Michael Fossel Michael is President of Telocyte

July 17, 2017

Walking Toward a Cure for Alzheimer’s

Sometimes things go wrong, sometimes they go remarkably right.

        In clinical medicine, Swiss cheese theory is a explanation of why medical disasters occur, even if the explanation has a grizzly sort of humor. Basically, Swiss cheese theory says that “all the holes need to line up” for something to get through the cheese and for things to go drastically wrong in patient care. For example, if the physician is a moron (the first hole in the cheese) and orders the wrong medication, then the knowledgeable pharmacist usually cancels the order. But if the pharmacist is also a moron (the second hole in the cheese) and sends the wrong medication to the nurse, then the experienced nurse refuses to give the medication and stops the mistake long before the patient is injured. But, of course, if the nurse is also a moron (the third hole in the cheese) and simply gives the wrong medication, then you have a problem. When all the morons line up in a row, like holes in adjoining slices of Swiss cheese, then mistakes get all the way through the cheese and you have the perfect setting for a medical disaster. Medical errors are rarely the result of a single stunning error on the part of a truly epic moron; medical errors usually take a grizzly sort of teamwork among morons, all working together like clockwork. Swiss cheese theory strikes again.
Oddly enough, the opposite can also happen. If everything lines up in a positive sense then we have innovation, progress, and (very rarely) a miracle or two. For example, to have a success in the case of a biotech company, you need a series of positive events to line up. Over the past few years, that’s exactly what has been happening to Telocyte. While there have been no truly stunning single events that have created a fleeting (if flashy) success, there have been a collection of positive events that line up exactly as they need to. In our case, all the holes are lining up to build toward a successful cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
I first proposed that telomerase could be successful as a clinical intervention in 1996, but my proposal wouldn’t have gotten anywhere if a whole collection of groups and individuals hadn’t continued to move the field along over these past twenty years. From a purely practical perspective, it was the work of CNIO in Madrid (and that of their director, Maria Blasco) that demonstrated a technique that can easily be applied to human clinical trials. Yet, while we saw the potential for human disease, it was our CEO, Peter Rayson, who moved us along in a practical direction. Two years ago, Peter arranged to meet me in Boston, and we founded Telocyte. Our COO, Mark Hodges, joined us and helped shape our program. We had additional support from volunteers, spouses, and researchers, all of whom saw the value and shared our vision. Investors, such as Rob Beers, joined us, asking little and seeing much. We were approached by large global corporations, such as SAP and Amazon Web Services, who offered us support. We partnered with the world’s preeminent biotech law firm, Cooley LLP, who saw the potential and wanted to help. Other investors have come on board, investors who saw what we could do and who agreed with our goals.
Recently, we signed agreements with a major investor and submitted our protocols for FDA review, and we continue to move ahead, steadily and confidently, as we plan for our human trial next year. None of this has been the result of one person, nor even one group. Instead, it has been the result of a continual concatenation of just the right people at the right time. Everything has gracefully, carefully, and steadily lined up, creating an historic opportunity to save lives and rescue human minds. There have been no miracles, no sudden champagne, no instant success, nor wild celebrations. We haven’t seen wonders, but we’ve seen workers. We haven’t seen miracles, but we’ve met milestones. We haven’t had champagne, but now we have a chance.
With every step, a door has opened, people have helped, another step was taken.
And each step brings us closer to curing Alzheimer’s. Walk with us.

4 Comments

  1. I have just started reading your book ‘The Telomerase Revolution’, and I guess this telomerase activator is some congener from the astragalosides. Elizabeth Blackburn’s recent book ‘The Telomere effect’ gives impression of a self-help guide in a pseudo fuzzy science manner. Found Ted Anton’s Longevity Seekers much more illluminating.
    Don’t know whether this new molecule will act for sure in Alzheimer. Only time will tell.

    Comment by Kawal Preet Singh — July 23, 2017 @ 7:34 pm

  2. DR. FOSSEL – THANX FOR YOUR ARTICLE OF JULY 17. I REALIZE THAT THERE IS PROBABLY A THIN, POROUS LINE SEPARATING PERSISTENT ENTHUSIASM FROM BEING MERELY ANNOYING–I CERTAINLY HOPE THAT YOU CONSIDER ME TO BE W/IN THE FORMER CAMP! AS A NEURO-PSYCHOLOGIST STEEPED IN CLINICAL PRACTICE, MY PTS (AND FAMILY MEMBERS ESPECIALLY) ASK ME IF THERE ARE OTHER POSSIBLE “REMEDIES” OTHER THAN ACETYLCHOLINES TO MODERATE THE STEADY, UNYIELDING DECLINE OF COGNITIVE AND/OR SENSORY-PERCEPTUAL FUNCTIONING WE ROUTINELY SEE. I TRULY CAN’T WAIT UNTIL YOUR CLINICAL TX TRIALS ARE UNDERWAY, WHICH SHOULD YIELD THE COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL AND BIO-MARKER IMPROVEMENTS WE ALL ANTICIPATE! I HAVE BEGUN TO INFORM MY SENIOR PTS. OF YOUR TELOMERASE APPROACH (AND LATEST BOOK)AND TELOCYTE’S IMPT ROLE IN ALL APPLICATIONS OF THE SCIENCE. LET ME KNOW IF THERE IS ANYTHING WE (NEUROPSYCH ASSOCIATES) CAN DO TO BE EFFECTIVE IN INFORMING OUR PT. BASE ABOUT THESE EXCITING DEVELOPMENTS. THIS SHOULD BE A TRUE SINGULARITY. SINCERELY, ROBERT H. BRICK OF DELRAY BEACH, FL.

    Comment by Robert H. Brick, Ph.D. — July 23, 2017 @ 9:34 pm

  3. Best of luck with this! I very much enjoyed your book and look forward to more news on Telocyte’s progress as it becomes available.

    Comment by Mark — July 24, 2017 @ 9:24 am

  4. I am optimistic that this will be a monumental chapter in the history of medicine.

    Comment by Gerald Broussard, M.D. — July 25, 2017 @ 1:09 am

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