Michael Fossel Michael is President of Telocyte

September 22, 2015

Telocyte begins

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:31 pm

Telocyte_FinalLogo_10Sep2015

Our new biotechnology company, Telocyte, is moving along, as can be seen in our website. Our mission is simple: we intend to cure Alzheimer’s disease. We have no intention of “ameliorating”, “slowing”, or “improving the care for” Alzheimer’s disease. Instead, our goal is to prevent and cure it entirely. No one should ever have to “Live with Alzheimer’s”, any more than — in the 1950’s — we wanted our children to “live with polio”. What we want is not passive acceptance but an active cure.

We intend to show we can cure Alzheimer’s.

Join us as we demonstrate A FUTURE BEYOND ALZHEIMER’S.

 

September 8, 2015

The Telomerase Revolution – a Countdown

On Tuesday October 6th, four weeks from today, The Telomerase Revolution will be released by its publisher, BenBella Books. The Telomerase Revolution is a lucid and complete account of what’s been going on in the field, from its beginning to the current revolution in our ability to treat age-related diseases directly and effectively.

Full Cover for blog

As many of you know, the book is a best-seller already, solely on the basis of the number of pre-orders, which is delightful if slightly astonishing. It’s been getting rave reviews both on the grapevine and more officially (on its cover and on Amazon) from scientists and physicians, including from Len Hayflick who called it “superb” when he first read it. The book is dedicated:

To those with minds open to logic and eyes open to data:

May others be as open to you as you are

to the world around you.

 

To those who, aging and suffering,

hear others tell you nothing can be done:

They’re wrong.

 

Intended for the educated public and not merely for the medical or scientific community, The Telomerase Revolution is broken down into eight chapters. The 1st chapter – Theories of Aging – describes “the hoaxes, the myths, and the scientific theories that don’t quite account for everything.” In the 2nd chapter — The Telomere Theory of Aging – I give “an introduction to the theory of aging this book proposes and its historical development, including a discussion of misconceptions about the theory”. The 3rd chapter – Why We Age – is “a short scientific detour into the evolutionary reasons why we age rather than live indefinitely like the hydra”.

In the 4th chapter – The Search for Immortality – I finally turn our attention away from theory and toward the practical aspects matter most, “applying telomere theory to clinical problems”. We learn about what has been going on in the world of biotechnology until now, as we tried to take telomerase to the clinic, as well as why some of these attempts floundered and why other attempts are finally succeeding.

The next two chapters give us a clear explanation of how all age-related diseases cause problems. The 5th chapter – Direct Aging: Avalanche Effects – explains osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, skin aging and other diseases, explaining “how aging cells cause disease in similar cells and tissues around them”. The 6th chapter – Indirect Aging: Innocent Bystanders – gives us a similar clear explanation of the more frightening (and fatal) diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and vascular aging (including strokes and heart attacks) by explaining “how aging cells cause disease in different kinds of cells and tissues”.

All of which is fine, but can we do anything about those diseases? The 7th chapter – Slowing Aging – is a practical discussion of “what people can do now to optimize health and lifespan”, as opposed to waiting for the upcoming revolutionary interventions. Those newer interventions are discussed in the 8th and final chapter – Reversing Aging – in which we realize that our ability to cure age-related diseases at the most fundamental level is not waiting in some distant dream, but rather is almost upon us now: “It’s coming soon, and it will change human lives, and society in astounding ways”.

We are about to change medicine forever, by curing diseases that we have long feared, granting compassion and new hope to those who now suffer. This book is but the introduction to the work, as many of us, particularly at Telocyte, take understanding and hard work, and use our knowledge and effort to create cures.

Join us.

September 2, 2015

How much will it cost to cure Alzheimer’s?

Filed under: Alzheimer's disease,Telomerase — Tags: , , — admin @ 10:08 am

Most of us are more concerned with whether we can cure Alzheimer’s at all, than we are with the cost of curing it. You can imagine someone saying that dementia is so horrible that “it doesn’t matter what it costs” to treat or cure it.

