Does Telomere Science Reveal a Cure for Cancer?

This post is going to be a little more scientific and detailed than I normally send, I hope that is ok, let me know what you think about this style of education and if you like it I’ll do more.

When we see people who are exceptionally fit or in incredibly good health in their later years we often blame it on having good genes.

And, that is partially true but the part that is true is the part of the genetic material we all share, it is the end of the chromosome called telomerase. Telomeres control how long and how well we live.

Let me explain.

The discovery of telomerase is a real Christmas miracle. It was on Christmas day that Greider and Blackburn finally proved their theory that an enzyme added telomeric DNA to the ends of chromosomes. That was in 1984, and that enzyme was later named telomerase.

Telomerase is present and active in stem cells, germ cells and cancer cells which is one reason these cells never reach senescence (an endpoint where cells die or no longer divide and thus become inert). Normal cells don’t express telomerase. That gene is suppressed in them. One key to immortality is turning that gene on. Thanks to extensive scientific research, a natural activator TA-65 has been discovered and proven to successfully lengthen telomeres.

But every new discovery is initially feared, then embraced by pioneering spirits, and finally adopted by the hungry masses (or in the case of naturally occurring cures, co-opted by corporations to be patented and turned into expensive controlled medicine since they can’t patent nature).

When it comes to telomeres, many fear turning this gene on in healthy cells is unsafe and risky. Their concern stems from what incorrectly appears to be a similarity or link with cancer.

So, what about cancer? If telomerase is turned on in cancer cells and is the reason a cancer cell continuously replicates, would turning it on in normal cells increase the risk of these cells mutating and becoming cancerous? Specifically is there any evidence that TA-65 causes cancer?

The answer is no and I’ll tell you why.

Stimulating growth of telomeres on normal chromosomes does not cause them to become cancerous because cancer cells are by definition abnormal cells. This bears repeating. It DOES NOT cause normal cells to become cancer cells.

As I explained, cancer cells are abnormal cells. When your genetic material (DNA) becomes damaged or is altered, it mutates and affects normal cell growth and division. Activating telomerase to lengthen telomeres does not alter or damage our DNA. Scientists have turned on the telomerase of normal cells ATTEMPTING to turn these cells into cancer cells and have been repeatedly unsuccessful. So we know that turning on telomerase does not by itself cause cancer.

For the past few decades telomerase research was almost solely focused on creating a “telomerase inhibitor” that could be a potential cure for cancer. Because 80% of all human cancers are immortalized by the turning on of telomerase it’s a logical conclusion that preventing the immortality of cancer cells would slow growth and allow chemotherapies to work more effectively.

I support this research, but when TA-65 was discovered a decade ago and has been shown to be safe and effective as a telomerase activator in healthy cells then the research focus and possibilities expanded. It’s with these new possibilities that I am most intrigued by and signal health and vitality for all long into our “golden years”.

We know that when cells approach senescence (their endpoint), the short telomeres stimulate the chromosome instability, which can cause the mutations that are responsible for creating cancerous cells. If we lengthen the telomeres and extend the life of the cell, we thereby reduce the risk of chromosome rearrangement (where tumor-suppressor genes can be shut off and cancer-causing genes turned on). Telomerase has also been shown to extend the life span of our immune cells, which improves their ability to seek and destroy cancer cells.

According to the American Cancer Society, 78% of all cancers are diagnosed in people 58 years and older. Cancers are more likely to occur when signs of cellular senescence are present and when the immune system begins to be compromised with age and lose its ability to respond to threats. It follows then that extending the period of time before normal cells reach senescence and before immune cells die, would help prevent the creation and spread of cancer in our bodies.

It’s important to note that the unbridled and aggressive way telomerase is activated in cancer cells is also very different from the gentle and mild activation of telomerase in stem-cell and germ-cell lines. TA-65 mimics the natural and gentle activation of telomerase in stem-cells and germ-cells. In 2002, testing and research began with TA-65 and to date there are no studies linking its use to cancer. Rather studies showing its ability to increase the number of “good guys to fight off the bad guys”, gives hope that it will assist our bodies when fighting off cancerous mutations. There is also the possibility that turning telomerase “off” with a telomerase inhibitor (which is where much anti-cancer is now directed) will damage cells that need telomerase activation to be normal anyway including stem cells. Damaging the stem cell line will affect the most rapidly turning over cell types first. This would include the immune system, which is absolutely needed to fight of cancer and infections.

In addition adding TA-65 to human non immortal cancer cell lines, adding TA-65 to pre malignant cells (cells on their way to becoming cancer), adding to-65 to highly cancer prone mice and of course giving TA-65 to people has shown no increases in cancer. As far as prevention that has not yet been thoroughly studied but many of us in the longevity field believe it holds promise for reducing the risk of cancer.

TA-65 is derived from the Astragalus root, a natural compound used and researched for its ability to measurably boost the immune system. Before it was released as a supplement it was studied for effectiveness against various viruses and proved beneficial against HIV to CMV viruses, among others.

These viruses are associated with increased cancer rates, and because of this the question is often posed, “could a telomerase activator actually improve cancer outcomes and maybe even be a cancer preventative?” Geron, the parent company that produces TA-65, is commencing tests and attempting to answer that question.

I believeTA-65 is currently offering cutting edge hope for those pioneering souls who want to explore the boundaries of living fully, healthfully, as long as possible.

A key to remember about living longer is that while the number of years you live is important, the number of years you live fully, with great brain and body function is the real measure of longevity. This is called health span. Most people, scientists, doctors and laymen alike agree, maximizing health span is more important than maximizing life span. Think of it this way, your life can be extended for quite some time with life support but most of us wouldn’t chose to live for months or years on life support.

With TA-65 and Telomerase activation increasing life and health span is now within the reach of almost everyone. I speak with people every day who are exploring ways of extending their health span. If you have specific questions around TA-65 and whether or not it might be effective for you, visit my website for info on contacting me, I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

And please do let me know in the comments below if you like these more technical, educational pieces, if so, I’ll get more of them out right away.

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Dr. David Woynarowski

Dr. Dave Woynarowski, MD, was born in the 1950s in the heart of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Raised in a family of doctors and scientists, “Dr. Dave” continued the tradition, graduating from Temple Medical School in the 1980s, after earning his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Pennsylvania with a dual major in Biology and English.

After completing his Residency in Internal Medicine, Dr. Dave passed the Internal Medicine Boards and joined his father who had been practicing Family Medicine for three decades.

Dr. Dave later embarked on a worldwide pursuit, researching the best-of-the-best in anti-aging medicine. His exhaustive search has made him one of the foremost authorities is preventative health, anti-aging, and nutritional supplements. For example, he may have more scientific research in his medical library on the health benefits of pharmaceutical grade fish oil than any other person in the world. In addition to study and research, Dr. Dave began the development of a new category of nutritional supplements, formulated from his expertise as a physician, and made from only pharmaceutical-grade ingredients.

"“I traveled the globe for many years, searching the four corners of the earth and left no stone unturned,” says Dr. Dave. “What I found is that most people can be significantly healthier through the use of high quality, properly formulated supplements. The problem was that most of the available products did not use a high enough grade of active ingredients, or did not combine the correct amount of ingredients for a multiple-pronged rather than a single-focus approach to the issue. So I developed Dr. Dave’s Best to meet the need."

Dr. Dave is also co-author of "The Immortality Edge" a book dedicated to teaching everyone about the newest hottest field in anti-aging technology, Telomere Biology and giving practical proven advice for better health and a longer life that everyone can use RIGHT NOW!

Dr. David Woynarowski

Latest posts by Dr. David Woynarowski (see all)

Please let us know what you think about this article. All comments will be moderated before being posted publicly.


  1. Joe T says

    Dr. Dave: Thank you for the information. The better educatedwe, the public are, the better we can work with, and support, medicine. Apparently some people are already consuming Astragalus. What form do you recommend that we take, where can we find it, abd what is the recommended amount. I would like to add it to my supplements that I take currently. Please advise. Thank you.

  2. says

    I have also put comments on many of the other telomere posts on this site to answer some questions and address some issues so you might want to review those comments as well for more info.

  3. Anonymous says

    I’m sure that the more technical expanations will be welcomed. I, for one, think they are great. No more having to do as much extra research as before.

