In This Episode: The title — Don’t Die in the Next Five Years — is an unofficial motto of an organization my wife and I joined, and we went to our first conference with them as members last week. They say this because of coming advances in medicine in the next several years, and we got a glimpse into some of those advances, including some things that aren’t even published yet in medical journals, that were mind-blowing. This episode is my first report on what I learned.
091: Don’t Die in the Next Five Years
- Help Support Uncommon Sense — yes, $5 helps!
- My Google Scholar page.
- Kit’s coaching site.
- Cancer statistics mentioned are from the American Cancer Society.
- Web site for Tzar Labs. Their HrC test — short for the Himanshu Roy Cancer test — is named after Ashish Tripathi’s brother-in-law, who wasn’t diagnosed with cancer until he was at Stage 4; he died despite trying to fight it off for two years. “His message was always that you live an impactful life and leave a legacy, Tripathi said. “I believe that this test is a legacy worthy of his name.”
- Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos was later convicted of multiple counts of fraud, and was sentenced to serve 135 months (11-1/4 years) in prison.
- The index of articles/podcasts in this series is https://thisistrue.com/longevity/.
Welcome to Uncommon Sense, I’m Randy Cassingham.
Thanks for listening or reading, and yes, it’s been awhile! So the first thing is, I’ve definitely not abandoned the Uncommon Sense podcast. I’m just fitting it in where I can. But it is true I didn’t expect a four-month pause!
In the 9 May newsletter earlier this year I included a brief discussion of “biohacking.” Don’t let that glaze your eyes over: I’m pretty sure you are going to be really interested in this, and don’t worry, I won’t get too deep into the biology where lay people very often get lost.
It’s actually going to take me a few months to get my head around it all, delving into the biology enough that I can explain various things to lay people. That was my specialty that got me hired at NASA way back in the late 80s — explaining technical concepts in a way that regular people can understand — so I have a big head start. I’ll give you a preview in a few moments, but I expect by January I’ll be publishing updates frequently.
Anyway, here’s what I wrote last May. I said I went to a (different) meeting where we learned some of the latest on biohacking, and that I’ll have more to say on the tech stuff I’ve learned after I play with it a little. “The theory of operation,” I said, “is really interesting!”
Also, I said, my wife and I have both been long interested in biohacking — using nutrients and tech to improve bodily function and, ideally, extend life. I started reading about it in the late 70s, before they called it that. Kit’s interest is longevity: years ago she told me she plans to live to 150, and not just attain that age, but with health and vibrancy.
Hmmm. Do I think she’ll make it? Maybe, maybe not, but with that as her goal, she realized she needed to work now on the “vibrancy” part, while she still has it, and she has started to incorporate that into her coaching. With strides in medicine and technology, we are going to have longer lives, so we need to plan for getting the most out of that time, she says. Intriguing, eh?
“Longevity is about mindset and energy management,” she teaches. “Age is also a mindset. Yes, genetics plays a role in your longevity, but much less than you think.” I said that in coaching, she helps clients figure out their approach as they age. How to adopt “mindset and lifestyle choices that will give them the energy to live the life they want — and to do that for a long time.”
End of what I wrote.
Does that sound threatening to you? Pie in the sky? Yeah, Kit has big goals, and I have to admit I rolled my eyes over her “live to 150 years old” bit for a long time, but, as I said in May, having the goal at least made her think about what she would have to do to live longer and, very importantly, with vibrant health, because who wants to live to 150 if the last half of that is in decrepitude? She wants to enjoy that extra time!
Well, one of my readers, a medical doctor, was very upset at those brief paragraphs:
I was quite surprised and disappointed [when] you plugged your wife’s life extension activities,” he wrote. “I assume since neither you nor your wife are MDs or have research experience, it is out of ignorance that you are advocating what is a common and popular scam (or maybe a ‘misconception’). There’s a huge literature on the inefficacy (and often harm) resulting from vitamin and mineral ‘supplements’ fad diets, which promote transfer of funds, but either no impact, or a negative one on survival.
He went on to say that the only thing that has been proven to extend life is massive calorie restriction, and who would enjoy a longer life if you’re hungry all the time?
My response was, “Do you always condemn concepts before knowing just what it is you’re condemning?”
Kit doesn’t promote “life extension activities,” and I wasn’t “advocating” anything as of yet. She set a difficult goal and has set out to learn how it might be possible to achieve it. What I said was I was going to talk about “tech stuff” with an “interesting theory of operation.”
Those are, specifically, devices that I was referring to. I’ve tried one and my preview of the review is, it’s a dud. I just started trying out the second device this week, so I don’t have any reaction yet, but that will be one of the segments of my reporting on all of this. Because it turns out, my MD reader is wrong, and I can and will prove it! The “ignorance” may well be his.
I’m not a doctor, but I am a researcher — I even have a Google Scholar entry because my name is on scholarly papers, and my work has been cited in many others.
True, I don’t think any of it is in medicine, but I will be acting more as a reporter with knowledge and the ability to learn than working in someone’s lab. I’ll be telling you what I’ve learned recently that may well extend your life, and your vibrancy so you enjoy those extra years.
Because guess what? Human life expectancy has already expanded — about 20 years of extra life during my lifetime — compared to the life expectancy statistics of the 1960s. And in the next 20 years, it could well be much more than that.
