The TeloYears genetic test is brought to you by Telomere Diagnostics Inc., a privately held molecular testing company founded by a group of scientists including the winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine for her work in telomere biology. Learn more about us at www.telomerediagnostics.com.
We recently launched TeloYears, a simple genetic test that reveals the cellular age encoded in your DNA as part of our commitment to inspire personal improvement in overall wellness by making routine telomere length testing broadly accessible.
Our lab in Silicon Valley, California has been qualified to perform high-complexity clinical testing and is certified by and regulated under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) act. There we measure parts of your DNA called telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of DNA strands that tend to shorten and fray with age. We use our own proprietary quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assay, which is the world's leading method of measuring Average Telomere Length (ATL).
We measure your average telomere length by analyzing the DNA found in the many thousands of white blood cells (leukocytes) in just one drop of blood. We use our own unique and proprietary method called the “Cawthon qPCR assay” or quantitative polymerase chain reaction for average telomere length [1; 2]. Using telomere specific primers in our protocol, we quantify the ratio of the telomeric signal (T) relative to the single copy gene signal (S). This T/S ratio reflects the average telomere length (ATL) in your circulating blood. We have developed proprietary methods to tackle the sensitive nature of the qPCR telomere length assay with regard to sample collection, storage, preparation, and assay conditions. We use multiple standards and normalization procedures to ensure precision and accuracy of the assay — yielding a highly reliable measurement with a coefficient of variability typically in the 2% to 3% range.
Then, we enter your ATL into a mathematical model we derived from measuring telomere length at the population level to calculate your age in TeloYears, or the actual age of a typical man or woman whose telomere length is similar to yours.
Cawthon, RM. Telomere measurement by quantitative PCR. Nucl. Acids Res. (2002) 30(10):e47.
Cawthon, RM. Telomere length measurement by a novel monochrome multiplex quantitative PCR method. Nucl. Acids Res. (2009) 37(3):e21.
TeloYears is supported by a world-class team of experts in telomere science, its implications on how we age, and research investigating its additional uses.
Calvin Harley, PhD
Dr. Harley is a Co-founder of Telomere Diagnostics and is a world-renowned expert in telomere biology and aging, being among the first to link cellular aging to telomere loss during cell division in human cells. His team developed the telomerase assay when he found that cancer cells escaped mortality by activating the telomerase enzyme. Full bio +-
Prior to starting Telomere Diagnostics, Cal spent 15 years at Geron Corporation, a pharmaceutical company with major programs in telomere biology for aging and cancer. While at Geron, Cal held roles as CSO, Vice President of Research, and Director of Cell Biology. Prior to Geron, Cal was a faculty member in the Department of Biochemistry at McMaster University where he led research programs on mortality and immortality in human cells.
Dr. Harley received a Bachelor of Science degree from Waterloo University and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry at McMaster University. He completed postdoctoral research at UCSF in molecular biology and at the University of Sussex in evolutionary biology. Additionally, Cal served as an executive for the Canadian Association on Gerontology, and has published extensively on the medical applications of telomere research. He is an inventor on a number of key patents related to telomere biology, telomerase, and the diagnosis and treatment of disease, and has received numerous awards for his work.
Jue Lin, PhD
University of California, San Francisco
Dr. Lin is a Research Biochemist in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF and a co-founder of Telomere Diagnostics. She did her postdoctoral work with Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, a Nobel Laureate in telomere research, investigating telomerase function and regulation. Full bio +-
For the past 12 years, her work has focused on using telomere maintenance as a biomarker for aging and aging-related diseases in human studies. Dr. Lin and her team developed a high throughput telomere length measurement suitable for large scale clinical studies and pioneered telomerase activity measurement in unstimulated immune cells suitable for clinical studies. Working for Dr. Blackburn, she has led over 40 collaborative projects that examine the role of telomere length and telomerase activity in health and human diseases, and has published seminal articles on telomere biology.
Dr. Lin obtained her Ph.D. in molecular biology at Cornell University.
Richard M. Cawthon MD, PhD
Research Associate Professor, Department of Human Genetics
University of Utah
Since 1987, Dr. Cawthon has been in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Utah, working first in cancer genetics and then concentrating exclusively on aging, longevity, regenerative medicine, and rejuvenation. Full bio +-
Dr. Cawthon has broad research interests in the genetics of aging and longevity, and has a body of significant work including:
Dr. Cawthon holds a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University in Biochemical Sciences. He earned his M.D. and Ph.D. in Human Genetics from Yale University. He was the 1996 recipient of the AlliedSignal Award for Research on Aging.
Suneet Agarwal, M.D., Ph.D.
Dana-Farber / Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Dr. Agarwal completed his undergraduate education at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island before undertaking his M.D. and Ph.D. training at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. Full bio +-
He carried out pediatric hematology/oncology clinical training at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital, where he also did his postdoctoral training in stem cell biology. Dr. Agarwal is currently an Assistant Professor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, Principal Faculty at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and a Staff Physician in Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation at the Dana-Farber / Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Dr. Agarwal is interested in the mechanisms and therapy of genetic blood disorders, with a focus on telomere diseases.
Nanette H. Bishopric, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.H.A.
Professor of Medicine
University of Miami
Dr. Bishopric is Professor of Medicine at the University of Miami (UM), where she directs the Cardiovascular Genomics Laboratory in addition to an active cardiology practice, specializing in heart disease therapeutics and risk factor modification. Full bio +-
Dr. Bishopric is active in peer review as a standing member of a regular NIH study section, as an Academic Editor of PloS One, and as Associate Editor of JACC: Basic and Translational Medicine. She is a member of the Editorial Boards of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, having also served on the Circulation and Circulation Research editorial boards. Dr. Bishopric holds a B.A. degree in Music Performance-Magna cum Laude and an M.D., both from Duke University. During medical school, Dr. Bishopric was a Howard Hughes fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Lefkowitz. She trained in Internal Medicine at University of Florida-Gainesville and in clinical Cardiology at UC San Francisco. Research honors include the Merck/ACC Fellowship Award, the SRI International Technical Excellence Award, the Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association, the 2010 Distinguished Scientist award from the American College of Cardiology, and election to the prestigious Association of University Cardiologists in 2014.
Douglas Harrington, MD, FAPC FASCP FCAP
Medical & Laboratory Director
Dr. Douglas Harrington is our Medical Director and runs the Telomere Diagnostics lab that performs the TeloYears genetic test. He specializes in preventive Cardiology and is a Clinical Professor, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California. Dr. Harrington has over 25 years of experience in the research, development, commercialization, and expansion of molecular diagnostic tests and other innovative healthcare technologies. Full bio +-
Dr. Harrington co-founded one of the first clinical molecular biology laboratories in the U.S. with the Nebraska Lymphoma Study Group headed by Dr. Jim Armitage. As former President and Lab Director of Nichols Institute, Dr. Harrington expanded their molecular genetics, infectious disease, immunology, cytogenetic, and anatomic pathology offerings.
Dr. Harrington has developed patents for an automated method for image analysis of residual cancer cells, a patent covering catalytic heavy metal extraction, and a patent pending on biomarker assay for diagnosis and classification of cardiac disease. He has been involved as a Director or founder of multiple startup companies - from devices to molecular genetics focusing on genetics, immunology, cancer and cardiology, where he has taken a number of new molecular technologies through state and federal regulatory approval.
Dr. Harrington remains a Clinical Professor of Pathology at the USC Keck School of Medicine. Dr. Harrington received his B.A. in Molecular Biology and M.D. from the University of Colorado. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Preventive Cardiology, is Board Certified in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology and Hematology, and has authored over 80 scientific studies and publications. He holds multiple professional affiliation memberships, including the American Society of Preventive Cardiology, American Medical Association, the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, the College of American Pathologists, the Association for Molecular Pathology and the International Academy of Pathology.