Except that it really does matter. Whether it were a treatment or a cure, if it cost a billion dollars a person, it would matter a great deal. Not only couldn’t we – collectively – afford such an intervention, but no single person – as an individual – could afford it either. Well, alright, there are a few people with those resources, but let’s please be realistic. The bottom line is that expense does matter, to you, to me, to us as a society, whether we pay for treatments via our insurance premiums (health plans) or via our taxes (national healthcare systems). Regardless of how we pay, we’d like to find an effective intervention that we can live with, medically and financially.

At the moment, we have the worst of both worlds: we have a medically ineffective set of “interventions” and a financially disastrous burden that we can’t sustain as the costs grow. Our current “interventions” consist of expensive long-term nursing care and a small group of drugs that have no effect on the course of the disease. We spend a lot of money taking care of people who are sliding toward disability and death, and a fair amount of additional money on what are, effectively, placebo medications. Globally and annually, Alzheimer’s Net estimates that we spend a total of about 600 billion dollars (about 1% of the world’s gross domestic product) on treating Alzheimer’s patients, and that cost is steadily growing (and outpacing both inflation and productivity).

Journals, organizations, and blogs harp on predictions of disaster: we can’t afford to keep spending more and more money on Alzheimer’s care as the world population ages. But what is the alternative and how much would such a therapy cost?

If telomerase therapy could cure and prevent Alzheimer’s disease, the costs fall dramatically while the benefits increase even more dramatically. The benefits are clear, but let’s consider the costs. The first cost we can cut is that of nursing care: if I can care for myself, I don’t need any nursing care, let alone expensive, long-term, full-time care in a nursing home or “assisted care living center”. This removes most of our costs, particularly the costs currently borne by national health care systems (taxes), as well as by private insurance (premiums). The remaining cost – that of medication for treating Alzheimer’s disease – is currently about $10 billion dollars as a global market. While these drugs are not – in comparison with other drugs – all that expensive, part of their cost depends on market size. Not all AD patients are on these drugs, largely because both patients and physicians recognize that their ratio of benefit to risk is small, so why bother spending money on drugs that have risks and no real benefit? On the other hand, if we have a therapy that cures Alzheimer’s and has few risks, then patients would be eager to take such a therapy, which is why telomerase therapy will – on a per patient basis – be quite reasonably priced.

Compare two drugs: one for progeria and one for Alzheimer’s dementia. At any given moment, we estimate that there are about 50 progeric children and about 50 MILLION (or more) Alzheimer’s patients in the world. Now, imagine that we develop a drug whose research and human trials cost 50 million dollars. In order to pay off these costs of development, that would mean that if it only worked for progeria, it would cost a million dollars per progeria patient, but if it were used for all Alzheimer’s patients, it would cost only a dollar per Alzheimer’s patient. In general, the larger the patient population, the cheaper the drug costs per patient. Fifty million patients makes it easy to amortize the costs of development: we spread the costs out and dilute them. Therapy become cheap.

The reality, however, is that there are other costs. Among them are the cost of producing the drug (once you pay for its development) and the costs of administering the drug. In a rough way, production costs also go down as the patient population goes up. There are economies of scale in producing 50 million doses compared to producing only 50 doses. The cost per dose goes way down. On the other hand, telomerase therapy will require a high degree of quality control, so while there will be enormous economies of scale, production will still be expensive in order to be safe and effective. Administration costs (distribution, hospital overhead, professional services, etc.) are less amenable to economies of scale and will be almost “fixed”. In many cases, the costs of administering a drug far outweighs the costs of producing a drug, and this is likely to be true of telomerase therapy.

Even acknowledging the many unpredictable factors, we can come up with an estimate for the cost, within an order-of-magnitude (order-of-magnitude in the scientific sense: not below one tenth and not more than ten times). The cost of producing a single dose of telomerase therapy (ignoring profit, retail distribution, and administration costs) would probably not be much more than it is for other currently available (and ineffective) drugs, having a probable production cost of perhaps $100 per patient. It will likely take 1-3 doses to treat a patient initially, who will then need retreatment every 5-10 years.

If it cures Alzheimer’s, then it’s a good price to pay.

 

 

 

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