That’s true: it’s already out to 20 extra years! So where your grandparents may have expected to retire at 65 and die a few years later, 65 is now considered pretty darned young. So as Kit says, if you already have 20, or 30, or more years, wouldn’t you like to be healthy during that extra time so you can do things? Have fun instead of pain, spend time on vacation instead of in the hospital? We sure would.
But I don’t have an outline of everything yet, or a timetable. Yes, I’m getting going on this starting right now, but a lot of it will require research first, reporting later. So I add clarity to what I’m going to tell you about, rather than confusion.
Some of my reports will be podcast episodes, which always have a transcript option if you would rather read than listen, and some may well be text only, but I will have an index of every bit of it so if you miss something, or want to review something again, you can go to one place rather than having to search for it. I’ll put that link on the Show Page.
But I did say I’m going to start right now, so let’s delve into specifics with something that’s already been announced, but as far as I could tell none of the other attendees at the conference had heard of yet, and it got several of them pretty darned excited.
That has to do with a breakthrough regarding cancer. What kind of cancer? All of them.
First, where are we now? The American Cancer Society says that 18-1/3 percent of American women die from cancer, and if that seems grim, 21-1/3 percent of American men will die from cancer. Of course not everyone who gets cancer dies from it, but nearly 40 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes. You almost certainly have friends and/or family members who have faced such a diagnosis; I certainly have friends and family who have fought it — and many have died. And maybe you’re fighting it yourself, or have a gene that makes it more likely you will get it.
Ashish Tripathi is the founder and CEO of Tzar Labs of Singapore, and Director of Epigeneres Biotechnology of India, and he told us what they’ve done about this: their Indian scientists have figured out how to diagnose cancer — even the likely “prospect” of cancer starting — with remarkable accuracy …using a simple blood test.
The current blood test for cancer is CTC — Circulating Tumor Cells — which looks for individual cells shed by cancerous tumors. Well, that’s way too late: even at confirmed Stage 4, CTC only finds cancer tumor cells about 60 percent of the time. That’s a lot of room for false negatives, especially during early stages.
The thing is, we don’t need to get a diagnosis at Stage 4, we need it at Stage 0 — before there is a tumor! Finding cancers at even Stage 2 would be a huge breakthrough, when it’s still reasonably curable without too much damage. Stage 1, even better. But Tzar’s test, which they call HrC (see the Show Page for what that means), finds cancer before tumors form at all. Stage 0. If that was all, that’s Nobel Prize territory. But wait, there’s more.
The test not only shows there’s cancer coming, it indicates to which organ it’s coming to. In later stages it indicates what organs it’s starting to spread to — again before tumors form there. The earlier cancer is detected and located, the easier and more successfully it can be treated. Just that would save hundreds of billions of treatment costs, let alone the suffering and death in millions every year.
And yes, there’s still more. Tripathi says it’ll be cheap enough to do the testing routinely every year. And it’s so accurate that if the result is negative, they can pretty much guarantee there will be no cancer for the next year because it takes that long for any cancer to start and become detectable …still at Stage 0.
See what I mean by mind-blowing?!
They do it by analyzing markers in the RNA transcriptome. RNA, or ribonucleic acid, has been in the news a lot with another medical breakthrough: m (or “messenger”) RNA was how the first Covid vaccines were delivered. And that’s it for the jargon: I’ll include a link to the paper describing it in scientific detail on the Show Page.
Now, it is reasonable to approach this with skepticism. It’s already ironic that the very day I was starting to outline this episode, the criminal trial of Elizabeth Holmes was getting underway. Who’s she? The founder, at age 19, and CEO, of Theranos, which had the technology (she promised) that could do blood tests from mere drops of blood with great accuracy right in your doctor’s office using a tiny machine.
What are her criminal charges? Fraud and conspiracy, because the college dropout was lying: she had developed no such technology, and all the investors in Theranos lost the hundreds of millions of dollars they poured into the company to help commercialize it.
So how does Tzar prove it? Well, that’s why this new test isn’t well known yet: their proof of concept involved a thousand test subjects, 500 with cancer and 500 without, but Tzar now has to run large clinical trials to prove it works. Unofficially, they’ve already saved some very important person’s life with it. Important enough that Tripathi couldn’t even hint as to who. As usual, the rich and powerful get first access, but that’s OK: let them help pay for it so the rest of us can get it!
Another way to scan the body for tumors is the PET scan. That’s cool, except that the radiation exposure to the patient from a PET scan can be the equivalent of up to 70,000 x-rays, which guess what, could be enough to cause cancer by itself. Even CAT scans produce the equivalent exposure of up to 4,000 x-rays.
So a simple blood test really is ideal: it’s easy and hardly invasive. Tzar expects their HrC test to be approved in India by the end of the year. They’ve filed for patents in the U.S., Europe, Japan, China, Singapore, and other countries. Tripathi didn’t provide a timetable beyond India, so I wouldn’t expect it to roll out widely before 2022 at the earliest, and probably later.
Yet this is just one of the things I learned at the conference, and it was relatively easy to explain it here, but it’s a small taste of what’s coming in the next five years to bring better health to all of us, not just the privileged few.
So as they say, don’t die in the next five years. Consider yourself warned.
The Show Notes for this episode are at thisistrue.com/podcast91, which has links, a couple of illustrations, and a place to comment.
I’m Randy Cassingham … and I will talk at you later.
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