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BioViva CEO Liz Parrish on Singularity 1on1: Gene Therapy is NOT a Monstrous Science

Liz Parrish YouTubeBioViva‘s CEO Liz Parrish is a fire-starter and probably not everyone’s favorite person. But if your goal is as bold as defeating aging then you’ll have to break some eggs. And so feel as you might but I have to admit that Parrish is definitely one of my favorite people – not only for the scientific work that she does but also because she is a fun, passionate and fully committed individual that inspires me. Thus it was no surprise that, despite some technical difficulties with my set up, I had a total blast interviewing Liz for my Singularity 1on1 podcast.

During our 80 min conversation with Liz Parrish we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: her personal goals and motivations; how she started with the intent to cure childhood disease and ended up in the campaign to defeat aging; BioViva and its mission; being a fire-starter, vegetarian, not everyone’s favorite person and sticking to your choices; the campaign to cure Alzheimer’s Disease; what is gene therapy, how it works and why it is so promising; the definition of aging; the ethics in genetics; medicine and human rights; why telomerase therapy in humans is the most exciting therapy…

My favorite quote from this interview with Elizabeth Parrish is this:

“There is no time like the present. We can’t wait another 20 years… Starting now is the time to start.”

(You can listen to/download the audio file above or watch the video interview in full. If you want to help me produce more high-quality episodes like this one please make a donation!)

Who is Liz Parrish?

Liz ParrishBioViva‘s CEO Elizabeth Parrish is a humanitarian, entrepreneur and innovator, as well as a leading voice for genetic cures. As a strong proponent of progress and education for the advancement of regenerative medicine modalities, she serves as a motivational speaker to the public at large for the life sciences. She is actively involved in international educational media outreach and sits on the board of the International Longevity Alliance (ILA). Liz is an affiliated member of the Complex Biological Systems Alliance (CBSA), which is a unique platform for mensa based, highly gifted persons who advance scientific discourse and discovery. The mission of the CBSA is to further scientific understanding of biological complexity and the nature and origins of human disease. Parrish is the founder of BioTrove Investments LLC and the BioTrove Podcasts which is committed to offering a meaningful way for people to learn about and fund research in regenerative medicine.  She is also the Secretary of The American Longevity Alliance (ALA) a 501(c)(3) nonprofit trade association that brings together individuals, companies, and organizations who work in advancing the emerging field of cellular & regenerative medicine.

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  • Steve Hill

    Brilliant interview and a favorite along with the Dr Fossel one last year.

  • I have to agree on both accounts 😉 Only regret is that Liz was unfortunately not within a driving distance and so I was unable to give her the proper 3 camera, broadcast quality and in-person treatment that she deserves 😉

  • Neoliberal Agenda

    Great interview, I agree about giving up on the animal models.

    People should be free to do what they like with their own body. The State has no right prevent people from taking experimental drugs

    It’s murder.

  • Brad Arnold

    To my knowledge BioViva is the first company to offer adult gene therapy for humans – hope Google (Alphabet) buys it so they can implement the information they garner from Calico. Frankly, I don’t understand why the opposition to gene therapy when it doesn’t pollute the germline.

    http://joshmitteldorf.scienceblog.com/2015/03/18/tomorrows-anti-aging-therapy-available-today/

    “BioViva is a new company offering experimental medical services outside US borders. Their team includes

    a lab that provides genetically modified viruses with a gene payload, made to order. (This has now become a reliable and predictable technology.)

    A doctor who has experience with experimental gene therapy, and who had the courage to experiment on himself five years ago, with good outcome thus far.

    Sites in Colombia and Mexico where doctors will administer therapies for which there is not yet FDA approval.

    Most important, a Scientific Advisory Board that includes two of the most prominent, senior biochemists who developed the science of telomerase in the 1990s and before. They are Bill Andrews and Michael Fossel.”

