My Favorite Resveratrol, Promising Results for Mimetic

August 22, 2011

On the front page of the NY TIMES – August 19,2011 –Nicholas Wade reported on Dr. Rafael de Cabo’s newly published study on the positive effects of a resveratrol mimetic SRT-1720 on obese mice.  

To read the entire NY Times article by Nicholas Wade, click here.

I have followed this study, but I have also followed another one, linked and referred to in that article “the set back last year” – where in, George Vlasuk, Sirtris’ Chief Executive, announced that Sirtris had halted their resveratrol study. This story was also reported by Mr. Wade for the NY Times. 

What was striking, was that by discontinuing the study, an unspoken PR impression was created – namely, that resveratrol had failed or had been deemed to be ineffective. 

However, the interesting and significant thing here is that when you scratch the surface of the story, and see the facts as I have come to know them, the machinations behind the NY Times story become multi-fold – and curious. 

Last summer, I appeared with MIT’s Dr. Leonard Guarente on a number of radio programs and in interviews concerning his work in Sirtuin research and my film on the Science of Aging.  The subject of resveratrol came up a number of times.  Not only is Dr. Guarente a science advisor to Sirtris, the GlaxoSmithKline acquisition bringing forth the new SRT-1720 resveratrol mimetics, but he, at the time, was also an advisor to Dr. Sinclair and Dr. Westphal’s .org company, which in July 2010, was offering a Resveratrol formulation to the public.  The stated idea was to make this healthful compound available as a public service, in advance of any patentable mimetics, which carry the lag time of FDA approval.

 Soon afterward, GlaxSmithKline suspended resveratrol testing, and stopped Sinclair, Westphal, et. al., from continuing to sell resveratrol through their .org company. And soon after, the damaging article appeared. 

In that article referenced in Wade’s August 19th piece, Sinclair actually disagreed with GlaxoSmithKline’s decisions about resveratrol and said so.  

Now, the positive results of a new patentable compound is reported upon. There is no direct mention of what happened with resveratrol. Sinclair is involved with the new study, everyone is upbeat. 

I have a certain perspective on the goings on behind the scenes. And this in turn highlights how the media reports on a subject, and how that methodology can lend itself to misinformation. 

For instance, in Wade’s article, he quotes Brian Kennedy, CEO of the Buck Institute, who strikes a cautionary tone at the end. It just so that I filmed an interview with Dr. Kennedy, in which he discussed getting calls from reporters like Mr. Wade, looking for opposing views.  The video gives insight into the media’s methodology. The clip can be viewed below.

The real story is the trajectory of the research.  Scientists will continue to attempt to disprove one another, that is the nature of the scientific process.  It is the pace of their advances that is striking.

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