Lifespan.io has an inspiring story about a new strategy to target ALT (alternative lengthening of telomeres) based cancers. These are cancers that have the ability to extend the life of a cell by producing new telomeres. The idea is simple. Cut cancer off at the knees by finding a drug compound that prevents cancer cells from producing new telomeres.
Some of the more exciting aspects of this project are:
- It is targeting a significant percentage (10-15%) of cancers
- It is a crowd founded project (Flexible Funding)
- It is cheap $60k-$200k seems like the kind of fundraising that a local cancer fundraiser walk could put together
- They name the machines they need to use to automate the testing of new compounds
- The price only increases by 3.5x for testing 11.5x the amount of compounds
- Rather than being a closed up research effort in order to patent their findings it is a open book explaining their theory and strategy
- They have a good name. Ctrl Alt Del….
Based on the conservative estimate that 10 percent of cancers employ an ALT strategy to achieve cellular immortality, there are about 1.4 million new cases and 820,000 deaths globally due to ALT cancers every year. We expect these numbers to at least double by 2030 as the world’s population ages and telomerase-based anticancer therapies gain approval to treat cancer patients. Therefore, the development of ALT-targeted therapies is critically needed in the fight against aging and cancer.
The yearly number of new cancer cases alone is estimated to reach 27 million by 2030.