MADRID, December 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Life Length, S.L. is a new biotechnology company set up to measure the length of telomeres which form caps at the end of chromosomes and that have a fundamental role in avoiding the break down and the aging of cells and organisms. The breakthroughs that Dr. Maria Blasco has made at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas, or CNIO) in Madrid, Spain form the founding basis of the company. Telomeres are the best known measure of biological, as opposed to chronological, age and are potential indicators of the state of health of an organism.
Life Length, S.L. has been established to commercially exploit telomere length measuring techniques (initially as indicators of biological age), providing them to the pharmaceutical industry, hospitals and clinics, as well as other research laboratories interested in the measurement of telomeres.
The founding capital of Life Length, S.L. has been provided by Dr. Blasco, the Botín Foundation and Matlin Associates, a corporate finance and strategic consulting firm that will manage the company until new partners are incorporated.
The importance of telomeres was recognized in last year's Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. Studies with genetically modified mice from María Blasco's research group have shown that telomeres are essential to preserve the regenerative capacity of tissues and organs to the extent that when their length is cut back below a critical point, the organism begins to age. The technique developed by Dr. Blasco and the CNIO team measures short telomeres with superior precision to other known techniques.
Dr. Blasco was awarded this year's "Santiago Ramón y Cajal" National Research Prize, as well as the Pre-Clinical Research Prize of the Lilly Foundation. In the past, she has also been awarded the Gold Medal of the European Organization of Molecular Biology (EMBO), the Korber Prize of European Science, the Josef Steiner Prize of Cancer Research, the King Jaime I Prize for Basic Research and the Carmen and Severo Ochoa Prize, amongst others.