Biotechnology companies like Klotho Therapeutics are working with enzymes and proteins that occur naturally in the body and have positive effects on longevity and disease prevention. Founded by technology entrepreneur Jim Plante, who also founded Pathway Genomics, Klotho Therapeutics is currently concentrating on slowing the progression of kidney disease. Millions of U.S. residents suffer from kidney disease, with about 600,000 of them being treated with dialysis.
About the Klotho Gene and Its Protein
The klotho gene was first discovered in 1997. Scientists first conducted research on this gene and its associated protein in mice. They discovered that low amounts of the klotho protein or a mutation of the gene led to faster development of issues connected with aging. In contrast, overabundance of this protein was connected with greater longevity. The protein naturally circulates in the body for an entire lifetime, but levels decrease as people get older.
Research has since indicated that people suffering from chronic kidney disease always have a problem with phosphate retention, which in turn is connected with a deficiency of the klotho protein. A study published in 2011 says this finding suggests chronic kidney disease may be considered a condition of accelerated aging.
Further studies note that low levels of this protein might be considered an early indicator of kidney disease in addition to being a contributing factor in the illness. Researchers believe low levels may also be implicated in other health problems that include cancer, cardiovascular disease and dementia. The risk of all these illnesses increases with age.
A Word of Caution
Some websites claim that people can boost their levels of the protein through natural means such as exercise and changes in diet. However, the higher amounts in the circulation are unlikely to be remarkable enough or effective enough for any noticeable and practical improvements in the body. Biotechnology is the best option for increasing circulating klotho protein.
The team at Klotho Therapeutics intends to begin clinical trials with humans in the near future, possibly within two years. The trials will offer the results of the company’s biotechnology developments to people with chronic kidney disease.