Jim Plante and one of the companies he founded, Klotho Therapeutics, are working on delaying and preventing debilitating illnesses that are commonly associated with aging. The main focus for this company at the moment is polycystic kidney disease, an inherited disorder that can be diagnosed early on through genetic testing. The hope is that many other disorders also will be delayed or avoided altogether with the use of the Klotho protein.
About the Klotho Protein
The Klotho protein is a substance produced naturally in the human body. Production of this hormone starts decreasing at around age 40, and serum levels can be markedly reduced in people with diseases connected with aging. Examples include chronic kidney disease, high blood pressure and cancer. Lower levels also are found in multiple sclerosis patients.
Klotho has important functions in the body in addition to its antioxidant effects that help prevent degenerative diseases. For instance, both the Klotho protein and vitamin D are integral for the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus in the body. Klotho stimulates healthy insulin sensitivity for better glucose metabolism, which regulates blood sugar and can help with weight loss efforts. Unfortunately, simply taking a supplement of this hormone like people can do with vitamin D is not an option.
Multiple sclerosis is an example of another health problem that causes a significant reduction in a person’s well-being and quality of life. It can lead to a shortened lifespan. Researchers are looking at the possibility of using the Klotho protein in prevention and treatment of this disorder.
So far, Klotho has only been studied with animals in regard to the effects of multiple sclerosis, but the results are promising. Multiple sclerosis is associated with demyelination, which is damage to the myelin sheath of neurons in the nervous system. Increases in Klotho appear to actually reverse this damage and allow remyelination.
The neuroprotective effects indicate that this protein could have benefits for people at risk or suffering from diseases of the brain and nervous system. Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia are examples of illnesses with severe negative effects on cognitive ability and mental health that might one day be treated with Klotho protein.