  4. Fran USA says

    I think this was great and enjoyed it alot. I learn of this a few years back and I have been drinking Astragulua for a while now. I am 48 and most people think I am 35 so you know this stuff works. Also, I drink black seed oil from Egypt as I know it protects the Chromosones as well. It might work the same way……


  5. Anonymous says

    I do like these “more technical, educational pieces”. Thank you for posting them here for all to read.
    Currently I am taking 250mg of Resveratrol a day. Is this a sufficient dosage to affect telomeres or am I just wasting my money? Any advice you can give me would be appreciated.

  6. LEON J BOOR says

    Not at all. I find it quite enlightening as an article of explanation. Keep it up. I am delighted to have found your website and the important info concerning health, more specifically alternate health is discussed and presented in a very understanding manner. Please continue to be more detailed with your articles. Leon

  7. Mercedes Lackey says

    This is fantastic, and I would like to see more articles based on sound scientific research and a lot less “Bach Flower ‘remedy'” garbage. More science, less crystal-waving and laying-on-of-hands quackery.

  8. Vi S. says

    I think the expanded info will go a long way toward countering the myths and suppositions to be found in checkstand magazine articles. Less information goes hand in hand with no information and that isn’t acceptable when it comes to health matters. It could mean the difference between life and death for many. You are to be commended for your work!

  9. says

    I am fascinated by all of this research on telomeres and the activation of telemarase. This literature is very educational and certainly worthwhile. Please continue to enlighten us the way you have been thus far.

  10. says

    I’m ready to go hard core.

    The FK reading scale puts the above article at 11.7 grade level.

    I’m ready to go to grad school level, so bring on the good stuff!

    Maybe you an add a warning message for those that prefer to stay with a USA Today reading level.

  11. LU PS says

    Yes I do like this “more enlightening” way of information.
    One thing “Bug” me.
    I was treated (radiations) for prostate cancer. I assume that many cancerous cells are still around…. Is it possible that the TA_65
    will activate the “cancerous cells”. You state that it will not activate the telomerase on any “flying around cancerous cell”, but… are you sure that ONE that have been part of a cancer treated will not
    be activated????
    in advance, for your reply.

  12. Helen says

    Thank you for doing this ausome study and letting us know of your succesful evidents and achivements in this great fild of health and longgevity. Sounds like a good future in medicine.
    Please keep it up, we want to hear more……..

  13. P.W. from Brooklyn says

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Please continue. I think it very important people interested in living a long healthy life understand not just “what” it takes but the “why” of how it works. Mind and body are one. If your mind understands the reason some natural medicine can heal you, can there be any doubt your body will heal faster and better? Isn’t that why placebos sometimes work temporarily – because the body believed and acted upon what the mind believed? As a lay person I welcome scientific explanations…especially those as simple to follow as yours. I’m so tired of doctors talking down to anyone whose name isn’t punctuated by MD. Thank you!

    P.S….where can one purchase TA-65 for a reasonable price?

  14. says

    Thanks to everyone who commented so far.

    If you have any specific questions regarding telomeres or telomerase you can write me at doc@drdavesbest or post them right here in comments. Additionally if you search the word telomeres on this site’s search engines you’ll see my comments on many of the articles including my own!

    Also I have a bunch of telomere related articles on my blog which you can access thru the web site and i will be happy to oblige and post more.

    If you have not read “The Immortality Edge” I would suggest you head on over to Amazon and do so as it will give you very succinct recommendations.

    As far as resveratrol is concerned I remain of this opinion: its a decent anti-oxidant so you are probably not wasting your money. I think 250 mg is a low dose though. Also as I have publically stated i sent several brands off to be tested independently for telomerase activity and they had no activity on telomerase at all so I do not believe it is effective for that purpose in free living human beings.

    Additionally just yesterday the whole mechanism of Resveratrol has been question. It may not work through the sirtuin pathway at all but rather through adipokines which would put it squarely in the “anti-oxidant” category.

    Best Dr Dave aka “Dr Telomere”

  15. Norman Smith says

    This is spot on!! I have been a fan of Dr. Micheal Colgan for years who also writes really informative articles like this one I love this kind of info. Good insight and lots of references makes for great reading
    N Smith P.Eng.

