X-Message-Number: 23318
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2004 20:32:56 -0800 (PST)
From: Doug Skrecky <>
Subject: Prolongation of the Life Span in Rats

Here's a quote from Saul Kent's article entitled
Can nucleic acid therapy reverse the degenerative processes of aging?
Geriatrics October 1977 130-136
" Of particular note is a study by English physician Max Odens in which
weekly injections of DNA and RNA were given to five rats with a normal
maximum life span of 800 to 900 days; treatment began at the age of 750
days. All the untreated rats died before the age of 900 days, while four
treated rats survived to ages of 1,600 to 1,900 days, and one rat survived
2,250 days. This degree of prolongation of the life span is unparalleled
in gerontological research. But few investigators have paid attention to
this study - despite the remarkable conclusion - because of its small
size and limited data."

 Although lifespan studies on rodents treated orally with nucleotides
have been completed, with largely negative results, no follow-up
experiment using injectable DNA & RNA has ever been done. Back in 1997 I
made an attempt at this, when I spent $253.45 to purchase a 2 year old
Fisher 344 rat from Harlan Sprague Dawley, Inc. A local graduate
gerontology student, from the university of British Columbia obtained
some injectable salmon testes DNA & some torula yeast RNA from Sigma (for
$91.70), and tried to repeat this experiment. Unfortunately, due to a
mistake in mixing the DNA, & RNA with solvent, the subject rat
immediately died, after being injected for the first time. That was the
end of the experiment!

 In retrospect it is unlikely that our attempt to replicate the
experiment could have succeeded, since we did not know what type of DNA,
or RNA was used by Max Odens. In an incredible omission, he never
mentioned the source of the DNA or RNA he used in his report. He only
mentioned that the RNA was "ordinary", whatever that means. However since
he quoted a lifespan study in C3H/HEJ mice, which used yeast RNA, then a
reasonable assumption would be that yeast RNA was used for his
injections. This still leaves the source of the DNA used, as an complete
unknown. Any attempt to replicate his experiment would first have to
resolve this omission. Injectible (but not oral) DNA vaccines are an
extremely effective means for inducing an immune response against
pathogen DNA, as well as inducing autoimmune disorders, and even
paradoxically inducing immune tolerance.

 A brief review of the Max Odens experiment appeared in Nutrition Reviews
Vol 32, No. 10 October 1974 316- 317.
"The Stuff on Which Quackery Thrives?
 Quackery in nutrition and medicine is discouraged vigorously by ethical,
competent health professionals because of actual or potential health
hazards, economic factors, or the possibility that adherents to such
practices may bypass successful orthodox treatment. One device by which
misinformation can be combatted by scientists is educating the public to
demand documentation of claims.
  A recent issue of the Journal of the American geriatrics Society
included a report by M. Odens that weekly injections of DNA and RNA more
than doubled the life span of rats. Ten 750-day old rats of a strain said
to ahve a usual life span of 800 to 900 days were fed the same diet
(composition unspecified). Five received weekly injections of DNA and RNA
(concentration, source, and purity unspecified). The five untreated rats
were said to have looked old, moved slowly, failed to eat much, and lost
weight after 12 weeks while the treated rats looked younger and were very
lively. The untreated rats were all dead by 900 days of age. The untreated
rats were all dead by 900 days of age; the injected rats died between
1600 and 2250 days of age.
 Doubling the life span of any mammal is dramatic, and potentially
significant. Unfortunately, this paper contains insuffient information
for evaluation or repetition. Absent from the report are all data
concerning prior nutritional and health status, strain, sex, and weight
of the experimental animals, caging conditions, criteria of assignment to
treatments, full description of either the injection solution or the
experimental diet, and information on the cause of death.
 The study of aging and longevity is difficult even under the best
experimental conditions. The publication in recognized professional
journals of startling claims based upon uncritically designed and
described experimental results constitutes a disservice to science and
the public by both the authors and the editors."

 Despite extreme reservations about the format of Max Odens' research
report, I can find no serious reason to doubt his results. In think Odens
probably did produce a 2250 day old rat. Due to copywrite, it is
generally considered that one should not quote an entire research
article. However I'm willing to take a chance that the Journal of the
American Geriatrics Society is not going to overtly object to my quoting
the entire text from the "uncritically designed and described
experimental results" obtained by Max Odens .
For the first time, here in its unabridged from, is the complete text from:
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society Vol. XXI No.10 1973

Prolongation of the Life Span in Rats
Max Odens, MD, DTM*
London, England

 * Deputy President, International Society for Research in Diseases of
Civilization & Vital Substances, 26 Weimers Hof, Luxembourg.
 Address: 2 Devonshire Place, London W1, England.

