A.D.N.J. de Grey

Two years ago, at the first SENS conference (IABG 10), I presented a decidedly ambitious proposal for combating cancer much more thoroughly than can realistically be expected from any therapy currently existing or under development. This concept, termed "Whole-body Interdiction of Lengthening of Telomeres" (WILT), has two main components: (a) the deletion from as many as possible of our cells of the genes involved in telomere elongation by either of the pathways seen in human cancers and (b) the pre-emption of deleterious side-effects in continuously renewing tissues by the decadal reseeding of those tissues' stem cell pools with engineered stem cells that also lack those genes but have had their telomeres extended ex vivo with exogenous telomerase. This is clearly the most ambitious compoinent of my SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) scheme for the piecemeal repair of age-related molecular and cellular damage. Yet, despite increasingly intensive scrutiny, there remains no clear reason why it should fail. I will summarise the WILT concept and then discuss some of the more complex issues surrounding its feasibility.

Keywords (Optional): 
gene targeting