, with a delivery and the gene in it itself, are injected into the body. They go into the body, and they transfect cells. That means that they dock up to the cell, they put the genetic material in, and then the vector caps that falls off. I had two gene therapies. One of them was called the telomerase-inducing gene therapy. The gene is called hTERT. What it does is it codes for an enzyme called telomerase.
Liz: The caps at the ends of your chromosomes get shorter as we age. With every cellular division, they get shorter, and they can get shorter for a myriad of reasons: stress, smoking – don’t smoke – poor diet, lack of exercise. Things like that make your telomeres get short faster, but vastly it happens during cell division. There’s a limit to cellular division called the Hayflick Limit. The cell division limit for human cells is around 50, and for bowhead whales that live about 250 years, it’s much higher, and for organisms that live less amount of time, it’s much lower. That’s actually been pinned to several different species now in studies. This limit seems to limit how long organisms can live. The idea is to increase the telomere at the end of the chromosome for the organism to live longer. It actually reverses some hallmarks of aging. We look at the hallmarks of aging to what we’re treating when we’re treating aging, but it doesn’t reverse all of them.
Liz: The second gene therapy I took was a myostatin inhibitor. The gene is called follistatin. It was a gene therapy that had been through safety and efficacy for muscular dystrophy and increases muscle mass. We think it will be massively beneficial to an aging population that vastly gets frail and dies from frailty, falls, and incidentals that are associated with the frailty. It is a fantastic gene therapy. It increases your muscle mass, decreases your blood glucose levels to a healthy level for an aging population. It should help people with Type 2 diabetes, increasing insulin sensitivity and decreasing white fat. There are some links that we’re looking at to see if it will reverse atherosclerotic plaques as well. Those are the two gene therapies that I took in 2015.
Lee: Thank you very much. People wanting to explore gene therapies, because you said you had two, I think that you may have a third one available or just becoming available.
Liz: Oh, we have two more available. I’m going to be taking them hopefully as soon as this quarantine, lack of travel is lifted. One of them is called Klotho. It protects against the cardiovascular disease, and chronic kidney disease, and increases intelligence by upward of 20 percent in mice within hours of being injected.
Lee: I didn’t know the intelligence link. I knew the cardiovascular one. How much of the population naturally has the Klotho gene in a protective …
Liz: That’s not known, but some people do have the Klotho gene. People with one copy tend to have higher IQs, and people with two copies also benefit from that, but can benefit from a downturn in depression. That’s something that we’re looking at and analyzing. How much of the population has that? We don’t really have a whole population study on that. That’s why when people come in and want to participate in therapeutics, we have a genome sequencing done on them.
Lee: Okay. One is Klotho, and the other one?
Liz: Is PGC-1?. PGC-1? increases the biogenesis of mitochondria making them more robust and plentiful, increasing energy stores without the detriments of the oxidative stress and damage that can be done by increase in ATP production. It’s really an interesting gene. All four of the genes that we look at increase lifespan and model organisms, and, of course, we’re hoping to see that in humans as well.
Lee: That’s exciting. Both of those are very exciting. I’m wondering how you’re going to measure on the mitochondrial front. I know you’re taking this over all epigenetics work, but you want some kind of measure on the mitochondrial side to know what changed. I’m wondering how you quantify that since it’s almost impossible, as far as I know, to manage your ATP without going into all, I mean, not cheaply or easily. Let’s put it that way.
Liz: Well, we’re working with different labs to do different proteomics, but in some cases you can use what’s called clinical outcomes. If the patient reports greater activity, if they’re reporting longer periods of time of workout and exercise, in an aging population it should be more evident than if you did it in someone who was already young and pretty robust to begin with. Clinical outcomes are still based in good evidence. As long as they can be measured, they can be a pretty good marker.
Lee: If I understand correct, and please correct me if I phrase this badly, what you’re doing is you’re promoting medical tourism, regenerative medical tourism, and you’re arguing that you’re doing it because you’re knocking medicine into the next era or pushing it along, giving a nudge. Is that true that what you’re offering is regenerative medical tourism?