    What they offer is gene therapy with hTERT and a proprietary myostatin inhibitor “in the same family with GDF-11,” according to CEO Elizabeth Parrish.

  • 竹村 和莉 (Takemura Ori)

    This is truly a great interview. It is strange to see BioViva – a company that puts words of people like Aubrey de Grey into action have so little media coverage, and it is a pity to see that campaign being run on such a old looking page with no number showing how many funds have been raised etc. I know we don’t have kick-starter for medicine yet but there really should be a better way to do this.

  • Pierre

    You should try getting Viktor Skulachev for an interview (I’m just guessing you can speak russian) .. you had Bill Andrews (Telomeres), Fossel (~Telomeres), Liz Parrish (gene therapy but also telomeres).. Skulachev is an anti-oxidants guy (he has his own mitochondria targeted small molecule anti-oxidant), but I wonder if you could ever get ahold of him for an interview.. would be great if we had also information from that frontline (anti-oxidants)

  • Pierre

    People are scared to death from the idea of a really long life.. also they’re hyper-ignorant and will rather deny even thinking about it.. but once any company shows a positive result (a person who has seemingly became visibly younger), then shi* will hit the fan.. the publicity will come, but also the crazy backlash.. I think everyone in the anti-aging movement should be prepared.. things are about to become crazy

  • Interesting suggestion. Any idea how I could get in touch with him?!

  • Pierre

    If I knew, I’d tell you in the first place 😀 Guess pestering them with e-mails through their official websites (skq-project) might work… Viktor probably doesn’t teach at the university anymore, so I guess his uni e-mail won’t be working too 😀

  • deanpomerleau

    Nikola – there will never be peace in the world while there are animals in our bellies. Give a well-planned vegan diet another try!

    –Dean

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  • Zoe D Katze

    Man has she got you fooled. 2nd best scam of all time except religion. Promise people if they believe in what you say and they’ll live forever. Then, with no education, no MD. no PhD, no background in microbiology, Neurobiology, not even an LPN form a 501-c-3, get your money, swear SHE has the answer (and it’s on films) and travel the world on you’re dollar. After an exhaustive search we did find one license, to cut hair, but that expired a few years ago. Yes, the second coming, Liz Parrish. By the way, if the entire procedure was filmed, why can’t we see one frame? I was recently speaking with a gentleman about “Liz” this man obtained his PhD in microbiology with honors from UC Davis, has a degree in computer science, is a multiple entrepreneur and guest lectured for years to the MBA program at Santa Clara University. About Liz he said, “The facts are Liz is an idiot, She’s an ignoramus who has learned enough to be dangerous, but still hasn’t learned enough to realize how little she knows.” The esteemed Dr. Michael Fossel M.D. PhD states: I am not and have not been on Liz’s board of directors, nor is she on mine. I wish her well and understand the common urge to move as fast as possible, but our own intent is to ensure safety, efficacy, and credibility by pursuing FDA-sanctioned human trials aimed at Alzheimer’s disease. Liz once put my name on her board without permission and I requested that she remove it, which (as far as I know) she did. To be clear, neither I nor our biotech company, Telocyte, are in any way associated with either Liz or Bioviva, nor will we be. To be clear, we are not associated with her.

  • Zoe D Katze

    Dr. Harriet Hall M.D. a former Air Force flight surgeon who writes about medical quackery on the subject of “Liz” (well, we can’t call her Dr. Just because she’s been there a few times (to the Dr) writes:

    Telomerase is not a good thing

    Encouraging telomerase is most likely dangerous. Cancer is characterized by unregulated growth, and telomerase is active in 90% of human malignancies. We don’t want cancer cells to live forever. Drugs that reduce telomerase activity are being investigated as cancer treatments. So if Product B really increases telomerase activity, that might not be such a good thing. We might fall from the frying pan of the aging process into the fire of more cancers.
    The role of telomerase in aging is still controversial. Short telomeres could be just a sign of cellular age rather than a cause. In at least one species of seabird, they are neither: telomeres become longer with age.
    The Product B website says “Almost every known disease can be attributed to the shortening of telomeres.” That is demonstrably false. Well, maybe they “can be attributed” by someone who is willing to make false attributions; but there is no evidence that short telomeres actually “do” cause almost every known disease. In fact, it has not been conclusively established that they cause any disease. There are correlations, but science is still trying to tease out causation
    I ran a PubMed search about Teleromase causing cancer, and found approximately 8000 hits of abstracts, clinical studies and trials that I found most relevant.

