Telomerase gene therapy for Alzheimer's disease

Telocyte is a company founded by Michael Fossel, MD, Ph.D., and Peter Rayson and is focused on curing Alzheimer’s disease using telomerase gene therapy.

This gene therapy seeks to restore critically short telomeres in target cells in order to restore a more youthful level of function, encourage tissue regeneration,  and thus potentially reverse Alzheimer’s pathology. Telomere loss is thought to be one of the major reasons we age and we discuss this in detail here.

Telocyte and the CNIO (Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas) in Spain have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for collaboration to take Telomerase Therapy to FDA human trials. Under the supervision of Dr. Maria Blasco, the CNIO has recently made advances in both animal research and delivery systems and is collaborating with Telocyte to bring telomerase therapy closer to the clinic.

The Telocyte company has substantial funding to cover the costs of human trials and is awaiting an FDA decision on their IND application. According to their Q1 2021 newsletter, they will be moving into large animal models later this year.


[1] Jaskelioff, M., Muller, F. L., Paik, J. H., Thomas, E., Jiang, S., Adams, A. C., … & Horner, J. W. (2011). Telomerase reactivation reverses tissue degeneration in aged telomerase-deficient mice. Nature, 469(7328), 102.

[2] de Jesus, B. B., Vera, E., Schneeberger, K., Tejera, A. M., Ayuso, E., Bosch, F., & Blasco, M. A. (2012). Telomerase gene therapy in adult and old mice delays aging and increases longevity without increasing cancer. EMBO molecular medicine, 4(8), 691-704.