The "Holy Grail" of Medicine

Last year at the Agora Financial Investment Symposium I predicted that this would be a very big year.

I’ve been saying for a while that scientific progress is moving so fast that most people are unable to deal with the kinds of breakthroughs that are happening.

I’m even astonished.

I didn’t think we’d see some of the developments that have come to pass in the past months for many, many years.

Transformational breakthroughs have taken place across the scientific spectrum. But the most remarkable and important are in medical biotechs.

Many of the breakthroughs I’m talking about will have a direct and dramatic impact on your healthy life span, or your “health span,” as well as your portfolio. One breakthrough that stands out is a nutraceutical that contains anatabine citrate, a naturally occurring food substance found in solanaceous plants. It directly addresses auto[innate]immune disorders associated with chronic low-level inflammation.

“Game changer” may be an overused cliché, but this is really, truly that.

But before we get to what it is, here is why it is so important…

The name of the neural circuit that regulates the immune response to injury and invasion is the “inflammatory reflex.” Inflammation is a complex mechanism that involves the destruction of damaged cells. It heals salvageable cells and aids in the growth of entirely new cells.

When we are young, the primary role of this important biological response is to heal injury or infection. But inflammation also increases the rate of aging and leads to various pathologies.

Chronic inflammation increases as you age. Eventually, it creates a problem serious enough to trigger a cascade effect. Uncontrolled inflammation causes the simultaneous healing and destruction of cells.

This can lead to: cancers, heart attacks, lupus, IBS, macular degeneration, stroke, obesity, ED, allergies, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, endometriosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hair loss, diseases of the organs such as the thyroid and liver as well as…

Well, you name it.

Today, scientists have advanced the science much further. Many are now using the term “inflammaging,” coined by Claudio Franceschi, professor of immunology at the University of Bologna.

It appears that our immune systems react to the normal effects of aging as if they were injuries. This initiates inflammation, an immune response. This inflammation causes cellular stress. It is, by definition, an auto- immune disorder. Some scientists call it auto[innate]immunity subclinical syndrome.

It is a vicious circle, a chronic cycle that spins faster and faster until the organism itself eventually fails. Aging, we now know, is not linear. Like so many other things, it is a process that accelerates over time.

However, if there were a way to stop chronic low-level inflammation we could put the breaks on the auto-immune inflammation cycle. If we could stop chronic low-level inflammation. Our bodies could heal naturally.

We would even see cells damaged by past inflammation-related diseases heal normally. We’re not talking about regenerative medicine.

Regenerative medicine promises to replace aged cells and tissue with young telomere-restored cells and tissue. An alternative route is the activation of the telomerase gene, which we know can restore telomeres to youthful lengths.

In the meantime, however, we need to slow the process of telomere loss. For some time, scientists have known that inflammation is the primary accelerator of telomere loss. This is why so few of us reach our theoretical maximum life spans – which could be 120 years or more.

We would be much, much more likely to reach that theoretical upper limit if we aged as we did when we were young. A drug that actually controlled inflammaging would restore the aging process to a more linear progression.

For this reason, many scientists are looking for the means to reduce or stop inflammaging. Not infrequently, this hypothetical drug has been referred to as the “holy grail” of drug discovery.

The market for such a compound would be so big it is nearly unimaginable. Lipitor, technically atorvastatin, does lower indicators of inflammation. The most well-known, because doctors can test for it easily, is C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP levels rise with inflammation and their reduction demonstrates lowered inflammation. As a result, Lipitor is known to reduce the danger of cardiovascular and other diseases for many people.

Measured by sales, Lipitor is the most successful drug in history. Last year, Pfizer sold over $5 billion of Lipitor. This is despite a broad range of adverse effects and competing anti-inflammatory statins. At its peak in 2006, Pfizer was earning almost $13 billion annually from Lipitor.

But the breakthrough nutraceutical I mentioned above is far more effective than Lipitor or the other statins while being safer and cheaper. That, my friends, is the holy grail of modern medicine so many scientists are seeking.

More unbelievable still, they’re saying it isn’t even a drug in the legal sense. The holy grail is an extremely safe nutraceutical – a food that all of us consume in small quantities regularly.


Patrick Cox
for The Daily Reckoning

The Daily Reckoning