Liz: That’s what Integrated Health Systems offers. That’s our exclusive partner. They definitely do that. BioViva does two things on our side. We do data science with the kits, so we have the epigenetic kit, and then we have the bio vault that can look at a vast array of any of the testing that you might have participated in. Then we do research and development at Rutgers University where we’re developing a new viral vector delivery that can get multiple genes predictably into cells. We work with Integrated Health Systems because we really love what they do, and we really want that data to find out how these drugs are performing in patients so that we can make better therapeutics through our pipeline.
Lee: I have to ask a question from the subreddit on longevity. Johnson1975, he asks, “Where is a published peer-reviewed paper for the research, not the stuff done by Blasco at the Spanish National Cancer Center, proper peer-reviewed data produced by the company, rigorous scientific review?”
Liz: We actually have some great review that will come out of our research and development. We’re in the midst of that. As far as patient data, these are studies. We do have some people that are interested in doing peer-reviewed papers on that. We are not a university. We are a private company, so the data that we release over time will be in line with being a private company and not a research institution. Although, the reason that we’re so interested in the studies at Integrated Health Systems is because BioViva itself will take any high-performing drug that we understand the outcome, the end points of the therapeutic, through clinical trials in the U.S. We will be going through all of those guidelines as the drugs prove to be worthy of doing that.
Lee: Thank you. Someone else asked, and it’s a question I wanted to ask anyway, is, “What are the costs?” I believe it’s something in the 75K order if I understand. I think it takes 16 weeks to develop, and you can clarify that. If people come together, say, in a group of 10, you can drastically drop the cost. Can you give some idea of costs and also reduction of costs if people band together?
Liz: Oh yeah. The great thing about this technology, or the bad thing is that it’s very expensive. The cheapest … Look, the lowest price of gene therapy on the entire planet would be $75,000. I believe that some of the Oregon-specific low-dose gene therapies are priced at such. You have to realize the cheapest gene therapy that’s been through regulatory system is $425,000 for a single eye treatment. If you want one eye treated, it’s $425,000 for one eye, or you go blind if you have that condition, and $850,000 for two eyes. There’s no deduction. Those are the regulatory system gene therapies. That’s the cost. That’s the cheapest one. In medical tourism, we can do a lot better than that because we’re not trying to have happy shareholders. We can get the costs down to a minimum whilst still having you take them with a medical doctor under consent and with the medical outline and guidelines of people participating in the system.
Liz: Yes, we have been able to get, I believe, one of the gene therapies, or they have on the Integrated Health Systems side, been able to get one of the gene therapies down to $75,000. They go upwards from there. If more people participate, that’s called doing things by scale, we can absolutely get things cheaper. I don’t have an exact number for you here, but if we had people coming in at 10 at a time, it’s definitely reduced. If we have people coming in a hundred in a group at a time, it’s significantly reduced, and if you had a thousand people coming in at a time, it’s radically reduced. It makes these gene therapies affordable to most people in industrialized countries. Then the idea is to scale them from there and make them affordable for everyone.
Lee: I don’t know if it’s legal, but you cannot help but wonder, well, I can tell you this, I would like if there was some Kickstarter, and you aim for 200 people, so then I can afford it.
Liz: Oh, absolutely. We’ve got, Maximum Life Foundation is taking donations for two different people now. Their website will be updated, I think, in the next week or two. They’re doing fundraisers for two different people at that point when it launches again, and then actually, you can donate to Maximum Life Foundation and put in IHS as a note, and the money will go entirely to funding new studies. They’re the ones that are funding the 10-patient study for dementia. I mean, that’s revolutionary. It’s absolutely amazing. You just need to contact them and ask them if you would like to put up your own page.
Lee: Yeah, but what I was meaning was, maybe I missaid something? What I’d like to see is a Kickstarter for, say, all those who wish to have their telomeres lengthened type Kickstarter campaign. You must pay $10,000 each. Yeah. Why not a digital platform where you set the amount you need and see if you get a hundred people. I would love that.
Liz: Yeah. That actually is really great. Please make that.
Lee: I don’t know if you can legally put it on because it’s medical and so forth.
Liz: Yeah. I don’t either, but it’s something that you could talk to Maximum Life Foundation and ask them to put it up. Now it might be, if we’re looking for treating a thousand people, we can get the costs down significantly. It might not be 10,000 per person, but it would be closer to that. I think you should actually approach them about it and see if you could get them to put something like that up. Again, I don’t know what the legal ramifications for that are. I know you can do a single person, and they can donate to studies, but that would be amazing. Of course, if there’s any big donors out there who would like to just fund a study, if I had a lot of money, I mean, obviously this is what I’ve spent all of my money doing now. I mean, this is what I’m spending the rest of my life doing is to try to increase human healthspan and better lives with less suffering.
