Thanks everyone for a thoughtful discussion so far! I want to shift focus to a recent case of medical tourism and the questions it opens up. Last year, Elizabeth Parish of BioViva underwent gene therapy treatments for aging (technologyreview.com/s/542371/...), specifically to deliver more telomerase gene to her cells to counteract the effects of aging on her chromosomes. In the case of telomerase, there is much evidence in pre-clinical experiments that delivering telomerase to cells can extend life. However, these is no evidence of this applying to humans. Her treatments generated much press and attention, especially because several prominent scientists were associated with the company.
Generally, is there an issue with this type of medical tourism? The patient is clearly very educated and informed of the pre-clinical results and wants to partake in human trials on herself. She claims this type of trial could never occur in the states because aging is not considered a disease. Thus, is it ok for her to trailblaze in this direction since otherwise we might not find out whether telomerase could extend age and prevent diseases(1/2)