Our Research and ProcessTeloMe is a biotechnology company researching telomere length. Our long-term mission is to bring telomere testing into routine clinical use but substantial research is still required to make the transition. We currently only perform telomere analyses for research studies and we are designing new studies for 2014 that will test new processing and analytical methods, measure temporal variation in saliva telomere length, and measure the effects of telomerase management strategies.
We are also researching new methods for improving first-pass successful analysis of telomeres in saliva DNA. We have made substantial progress in producing high-quality and reproducible initial data, but first-pass failure rate remains fairly high and more challenging samples can take significantly more attention and time to process into high-quality data. The reason for these failures is that saliva yields DNA of highly variable quality and quantity. Unlike other genetic & genomic analyses, telomere analysis requires non-degraded, intact DNA in sufficient quantity to yield a reliable result. Saliva contains a substantial amount of degraded human DNA, as well as non-human DNA (mostly microbial), and we have to separate these components out of every sample before we are able to proceed with telomere analysis. Some samples don’t contain enough of this high-quality DNA for us to generate high-quality results, and re-collection is required. We’ve written guidelines for sample collection to help ensure the best chances of success in our process.