Liz: If I had a load of money, I would definitely fund a study of 10 or 20 people participating in a therapeutic that I might be interested in. See how it goes in 10 or 20 people, and then participate in it myself. A lot of people are dying with a lot of money in their bank that they might have been able to extend their own lifespan, live their legacy, instead of leave it, and yet, nobody benefited from the money that they made during their lifetime. It’s just really sad.
Lee: Yeah. It’s a better legacy. Are you concerned at all, and this is a question again from Reddit, are you worried that the, I’ll read the question as he’s put it instead of in my own words, are you worried that oral telomerase activating small molecule research at Harvard will make telomerase induction via gene therapy a harder sell? In other words, you take a supplement which has the same effect.
Liz: Oh no. I mean, I’m really happy about any technology moving forward. If it really actually works, I think that that’s fantastic. We’re a platform for a multitude. One of the things that Integrated Health Systems does is drug testing. Maybe you have a longevity fund, maybe you’re an investor and you’re interested in three companies, you can actually pay to go through the Integrated Health Systems and get patients access to the technology to find out if it works in humans. I think that this can revolutionize and really expedite the use of therapeutics in humans. If there is a better and safer way to extend human healthspan and lifespan, I am a hundred percent for it. Look, that’s what the whole company was built on, the premise of, is to find out, as fast as possible, what therapeutics work in humans in order to expedite the process through the regulatory system and to the most amount of humans as possible. We are open to anything. I’m not concerned about the future of this company. I’m concerned about the future of humans.
Lee: Okay. One of those two extra new novel gene therapies that you plan to do, do you mind me asking, are they getting delivered in one viral vector, both of them?
Liz: You cannot deliver them both in one viral vector, and that’s why we’re doing the research at Rutgers University in order … Right now, the vector that we’re using at Rutgers, we could get all four of our gene candidates into one single therapy. If you came to Integrated Health Systems, and you wanted, here I am speaking on behalf of them, but if you wanted three different genes, you can get them all delivered at the same day. They’re just delivered in their own vectors, so they’re delivered singularly the same day. Meaning, there would be one therapy on the table for follistatin, increasing your muscle mass. There would be one therapy on the table for telomerase. They can be given to you the same day as if you’re taking one treatment, but they are packaged separately.
Lee: Okay. One of them is, I forget the name you called it, I believe it’s, I think it’s ApoA-1 Milano.
Liz: We don’t do that gene today, but we are interested in that gene. For anyone listening, that was a gene that was seen to be upregulated in people who don’t suffer from cardiovascular disease. It’s a small group of persons in Italy, and they don’t get atherosclerotic plaques. What’s interesting is they do, we were talking about that before the show, the association with cholesterol and health, and how it’s vastly being debunked, but people who have ApoA-1 have high LDL cholesterol, but they don’t have an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases. As a matter of fact, they’re protected against it. We don’t do that gene today, but it is one that we’re looking at. It has had a lot of research and development done on it in the past, and it’s something we’re taking a deeper dive into.
Lee: I apologize. You had mentioned Klotho.
Liz: Yeah. Klotho. Yeah. Klotho [laughter].
Liz: Klotho, when knocked out of mice, it creates accelerated aging and it was one reason that they looked a little bit closer. Another reason to take a closer look is that people who suffer from chronic kidney disease, which is eventually everyone over time eventually, have lower levels of the protein that Klotho though creates. Klotho was named after the goddess that spun the thread of lights. It’s a beautiful name and it’s got a myriad of health benefits to the body; increased intelligence, protection against cardiovascular disease, and probably most importantly the lowest hanging fruit, is protection of chronic kidney disease.
Lee: Maybe it’s worth mentioning, the viral delivery you consider safe because of the relationship we’ve had with viruses over time, the fact we interact with them every year. You could maybe just briefly mention AAV and the common cold.
Liz: Right. AAV, the adeno-associated virus, is a wonderful small virus. It’s not the adenovirus, a lot of people get it mixed up with that. The adenovirus is still used but was a response …
Lee: Yes, that’s what I had it in my mind also so, yeah, you’re right, so please differentiate.