  16. T. H. says

    Dr. Dave:

    I like the information that you have put up for the general public. I have somewhere read that the astragalus from which the TA-65 is derived can be as effective. Is that true? I have the extract in powder form for over ten years but only to raise immune. I also have the raw one in white slices. May I know how much to take for each kind.

    T. H. Ling

  17. Seg says

    I’ve been following the telomere research for a while now and am very impressed with the research. I learned most from Dr Al Sears who i believe is the first Physician licenced to sell TA-65..

    For the folks looking to buy TA-65, it’s not cheap,but if you can afford it go for it, a 6 month supply will cost you 4K. Along with Dr Dave you can head of to to purchase and learn more.

  18. Seg says

    T.H Ling
    The extract they used to make TA-65 is not from the “regular” Astragalus plant. It’s a special molecule from a certain specie of the astragalus root, so you can consume as much Astrgalus as you want you won’t get the benefits ..

  19. cmt says

    i love these kinds of articles……….biology & physiology has always been fascinating to me……….i love understanding how it all works & adds to my knowledge base………..



  20. says

    Well hello gang! It’s great to see the interest in telomeres telomerase and longevity. I want to make one thing very clear. Very few people (although it’s not ZERO) tell me they want to live forever. But almost everyone tells me they want to be healthy for as long as possible. To me that is what the most immediate promise of telomere biology is. There is also phenomenal progress in telomerase inhibition for those who already have cancer. Just the other day parent company Geron did 2 big things. They released the data on their inhibitor imelestat which is very promising. And second they granted an exclusive international patent to TA Sciences for distribution of TA-65.

    HOW DO I GET TA-65?
    If you want to get TA-65 from me directly just email me at Or call (866-654-7670) toll free in the US international calls 610) 880-0075
    Here is a link to more info on TA-65

    I want to stress that TA-65 is not strong enough to immortalize human cells but it is strong enough to lengthen the short (dangerous) telomeres in rather dramatic fashion. I think this may account for the safety of the molecule which is extraordinary.
    WHAT IS TA-65 and is there a cheaper version or something else that works as well?
    As to its composition. It is not Astragaloside IV which I tested and it has no activity on telomerase. And it is not cycloastraganol either which some people have claimed. It is known as TAT2 in Geron circles but the exact composition is carefully guarded. The molecule itself it found in one specific type of Astragalus root located in one specific area of Mongolia. It takes approximately 4 tons of Astragalus root to make one typical ( medium dose) yearly course of TA-65 so I hope this answers some of the questions about substitution and cost.

    By the way even though I wrote the TAS manual and spoke at 2 major anti-aging conferences on telomeres and was a major contributor to the only “bookstore” book on the topic “The Immortality Edge” and am one of the few distributors in the country licensed to sell the product I do not work for TA Sciences and I have no say in the cost of the molecule.

    As to who was first in the country I am clear the first doctor to be on it and distribute I was Dr Fred Vagnini a 7 time bestselling author and a cardio thoracic surgeon turned diabetes and weight loss expert. Dr Sears is indeed one of the early adaptors of the product and I have had the pleasure of swapping “war stories” with him over lunch and dinner at some of the conferences. As a person I like Al very much.

    So let me list the doctors I know who distribute TA-65 for those who are interested. By the way I should say that as a result of the incredible safety and tolerability fo the molecule and the clarity of the results of the study we no longer require blood testing before you start. At this point it is just like taking any other vitamin. it just happens to cost as much per day as a Venti Chai latte and is much healthier for you!

    I should also say that TA-65 is really catching on since the article on its efficacy in Rejuvenation Research was published and there have been several weeks where demand has outstripped availability.

    Here are the Docs that I am aware of- who you contact is entirely up to you.