    Two very critical links to reports based upon Ms Parrish’s “partner” Dr Watson are posted below
    http://www.healthintheglobalvillage.com/2013/05/06/precision-stemcell-selling-stem-cells-treating-individuals-with-als-as-human-guinea-pigs/

    https://web.archive.org/web/20130820233637/http://alsworldwide.org/documents/PrecisionStemCellReviewMarch192013.pdf

  • Zoe D Katze

    Correction from below, Dr. Williams not Dr. Watson

  • Zoe D Katze

    On December 13, 2012, concerned about the safety of the increasing number of individuals with ALS receiving adipose-derived stem cells at Precision StemCell, Dr Leigh Steinberg contacted the FDA’s Center For Biologics Evaluation and Research and urged FDA officials to investigate the clinic. I took that step because it appeared to me that Dr. Williams was violating federal regulations, putting stem cell recipients at risk of harm, and charging for interventions that had not first been tested for safety and therapeutic efficacy. Dr. Williams’ administration of stem cells to minors also played a role in Dr Steinbergs decision to send a letter to the FDA.
    Dr. Williams’ stem cell procedures use liposuction to extract fat tissue from patients’ abdomens. Williams next uses collagenase, an enzyme, to break down the adipose tissue and prepare something called a stromal vascular fraction. Stromal vascular fractions contain a mixture of cell types; it is unclear exactly what cells Dr. Williams administers to his patients. Given that Dr. Williams does not appear to test for cell type, dosing level, and viability of cells, it is doubtful that he knows exactly what he injects into patients’ spines and limbs.
    Whatever it is that Dr. Williams administers to patients, it is highly unlikely that it provides any therapeutic benefit. Although Dr. Williams tells patients that he uses a medication, Seligene to “reprogram” adipose derived stem cells and convert them into neural stem cells he has not conducted pre-clinical research to support this claim. Rather, he refers patients to a study other individuals conducted using rats. While he has posted to YouTube a promotional video about his stem cell “research,” Dr. Williams has never publicly disclosed a detailed scientific justification or research protocol for his stem cell interventions and he has never published study results. It also appears that he failed to conduct in vitro research and pre-clinical studies using animal models before he began charging patients for his stem cell interventions.
    At present, administration of adipose-derived stem cells to individuals with ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, optic nerve hypoplasia, and other diseases constitutes human experimentation. It is not part of the routine, established practice of medicine. The experimental, unproven nature of such interventions is one reason why they are not covered by insurance plans as evidence-based treatments. The stem cells Dr. Williams injects into patients should be administered within carefully designed clinical studies allowed to proceed only after rigorous scientific and ethical review by the FDA and an institutional review board.
    There are at least three reasons why the stem cell interventions Dr. Williams markets and provides should be administered only after submitting an investigational new drug application to the FDA.
    First, the medical devices Dr. Williams uses to process stem cells are not approved by the FDA as a point-of-care stem cell processing system. One of the devices he uses is a liposuction kit. The second piece of equipment is a specimen container. Neither device is approved for the intended purpose of processing autologous stem cells.
    Second, it appears that Dr. Williams’ stem cell procedures exceed what is known as the “minimal manipulation” standard. Dr. Williams uses collagenase to dissolve adipose tissue and prepare a stromal vascular fraction, he adds platelet rich plasma to the mix, and Seligelene, a drug that is not approved for the intended use of treating individuals with ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, or spinal cord injuries, is used for the ostensible purpose of “reprogramming” adipose-derived stem cells and turning them into neural stem cells.
    Third, Dr. Williams takes stem cells from fat tissue and injects them into individuals with ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, and spinal cord injuries. This practice appears to constitute nonhomologous administration of autologous stem cells. What “nonhomologous use” means is that stem cells from fat are being asked to serve a function that they do not ordinarily perform. Stem cells from fat tissue are also injected into parts of the body where they are not normally found. One reason to conduct pre-clinical studies followed by carefully designed, scientific and ethical human subjects research when engaging in such activity is to establish whether administering adipose-derived stem cells in this manner is safe and efficacious.
    If Dr. Williams wants to conduct research addressing safety and efficacy of adipose-derived stem cell injections for ALS he should have first submitted an NDA (Investigational New Drug application to the FDA and then waited until the FDA let the proposed study proceed or imposed a clinical hold. Instead, it appears that Dr. Williams began injecting adult stem cells into individuals without first submitting an IND application to the FDA or seeking to have a research protocol approved by an IRB. For over a year Dr. Williams has engaged in unapproved, unauthorized human subjects research. Over twenty individuals paid substantial amounts of money to Dr. Williams for these unproven, experimental stem cell interventions.