Liz: Think of the adenovirus as being something like the size of the sun. It’s very big and it causes an immune reaction, maybe not because of size but because of immunogenicity issues. It was responsible for the death of one person in 1999 and the death was absolutely unfortunate but, unfortunately, shut down the area of gene therapy for a long time. That probably has led to the death of a lot of people that might have benefit.
Liz: In medicine it’s a really careful balance but that’s a very big virus. Now, the adeno-associated virus sounds very similar but it’s not. It’s tiny so in comparison to the adenovirus let’s say it’s the size of Venus or the Earth or something like that. It’s a very small virus and it doesn’t cause an immune reaction. Most people, you’ve already seen it. Almost everyone listening to this podcast, 80% of the population has already seen it and has antibodies for it.
Liz: It doesn’t cause much of an immune reaction so it’s very stealthy but it can’t fit very much a gene and it has a 5KB size limit. What that means is that even a gene that we’re looking at that is beneficial, we have to cut it down basically to its bare bones, to the protein that we want it to produce in order to get it into the adeno- associate virus. With our gene therapy what we’re doing is we have a bigger delivery method. I hope that explains to you what is used today. AAV has been in hundreds of trials, thousands and thousands of people.
Lee: I think it’s 400 trials, that kind of order.
Liz: Oh yeah. Yeah, hundreds of trials, yeah so it’s really fantastic. That’s why people like it so much. It has what’s called a lot of different serotypes over the years. The wild type AAV is called AAV-2. There’s a little number next to it with a two, and that’s the wild type. It can integrate but it integrates into a safe side of chromosome 19 in humans.
Liz: The other forms of it rarely integrate, they’re called AAV-1, AAV-5, six, seven, eight, nine, DJ. There’s a bunch of other forms of it now that have been modified in the research and they’re basically destined to certain serotypes. That means that they target certain tissues. That’s the great thing about viral vectors that we can do, is we can say we just want to target skeletal muscle and we can do that without sending genes to the heart and enlarging the heart, so we can increase your skeletal muscle without enlarging your heart. That’s good news in case you don’t know.
Liz: We can target it to your neurons. We can target it to your microglia. These are two different deliveries. A lot of people don’t know that so when we do a gene therapy for dementia we wouldn’t just be using one AAV, we use two. We can target it to specific tissues in order to make sure that that’s where its greatest uptake is. That’s why AAV is so fantastic because now it’s been around long enough, it’s been considered safe in humans, and it’s had its specificity changed to target certain tissues.
Liz: The great thing about the viral vectors over other delivery methods like liposomes is you can get the genes into the nucleus predictably. You can’t with the other technologies, you kind of get them into the cytoplasm. It still is … Nature, after so many billion years, is a beautiful, beautiful thing and this is the most incredible nanotechnology on the planet. Yeah, there are bad viruses that get you sick and do horrible things and then we can actually even take some of those and turn them into harbingers of good effort and make them deliver therapeutic things. Vastly we work with viruses that don’t really get you sick to begin with because the benefits there are even greater. We can use larger amounts of them in a system without creating an immune response.
Lee: It’s an amazing evolution we’ve had with viruses and also with fungi.
Liz: Oh yeah. Well, actually that reminds me, there was some weird fungal infection going around in humans recently in hospitals in New York, that was last year at some point. Fungus’s have some really negatives too but they have a myriad of positives and can be amazing protein sources for food. Fungus’s are not something that we use in gene therapy, not on our side.
Lee: Yeah, I realize that but it’s just a fascinating evolution, which thinking like that reminds me of something earlier I just have to briefly bring up. You speak a lot of improving the human condition with what I’d call a god-like level of power, but where does looking after the other kingdoms, like the animal kingdom, the biosphere in which we live, it just seems very human orientated than I imagine us as super gods. At the moment where we’ve built 40,000 cow mega dairies, at least in the East Coast of the States, that’ll be half a million cow mega dairies, et cetera.
Lee: There seems to be a disconnect between humans improving their condition vastly and the ever great or industrialization of animal processing and living out with the limits of the biosphere. Do you consider them?