    Myself- Pennsylvania contact me via and myself or a staff member will contact you directly ( please be patient we get a lot of emails!) if you are “dying” no pun intended, to get on it call our toll free hotline 866-654-7670
    Dr Al Sears- Royal Beach Florida originator of the PACE program look for Al’s book on Jamaican healing herbs any day now
    Dr Fred Vagnini NYC NY ( luv ya Freddie!)
    Dr Jeff Life Las Vegas NV ( my hero! At 70+ Jeff is the guy you always see in the airplane mags with the super ripped muscular body. I wanna be like Jeff!)
    Dr Ed Park Los Angeles a true believer in TA-65 also brilliant and fun
    Dr Miki Shima San Francisco ditto
    Here are some names to watch in the longevity health and rejuvenation field. These are the real McCoy’s!
    My co authors Greta Blackburn ( Mike Fossel ( Bill Andrews PhD head of Sierra Sciences, Calvin Harley PhD and Mike West MD. David Kekich

    For those of you who really like this topic poke around these people’s web sites. In the meantime I will crank out more stuff for you and don’t forget to check my blog. DD aka Dr Telomere

  21. sask says

    Hi Dr. Dave aka “Dr. Telomere”,

    Does your book talk about supplements other than TA-65 that lengthen telomeres? I’ve been reading articles that say new research shows Vitamin D, fish oil, multivitamins, and Vitamin B12 increases telomere length. I read your response that Resveratrol doesn’t increase telomere length, but I’d read that too so now I don’t know if I should believe whether the other vitamins and supplements they listed work. They listed research studies, so I’m inclined to believe them and if so, what dosaging do I need to take to get the optimal effect? I also read another way to increase telomerase activity is to meditate. Is that true? If so…I’m all over that!

  22. EZ says

    Thanks for the info, Dr. Dave! I’m no expert but I consider telomerase activation research to be the most interesting anti-aging topic I’ve ever heard of and you do a great job at relaying the techincal details in a way I can understand. I see why they call ya Dr Telomere!

    Can you tell us, if ‘preventing the immortality of cancer cells would slow cell growth’, do you think we would even NEED chemotherapy as a cancer treatment anymore?

    Thanks again!

  23. says

    In response to SASK, Thanks for the question. Take a look at response to comments I posted above. In addition I have written a whole chapter on the topic in the book “The Immortality Edge” which is pretty much required reading here.

    The short answer to why research studies on supplements are published/reported showing telomerase activity where none exists is as follows

    1) Operator inexperience. As I mention in prior posts I actually sent stuff straight to Sierra Sciences the experts in the field to be tested and I share those results in the book at length and shorter versions in these posts.
    2) Using genetically modified cell lines
    3) Measuring telomerase surrogates and sub units The entire complex is required. Often increased mRNA templates are seen in the absence of actual telomerase activity
    4) Overly optimistic interpretation of results known as bias.
    5) Using cell lines that already express measurable telomerase without any other outside agents needed. The gold standard for telomerase expression is human fibroblast cultures since these are extremely hard to induce. If you get results in these you can be sure you have something real; this is where Ta-65 was tested.
    6) Using a telomere test with poor precision or accuracy. This is probably the most common when it comes to telomere length especially in shorter studies
    7) What I call the internet misinformation machine. Example Dr X is super successful and has a highly paid copy writing team and a giant list of adoring followers who don’t question or research anything that comes from him. That team writes something that is not accurate or is downright false either intentionally or unintentionally. Dr X is busy on a Hawaiian vacation and does not notice the inaccuracy. It gets published generates a good sales response and is distributed via Dr X’s vast network of affiliates to many blogs and posts on the internet. Everyone is looking for interesting and stimulating content for their blogs. The affiliates of the affiliates scrape the blog content and pretty soon you have an article that quotes an article that quotes an article etc etc.
    You have just witnessed the birth of a FACTOID. There are few areas where there are more factoids than the area of telomeres and telomerase.
    Keep in mind telomerase expression is a good thing but often does not equate to actual telomere elongation. That is why TA-65 stands out. In the most meaningful test of all short telomere testing in live free living humans as well as several objective improvements in things like immune function, bones density, glucose etc etc.
    No other telomerase supplement has been tested that way. Also there is a difference between slowing down telomere loss and actually lengthening telomeres. A lot of studies that look at humans and supplements are matched to control groups for comparison with nobody having baseline starting telomere lengths in either group. For example: non smokers have longer telomeres than smokers. This gets reported as “Not smoking lengthens your telomeres”.

    Compared to what. In order to say you actually ADD length versus slowing down loss you need a baseline telomere length in the same people as you are testing your supplement/intervention in. If they are longer after the supplement or intervention then you have proven you lengthened telomeres.