    Dr. Williams failed to conduct pre-clinical studies before marketing his stem cell interventions, failed to submit his research protocol for review by an IRB and the FDA, put ill and injured patients at risk of harm with no realistic prospect of therapeutic benefit, violated federal regulations governing human subjects research and the administration of stem cells, and charged patients for stem cell interventions with identifiable risks and little or no chance of benefit. Such activity merits the scrutiny of both the FDA and Alabama’s Board Of Medical Examiners. Administration of such stem cell interventions also exposes Dr. Williams to the possibility that some of his former patients will file lawsuits against him. Litigation against U.S.-based companies that marketed and provided access to unlicensed stem cell interventions is in progress in California and Nevada.
    In February 2013, Dr. Pieman Hematti and Stephen Byer two representatives from ALS Worldwide visited Precision StemCell. They subsequently posted to the Internet a detailed report that is sharply critical of Dr. William’s stem cell procedures. It appears that their visit has prompted Dr. Williams to announce that in future he will administer adult stem cells to patients in Bogota, Colombia rather than at his clinic in Gulf Shores, Alabama. However, Dr. Hematti and Mr. Byer are patient advocates rather than representatives of an authorized regulatory body capable of enforcing compliance with relevant federal and state regulations. At any time Dr. Williams might decide to resume administering adult stem cells to patients at his U.S. clinic. Also of great concern, Dr. Williams was threatening Dr Hermatti and Mr. Buyer with legal action if they did not remove their report from the Internet.
    Threats intimating the possibility of litigation are common when stem cell clinics are accused of profiting from interventions that appear to violate federal regulations and put patients at risks. Critics are forced to decide whether to withdraw their concerns or face the threat of a lawsuit and the substantial expenses that typically accompany litigation. Sometimes, depending upon whether the concerns of critics are substantiated, the threat of litigation diminishes following site inspections by duly authorized regulatory bodies. I hope investigators from the FDA and Alabama’s Board of Medical Examiners visit Precision StemCell, meet with Dr. Williams, conduct thorough inspections of his “stem cell processing system” and the facility in which he prepared stem cells for injection, and address whether his stem cell interventions were in compliance with federal and state regulations. While it appears that Dr. Williams now plans to administer adult stem cells at his clinic in Colombia, his activities injecting adult stem cells into patients at his Gulf Shores clinic merit careful scrutiny. Dr. Williams’ latest plan to administer stem cells and “gene therapy” to patients from the United States and elsewhere at a new Precision StemCell clinic in Colombia South America to patients from the United States and elsewhere should also be investigated by federal and state investigators responsible for ensuring compliance with regulations governing the marketing and administration of unlicensed and unproven stem cell interventions.
    On October 12, 2012 he and Liz Parrish claim they did just that on Ms. Parish herself although there is no proof of this. However, in 2013 the FDA sent Dr Williams a cease and desist letter and now we have Dr Williams and Ms. Parrish combining their companies with Dr Williams as the new Medical Director.
    It is my belief that this is nothing but a scam, and a tax free one as well.
    I remember clearly as my wife was dying from Lymphoma all kinds of quacks came around selling all kinds of potions like this claiming they could cure her. After a valiant fight including 3 rounds of chemo, 3 rounds of radiation culminating with an autologous stem cell transplant the love of my life, my best friend, and wife of 34 years died in my arms.
    The only thing I can imagine area scammers, quacks and other narcissistic money driven people pretending to want to help taking people to South America charge them tens of thousands of dollars just to have fat derived, worthless adipose stem cells injected in a third world country with the single purpose of stealing millions of dollars, tax free.
    It is my opinion that Ms Parrish, a US citizen with her company Bioviva Sciences a 501-C-3 and Dr. Williams have teamed up to identify people like myself, my wife, and those described above naive, wealthy and scared patients dying from various diseases and plan on bringing them to Colombia and charging $15,000.00 to $50,000.00 or more to “cure” these patients of whatever ails them, by utilizing Ms. Parishes 501-C-3 bringing in every dollar they can, tax free.
    When asked about the medical ethics of this, FDA approval or simply actual scientists who when they make a new discovery share it with the rest of the scientific community in a Reddit Q&A Ms. Parrish answered:

