About the Company

Telomere Diagnostics, Inc. (TDx) is a privately held DNA testing company committed to helping people improve their cellular health.

TDx markets the TeloYears® actionable DNA test to help people stay younger and live longer by tracking their cellular age so they can optimize their telomere health. The age of one's cells in TeloYears is a simple yet comprehensive indicator of overall wellness. It is based on the length of one’s telomeres, the dynamic, protective caps on chromosomes that shorten with age, but also can change based on genetics, lifestyle, environment, stress, and other factors. More than 20,000 peer reviewed publications by some of America's most trusted institutions have established links between telomere length and cellular aging, age-related diseases, and mortality in general.

TDx was founded in 2010 by a group of four scientists, one of whom who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2009 for her pioneering work in telomere biology. Its lab in Silicon Valley (Menlo Park, California) is CLIA-certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments as qualified to perform high complexity clinical testing. TDx uses its own proprietary quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assay, which is the world’s leading method of measuring Average Telomere Length (ATL).

Beyond TeloYears, the company is actively marketing TeloYears Advanced Ancestry, the world's first next generation sequencing-based ancestry test, and is also developing other potential uses of ATL to address unmet clinical needs in cardiovascular disease and beyond. Learn more about us at www.telomeredx.com/company/.

The TeloYears lab

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).

The World's Leading Method of Telomere Measurement

Measure Telomeres Diagram

We are the world's only telomere lab whose analytical validation of its measurement method has been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

We use this method to 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.

Use of this in a method may be covered by one or more of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,695,904, 8,048,631, and 9,169,516.

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.

Clinical and scientific advisors

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
Telomere Diagnostics

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
Research Biochemist
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:

  • demonstrating that longer telomeres in people aged 60 years or older are associated with longer life, and that shorter telomeres are associated with increased mortality rates from heart disease and infectious disease;
  • inventing the first quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) method for measuring telomere length in DNA samples, now in routine use in laboratories around the world;
  • using computerized Utah genealogies to find genetic variants that slow both reproductive and general somatic aging;
  • identifying gene expression profiles that predict the remaining lifespan of the donors.

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.

Medical & Laboratory Director

Anagh Vora, MD
Medical & Laboratory Director