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Russians flock to clinic that
promises to slow aging


West looking at synthetic version of drugs
By Amelia Gentleman

St. Petersburg -- A team of scientists in St. Petersburg has developed a new style of drug from the organs of newborn calves which, they claim, slows the human aging process so radically that life expectancy could be increased to 110.

Some senior Kremlin politicians, prominent businessman, leading footballers and ballerinas have started to make twice yearly visits to a clinic in one of the cities up market suburbs, hoping to prolong their lives with a course of treatment from the former military doctors responsible for the formula.

One of the most popular aspects of the therapy is there is no need to begin early: on the contrary doctors claim the best results are achieved among people who start treatment when confronted by the symptoms of middle age.

This year the director of Gazprom, the gas giant that is Russia's largest business, signed a contract with the Institute to provide the therapy for about 300,000 members of staff in a drive to reduce sick leave and boost employees enthusiasm for work.  Preliminary results, they claim, are very positive.

The treatment centers on a series of medicines named bioregulators, made from isolated animal organs designed to echo and support the functions of the equivalent organs in humans.  Scientists at the Institute are particularly excited by the efforts of two of their creations -- thymalin and epithalamin -- which they say mirror the work of the body's immune system and hormonal system, respectively.

By taking these drugs they claim patients can rejuvenate the functions of these systems thus staving off both the aging process itself and illnesses that accelerate it.

"These discoveries are as important as the development of the atomic bomb.  It is colossally significant for the whole of mankind," declared Vladimir Kavinson, a specialist in genealogy -- the study of aging process -- who is responsible for much of the research.  Judging by his huge apartment in and ostentatious new development for St. Petersburg elite  (equipped with a television in every room), his work has proved extremely lucrative.

Thymalin is created from the thymus glands (thought to regulate the work of the immune system) taken from calves aged under a year.  Epithalamin is made from young animals epiphysis glands, which the scientists claim control body's metabolism.

In a series of tests on mice and rats over 25 Years, life expectancy of the those animals treated with both drugs increased between 30 and 45 percent and now doctors at the St. Peter's Petersburg Institute of Bioregulation and Gerontology are confident that the same effect will be seen on humans, allowing them to live healthy well into the second century.

They also claimed that, under this kind of treatment, Age-related Diseases can be minimized and the capacity to reproduce will be extended for men and women.

No independent research has been done to collaborate these claims at the mere suggestion that the institute may have discovered an elixir that prolongs youth has aroused huge international interest.

A team of venture capitalists from Britain is negotiating to sponsor research as well as patent and register several of the preparations.

Pharmaceutical Corporations in Germany and the United States are also interested in backing the development of new synthetic versions of the original animal based products." Doctors in the west are very suspicious of medicines developed from the bone stems and inner organs of animals because of the BSE Crisis, so we have been forced to work on the synthetic copies, which are much more, accessible to the Western Mentality Khavinson said.  "These Synthetic Drugs Are the Future."

There is Heavy skepticism among those who warn that some kind of charlatanism always lies behind such claims.  Robert Music Deputy Director of the UK Charity Research into Aging said he would caution against spending money on this kind of drug. " As far as we know, it is just not possible to extend human life expectancy like this."

A less-than inspiring advertisement for the clinic comes with the revelation that, while he was still President, Boris Yeltsin was sent some of the drugs.  Doctors at the institute claimed that while he received their treatment his condition improved, but add hastily that he did not continue with the therapy.  Observer (British newspaper)

A note from Lloyd:

My opinion is that the US wants to make synthetics, purely because that is where the profit is. Our researchers need to understand that the live cell has possibilities that synthetics simply do not posses.

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