    Liz Parrish, CEO BIOVIVA SCIENCES A 501-C-3 US Corporation States:

    I did not seek approval from anyone to carry out the experiment. In the U.S., medical research is typically approved by boards including medical ethicists. “We as a company have our own ethics,” she says, referring to what she calls the need for gene therapy treatments. “I am certainly not going to ask someone’s permission to potentially create new industries and cures.”

    In my opinion Elizabeth Louise Babcock Parrish is a scammer and I believe the reason she will not release any further information about her alleged October 12th, 2015 procedure in Colombia, South America is either there was none, because it never happened and they don’t exist, or it was the same adipose-derived autologous stem cells injected into herself.

    She loudly espouses about the “TV and “Movie” crews in Colombia allegedly filming the treatment, but if so, why 3 months later not a single frame. I believe the entire fiasco was financed by others just like me, performed and overseen by Dr. Jason Williams, a Radiologist with no background or degrees in biology, microbiology, Neurobiology, or chemistry who oversaw the procedure. If there was one.

    In 2013, Dr. Williams was fined, shut down,and ordered to cease and desist any further treatment in this area. Now, he shows up in Colombia, with “Liz.”

  • Stephen Byer

    We have never taken down, or minimized, our 2013 article about the amateurish and harmful antics of Jason Williams and his former US clinic known as Precision StemCell. Likewise, we have never been sued or in any way or litigated against by Williams or his organization (nor by anyone else). We stand by our published statements and rue the fact that we have neither the time nor opportunity to pursue him in Colombia. That applies to any of his colleagues, including Elizabeth Parrish. In full disclosure, we received a laughable threat of litigation from Williams’ attorney, to which we responded that a full, impartial review and discussion could be arranged by us, and to take place at FDA offices. Unsurprisingly, they (Williams and/or attorney) were never heard from again. We remain proud of the fact that our article about Williams appears to have been one of the contributing factors leading to Williams’ significant fine and expulsion from US medical practice.

    Stephen Byer, ALS Worldwide

  • Pinkdrink

    No. The doctor who gave Liz Parrish her “therapy” was another American doctor. Somebody who is desperate to make history mostly off the work of others, which sounds like what Mrs. Parrish did.

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