Monday, January 12, 2009

Who is Noel Patton

I read the bio of Noel Patton, founder of T.A. Sciences on his site, but this article gave some more insight into what prompted him to get into the business of telomerase activation.

Mr. Patton had never heard of telomeres until he attended a black-tie dinner to raise funds for aging research in Palm Desert, Calif., in 1999.

By then, he had spent about four years searching for a doctor to provide him "with some decent anti-aging care." But for the most part, he said, he encountered hucksters. Then he listened to Jerry Shay, a noted cell biologist from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, give a talk on telomeres.

Dr. Shay, whose research helped produce the telomere theory of aging, described how activating an enzyme known as a telomerase "might be able to extend the lifespan of telomeres and immortalize cells."

Telomerase is usually turned off in normal cells. But the gene that produces it is usually turned on in stem cells and cancer cells — both of which are theoretically "immortal," having the ability to multiply indefinitely.

Mr. Patton immediately approached Dr. Shay, who told him that the University of Texas had licensed its telomere work to the California-based Geron Corp., an influential biotech firm that co-discovered the telomerase gene in 1997 and backed the early work on human stem cells.

The next morning, Mr. Patton called Geron's CEO and made a major investment in the company. He learned that it was hunting for a compound to boost telomerase and had started talks with researchers at the University of Science and Technology in Hong Kong to look into compounds from China.

As it happened, Mr. Patton was also based in Hong Kong, where he had moved with his wife, Eve, and their two children in 1987 after deciding to manufacture some of his fan and heater parts in mainland China. From there, he was able to help facilitate an agreement with the Hong Kong scientists to test 50 compounds from traditional Chinese medicine.

One candidate was astragalus, a spiky shrub from Inner Mongolia that the Chinese have used for thousands of years as an immune-system booster, blood-pressure controller and overall wellness agent. They add it to stews and soups and boil it as a tea. Health-food stores carry extracts.

When it was tested, according to Mr. Patton, the scientists found that the plant did indeed boost the human cell's telomerase activity.

At the time, however, developing an astragalus drug was not a priority for Geron, which was concentrating its efforts on cancer and stem cells.

Mr. Patton didn't want to wait.

In 2002, he formed his own company, TA Sciences, in Manhattan (where he now lives part-time). He struck a deal with Geron for a worldwide licence on an astragalus plant extract for non-drug purposes. By billing his planned product as an dietary supplement and making no disease-curing claims, he could develop his alternative medicine free of the time-consuming regulatory processes of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Read more

No comments:

Post a Comment