    A classic example is a recent study that showed multi vitamins added 5% length to telomeres in women who took them versus women who did not. The conclusion’s often reported as “multivitamins lengthen your telomeres”. More than one doctor on this very site posted that type of interpretation.
    Again what that study really showed was that multivites probably slow down telomere loss since there was no baseline in either group to prove that actual length was added.

    Notice how different this is from slowing down loss. Now don’t get me wrong slowing down telomere loss is SUEPR important and should be done IN ADDITION to adding length whenever possible.

    Also notice that turning on telomerase is not the gold standard, changes in telomere length are. You can turn on telomerase and not add any length at all and possibly not even slow down the loss. The reasons for that are quiet complicated just remember: turning on telomerase does not automatically equal longer telomeres.
    The only supplement that has been shown to add length to telomeres in free living human beings is TA-65.

    I hope this answers your question and again thanks for the interest. This is an amazing field to be part of and an amazing time to be alive!

    Dr Dave aka Dr Telomere

  24. Stuttgart says

    Dr. Telomere,

    I am trying to understand the long term affects of Ta-65 as it relates to endurance and athletic performance. I’m a 40 something who is still active, and needs to know if my endurance levels will increase by taking Ta-65. I am currently using supplements and see great results. I am just looking for a little more of an edge and wonder what Ta-65 will provide.
    Thanks Doc…

  25. Sue USA says

    Thanks Dr. Telomere for the in depth information. It certainly is food for thought and gives me hope for a long and healthy life. I will continue to read up on this process and am interested in reading your book, The Immortality Edge. Where do we get TA-65?

  26. says

    Meditation absolutely helps keep telomeres longer. Again we do a section in the book on this with specific practices and recommendations. The list of where to get TA-65 is in one of my comments above along with my contact info as I among those licensed. Thanks for all the interest! Dr Dave aka ” Dr Telomere”

  27. says

    As far a s TA-65 and performance the input has been “anecdotal”
    meaning reported by users but not studied scientifically. It has been extremely positive though. DR Bill Andrews who discovered the human telomerase gene tells of how TA-65 transformed him from a back of the pack ultra runner to tops in his age group. Two weeks after I started it I dropped a full minute off my 1 mile “interval run” times with no other changes in training or supplementation.

    My sister who is in her mid 50’s started to et podium age group finishes 2 months of starting it.

    Almost every one notes more energy, but these are all what people notice not what has been actually studied since this is a health and longevity supplement the testing parameters have been limited to that.

    IN the :”Immortality edge” we describe at length the effects of exercise on telomere length and our prefered programs

  28. Bertold says

    At 82+ one would expect to be interested to say the least in this subject. Please write more in this fashion. Telomer research and telomerase enzyme remind me of the noise created when HGH was first propounded by the longlife segment of the population. In fact I took it for some time with good results, however the question of price put a lid on it for me. I do however stay healthy in many ways and am very pleased to say, that big Pharma does not make any money on me or my wife of 58 years. She is also in her 9th decade of life. But reading your article not only peaked my interest, but I am encouraged by the fact good research is taking place in the anti-aging field. And yes we do take things like C, D3, Astralagus etc., in doses that are not in common use and that likely contributes to us being in good health. But do write more like this article…PLEASE.
    Thank You !

  29. says

    Thank you very much. This sounds very convincing to me. I will now start consuming the TA-65 capsules I have bought but not started eating until I got an answer to this critical question.

  30. says

    TA-65 is not approved for use in animals but i can tell you there are a few people who are doing it. the following animals that are common as “pets” age by telomere loss: humans ( LOL) cats dogs horses. There is one other species of marine mammal that also ages via telomere loss but it is not a common pet. For those of you who follow raw food vegan guru David Wolfe look for an in depth interview on the topics above soon. All the best, Dr Dave aka Dr Telomere

  31. Anonymous says

    yes – please continue to write in this style. If a person is rearching health issues its important to have and understand the facts.

  32. Anonymous says

    Your articles on “health span” and TA-65 arre super improtant! Keep us informed of your research and any other practical advice you can offer. Thanks for sharing.

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