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Could a Fountain of Youth Capsule Cause Cancer?

Are you tired of looking for new anti-aging remedies? New discoveries suggest that your answer could be found in one little pill.

microscope image of telomere caps

Photo: NASA

TA-65 is known to boost telomerase, an enzyme that maintains telomeres in cell division. The phenomenon of aging is a result of cells dividing more slowly than in youth.

Scientists working for the biotech company Geron Corporation claim that a chemical called TA-65, can help maintain youthful DNA. As years roll by, this pill is purported to keep your body and mind healthy.

This pill is considered a nutritional supplement by the FDA, not a drug, which means it does not require federal regulation. This product is already on the market, but you have to decide for yourself if it’s worth the $8,000 a year.

But wait, is this just another crazy immortality fluke? Does it really work?

There exists only anecdotal evidence to suggest the supplement’s effectiveness — no study has yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

One concern is that TA-65 may also be the chemical responsible for slowing and stopping the growth of cancer cells. Increased levels of the chemical could lead to higher rates of cancer.

Geron is also working on a chemical that inhibits telomere activity, which is intended to fight cancer cells.

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Molly Plunkett

is a journalism student at Indiana University and an online producer for A Moment of Science. She is originally from Wheaton, IL.

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