Liz: Absolutely. I have one religion and it’s the Earth. I absolutely worship Gaia. This is the most magnificent … It’s almost like a cell. We can’t replicate what we have here on Earth. It is so important to learn from it and take care of the biosphere and the creatures within the biosphere to ensure our own safety and health. Integrated Health Systems last year launched Integrated Health Systems Pets. They treat dogs, cats, horses for prolonging healthspan and that’s really just the beginning.
Liz: All of sciences built on information from all the different phyla and the balance that it takes in order to create something like the earth is still, again, it’s not reproducible. It is vastly important, people, that we take care of this planet. If you can’t respect anything else, you should heed a great respect for this planet. It is … I always say, I’ve put out several Instagram posts where … What we see when we look out every day is just, it would be unimaginable if you were born without a vision of it. It is amazing. It’s like the improbability drive from Douglas Adams, it really is like gold and taking care of it is point one.
Liz: You want to live in a clean, functioning cytoplasm of a cell.
Lee: Yeah, absolutely, and I love the cell analogy.
Liz: Yeah. Where you have clean air and you have the ability to do all of these things and every once in a while you can pop in and out maybe to go visit other places and hopefully find something as hospitable as this someday, but you shouldn’t be using up the resources here and acting like it’s finite. One of the problems I think in human mentality is that finite relation with life. You think, “Well, I’ll be gone eventually so it won’t matter.” You really need to think much longer term, we really need to take care of this planet.
Lee: Do you think you’ll get a 24% increase in lifespan because of the telomerase inducer? Do you think you’ll ward off sarcopenia because of the myostatin inhibitor that you took? What do you believe longterm consequences are for you, what do you hope, or is this just a … I don’t know how long it lasts, is it two years, five years, 20 years?
Liz: Well, that’s something that is yet to be seen. This is participating in science and we don’t know. We could hope, we could make a lot of hypotheses based on biomarkers but we don’t know. With the myostatin inhibitor I think that we can definitely stave off sarcopenia. That is something that we’re hoping to test in a myriad of people over the age of 65, ensuring that they still can benefit from the increased muscle mass, which I believe that they’re already seeing on the Integrated Health Systems side, but we have to actually prove it.
Klotho was named after the goddess that spun the thread of lights. It’s a beautiful name and it’s got a myriad of health benefits to the body.
Liz: Again, you have to prove all of these technologies work. You can’t just say, “Oh, you come in and you participate in this technology and you’re going to increase your lifespan 24%.” We don’t know. We hope to see that, we hope to do better than that, but this is really early in the stages. Things like dosing and dosages in general, it’s called titration, are still being considered. How do we hit enough cells in the body in order to ensure that we have the best outcome from the therapeutic? I can’t make any claims like that but I could say that those are the numbers that we would, on the lower side, be pushing for and of course we hope to go, extend much better than that.
Lee: Appreciate it. I see that we’re running out of time here and I actually have literally 50 questions [laughter] I’ve typed as we’ve went along and so I’d like to book two days. To be respectful of your time I’m going to just cut the 50 down to two questions.
Liz: Okay, that looks good.
Lee: One is an open, easy one I’ll finish on.
I took those knowing that I could have a negative, serious outcome, that I could die, but that I also might be able to help billions of people live better than they had been living and have a better future.
Lee: The less easy one is what I should have been covering from the start, which is measurements, quantification. Before you went and got tested I believe you got, you’re telling me you got your teleomere length tested I guess at LifeLength or SpectraCell.
Liz: Um-hm, SpectraCell.
Lee: Okay, and you saw telomerase increase. You saw your high sensitivity C-reactive protein come down. Did this data get published in some kind of paper or something of that nature? Is there actual clinical chemistries people can view? Did you take multiple them times?
Liz: We took them multiple times and we had on the old website … We have a new website up now and I don’t think the data’s still up there but we had I think almost all of my data just put up in raw form for a couple years and we offered any of the data to reputable universities free of use. We had Harvard work with us a bit because George Church is a scientific advisor and they took some of the pre and post blood samples. They showed that the follistatin was increased in my blood levels after, but no, we’ve never published a scientific paper. We think that human evidence is the most important. A clinical trial will be the next stage after human studies, after we proved that the technology works.
Liz: Of course, we would like to always keep medical tourism open to people so that they can get lower costs gene therapies. I think we already discussed the cost of gene therapies and all the regulatory paths, gene therapies are way too expensive for most people, so we hope to keep those sort of accesses open. Yeah. The problem is, is that people always want some level of, I guess they call it science but 85% of papers are not reproducible. There’s a lot of bad science out there, there’s a lot of cherry picking so we chose to just open the data open source to anybody who wanted to look at it.
Lee: I agree there is a lot of bad papers. I forgot … P.A. loannis, I think was the one who wrote a paper to say that 85% of papers are false.
Liz: Yeah. There is a lot of really bad stuff out there and everything that … All of the genes that Integrated Health Systems use are based on reproducibility and multiple labs because you can’t really actually trust one lab. The reason that we’re not open to 500 different genes is because we have to look at reproducibility. There has to be a meta analysis that shows that the therapeutic discovery is accurate and so that it’s not coming from one place.
Liz: I’m not saying that there’s bad stuff going on out there but the chasing of money and grants has created a really sick system in our scientific forums and we have to really protect ourselves against that. You can imagine … I took two gene therapies, one of them had been in humans and trials, which is great, the other one I was just basically rolling the dice and hoping that people were telling the truth in their papers.
Lee: Okay. Final question. It’s about myths and I wish to quote you, or I believe I’m quoting you, I’ve noted it down as a Liz Parish quotation. “Technology always lays above where we’re at, and public understanding lays well below that, and it’s steeped in myth, like thinking that gene therapy might not be a natural process”. Can you elaborate on myths and technology being above?
Liz: Yeah, but there are a lot of myths, anything that’s not a universal truth. We believe in the myth of money and because we all believe in it, it works, I can change my dollars for some amount of something that I want and that’s really great. When it comes to technology, where technology is at is always higher than most people’s understanding. Most people … When I took a gene therapy, one of the hugest debates was whether I could have possibly taken a gene therapy, whether that was real technology that people could do, and gene therapy had actually been around for decades.
Liz: It’s really important to bring people’s understanding to where technology really is, and is gene therapy a natural process? It absolutely is a natural process, that is what viruses are doing to you. Every year you uptake viruses. Sometimes you’re not lucky and you get some of these worst things going around and they are doing a systemic gene therapy on your body. Gene therapies happen to your body all the time. As a matter of fact, you can age specimens by certain genes that are up-regulated, or not necessarily up-regulated but are found in their genomes from various infections that they got over time.
Liz: Gene therapy actually naturally existing through viruses has done the humans, a myriad of benefits. It’s thought to be responsible for the genes that have created the consciousness long-term thinking that we have, the ability to retain old information in order to put it into new stores to predict future. It actually helps, gene therapies have helped us, that are naturally occurring again from your environment, helped us be more successful in carrying children longterm.
Liz: When we integrate a gene from a virus, we create some sort of immunity to that gene and it helps us live longer and basically stave off the effects, the negative effects of viruses in the future.
Lee: I greatly appreciate your time, Liz.
Liz: Oh, I appreciate being here, it’s been fantastic.
Lee: I feel it’s been more of a coffee chat and I feel kind of guilty all along, I’ve not been jumping down deep quantification avenues, but I just couldn’t help myself with you. I feel we needed at least six times more just to cover the surface so hopefully another time.
Liz: Oh yeah, definitely we can do it another time. It was a pleasure to be here and I appreciate you being interested in my story and your future.
Lee: I’m greatly interested and I’ll be tracking it. If people want to find out more, that’s bioviva-science.com?
Liz: That’s right.
Technology always lays above where we’re at, and public understanding lays well below that, and it’s steeped in myth, like thinking that gene therapy might not be a natural process
Lee: Okay. Hope people check that out. I hope you continue being as vivacious and as optimistic. I hope the two new gene therapies go well when that takes place and I would like to thank you once again for your time.
Liz: Well, thanks for having me and I hope that you look forward to the future of your potential gene therapies and that people who are listening are starting to look up what these specific genes are and starting to create their own future. It’s really not about me and it’s not about rich people, it’s about you. This technology is really for the masses, the company was built for the world. We really appreciate any sort of interface that we get to have with people who have a different outlook for it, or ideas for it, or just want to chit chat about things that they’re excited about.
Lee: Well, I appreciate you spearheading it and bringing it increasingly into public consciousness. With that, I better let you go, Liz. Thank you so much, again.
Liz: Thank you.