Abstract: To test the effect of RNA-DNA in preventing the deleterious
effects of old age, and experiment was conducted that involved 10 rats
with a normal life span of 800-900 days. All were fed the same diet; 5
rats were not treated, and 5 were given weekly injections of DNA + RNA.
After twelve weeks the difference in appearance, weight and alertness was
remarkable. The 5 untreated rats died before 900 days. Of the treated
rats, 4 died at ages of 1600 - 1900 days, and 1 at 2250 days. A parallel
cannot be drawn with aging in human beings fed RNA-DNA, but the findings
on rats may have some application to cellular studies on cancer.

 Several theories have been proposed concerning the role of DNA and RNA
in aging (1-5). Certain qualitative changes occur in DNA with aging (6),
and also changes in RNA synthesis and metabolism (7,8). The conflicting
results of many investigations (9-13) challenge as well as support these

 The link between RNA synthesis and vitamin A (14), the hormonal
influence over RNA synthesis (15), further indicate the complexity of the
processes active in aging.

 The effect of RNA supplementation on the memory and well-being of old
people has been the subject of many conflicting findings. It has been
reported (16,17) that supplementation of elderly patients' meals with
exogenous RNA (measuring in grams) for a relatively long period (measured
in months) enhances well-being and, if continued, improves memory. These
conclusions are supported by the results of work with rats (18). However,

the results of another study (19) in which old people were given RNA daily 
(measured in milligrams) for shorter periods (measured in weeks) indicate no

 RNA is metabolized and enters the bloodstream in physiologically
significant amounts when ingested after food intake (20). It is specific
in restoring nucleic protein synthesis in isolated cell nuclei (21).

 The foregoing observations led to a consideration of the possible role
in aging of the accumulated cellular insult from repeated virus
infections incurred over a lifetime, and the prevention of these
deleterious effects in rats by weekly injections of exogenous DNA and


 Ten rats of a strain, in which the life span varies between 800 and 900
days, were selected for the experiment when they were each 750 days old.
They were given the same diet.

 Group A, the controls, were not treated.

 Group B recieved weekly injections of DNA solution in water saturated
with chloroform (3 mg per ml) plus ordinary RNA.

 All necessary determinations such as temperature and weight were made.
The charts were compared every day. After twelve weeks of injections,
Group B rats looked younger, were very lively, and had gained weight
(1.5-2.3 gm). Group A rats looked old, moved slowly, did not eat much,
and had lost weight. the difference was remarkable.

 All the untreated rats died before 900 days. Of the treated rats, 4 died
aged between 1600 and 1900 days. One rat lived 2250 days.


 Many of the tissues of aged persons have characteristics which seem to
have stemmed from a process of cell replication that alters slowly but
surely over the years. Nevertheless, the aging process at the cellular
level can vary so remarkably between individuals that it is not always
possible for pathologists to grade unidentified tissue specimens according
to age.

 If a virus takes over the cells, the production of protein is changed
and the cell begins to die slowly. Evidence of the original virus
infection can be carried over into daughter cells through mitotic
division (22).

 Possibly one of the characteristics of cells in aging is the
accumulation of viral debris as imprints of prior viral infection,
regardless of how trivial or how serious the effect of the original
infection on the well-being of the host.

 If such be the case, it is reasonable to assume that protein synthesis
by DNA and RNA for cell renewal is somehow interfered with by such viral
debris. On the other hand, exogenous RNA greatly improves the life span
C3H/HEJ mice challenged by a syngeneic tumor, when given after the tumor
challenge and preceded by immunization. The mechanism by which yeast RNA
influences this process is unknown (23).

 The life span of laboratory rats is normally 800-900 days, although it
varies slightly in different countries. The results of the present
investigation on 5 untreated and 5 treated rats show that, with weekly
injections of DNA and RNA, and life span of 4 rats was doubled on the
average, and the life span of the fifth rat was more than trebled.

 Although it is tempting to think in terms of the possibility of an
equivalent prolongation of the life span of human beings accomplished by
injections of DNA and RNA, it should be emphasized that the parallels
between aging in rats and aging in humans are not only unknown but are
entirely outside the scope of this experiment.

 Postmortem results must still be evaluated by the electron microscope,
and will form the basis of another paper. There is one question to be
answered. Can supplementary exogenous DNA and RNA strenghten cellular
resistance to the invasion of viruses implicated in the etiology of
cancer? Cancer researchers should consider experiments along these lines.


 My thanks to Professor Dr. An der Lan of the Zoological Institute of the
University of Innsbruck for his useful advice concerning the animal


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   in mice, Symp Soc Exper Biol 21: 29 1967.
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