The Vitality of Gene Therapy, With Liz Parrish

In anticipation of one of the most premier global events on regenerative therapies and the future of medicine, HEALInc’s Future Health Summit, Deltec sat down with Liz Parrish–CEO of BioViva Sciences USA Inc. 

Liz Parrish is a prominent speaker, having previously given talks with TEDx Oxford and WIRED Events, amongst many others. We’re especially excited to welcome Dr. Parrish to The Bahamas for the HEALinc Future Health Summit on 28 April. Let’s get to her answers on the most pressing questions facing health innovation today. 

What Is gene therapy? Why is it so vital? 

Gene therapy involves the introduction of genetic material to treat or prevent disease. It can target health issues at their root cause, offering potential cures for a range of conditions that are currently difficult or impossible to manage. This approach promises to permanently and profoundly change medicine. There are several approved gene therapies for patients on the market today. 

How can gene therapy extend human lifespans? 

Gene therapy can extend human lifespans by addressing the molecular causes of aging, such as DNA damage, telomere shortening, and mitochondrial dysfunction. By reversing or mitigating these processes, we can increase lifespan and healthspan.  

Predicting when average lifespans might reach  90, 100, or 120 reliably is challenging and contingent on numerous factors including scientific advancements, regulatory approvals, and public adoption. To live longer, we have to remain healthy for longer. The current sickcare model isn’t going to deliver what society desperately needs to avert economic catastrophe.

In dollars and cents, why does it matter?

Longer and healthier lives reduce healthcare costs associated with chronic and age-related diseases, which are major financial burdens on healthcare systems. By reducing their incidence and severity, we can slash healthcare expenditures and boost productivity as individuals remain active and able-bodied. This shift would require adjustments in pensions, retirement planning, and workforce management. In the USA alone, slowing aging by only one year is worth 38 trillion dollars.  

What do you think banks, donors, and investors could do to support gene therapy? 

Financial institutions, philanthropic donors, and investors can all play crucial roles by funding research and development, supporting biotech startups through venture capital, and facilitating public-private partnerships to reduce risks and share costs. Additionally, creating investment funds or bonds specifically designed to support long-term research in gene therapies could provide essential capital for development phases of biotech companies. 

How might a central platform that connects innovators and investors accelerate the future of longer lifespans? 

A central platform would enhance efficiency by directly connecting research initiatives with funding sources, cutting down on the time and financial overhead involved in securing investment. This could accelerate the development and deployment of life-extending therapies by fostering a more collaborative ecosystem, streamlining the process from innovation to clinical application. 

What are your predictions for the future of gene therapy? 

The gene therapy industry needs a better vector. With a larger delivery platform, companies can tackle complex issues like aging. It will also allow for greater customization and control. This is the focus of BioViva. 

The future of gene therapy likely involves increasingly precise and personalized treatments. The next big breakthrough might be in the development of more effective delivery systems that can efficiently target specific cells without off-target effects. Additionally, integrating AI to identify and design new gene therapies could dramatically expedite the creation of new therapeutics.

For more information on the event, visit: