Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Apr 1998

Next Stop Immortality

Dr. Garry Gordon, an Arizona-based physician, launches anti-aging's newest medical society. He's particularly suited to do so.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, on January 2021.

The world of anti-aging medicine is developing quickly, and the benefits will impact us all. The FDA, long a foe to alternative medicine advocates, now has a separate section for the review and approval of anti-aging therapies. The National Institute on Aging and prestigious medical journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association, have recognized the importance of alternative therapies for both prevention and treatment. And JAMA has announced that for the first time a majority of its physician subscribers demand more information about alternative medicine. The result will be that science will rapidly aid each of us in our own personal quest for health and longevity.

Here, Life Extension presents developments and personalities that may well help pave the way toward just that . . . burgeoning scientific validation, and the means toward, ultimate immortality.

A new anti-aging organization, headed by a dynamic medical pioneer, promises to bring together the best minds in the field, with support and certification, to assure continuing development and anti-aging results.
By Barbara Yost

With his three Arabian horses, a rustic but gracious 4,000-square- foot Santa Fe-style home, and 15 acres of pinon pines that thrive in some of the cleanest air in the country, Dr. Garry Gordon could live in Payson, Ariz., forever.


Gordon, trim and fit at 63, is counting on at least 60 more years of robust life. And within 10 years, he predicts, science could have the keys to ensuring life spans of as long as 600 years.

Next stop: immortality. He could outlive several generations of his horses.

Gordon is president of a new organization whose mission is to promote long, vigorous lives and train health care professionals in anti-aging medicine. The International College for Advanced Longevity Medicine (ICALM), founded last November, will hold its first training workshops in May.

ICALM boasts a distinguished board of directors, including such experts in the field of anti-aging as Julian Whitaker, editor of the newsletter Health and Healing; Robert C. Atkins, cardiologist and author of books on alternative medicine; Leo Galland, internist and author of Four Pillars of Healing; Ward Dean, co-editor of the book Smart Drugs; Arthur Balin, a dermatologist and executive director of the American Aging Association; Jonathan Wright, co-editor of the Wright-Gaby Newsletter and director of the Tahoma Clinic in Kent, Wash.; and Sarafino Corsello, a specialist in preventive and nutritional chelation and hormonal therapies.

Dr. Garry Gordon is a true believer in the imminence of a dramatically extended life span, and founder of a scientific organization to help spur it on.

Headquartered in Chicago, the new group's mandate will be to train physicians and others in allied health categories in the burgeoning field of anti-aging medicine and research. It also will sponsor conferences and workshops, and promote research into age-related diseases. Its certifying board, the International Board of Advanced Longevity Medicine (IBALM), will offer credentials to candidates for diplomas in the anti-aging field to those who complete three weekend courses and pass a written exam administered and proctored by IBALM. Graduates will be fully certified after completing an approved research project, treating patients and passing an oral exam.

Dr. Garry GordonThe examination will cover nutrition, diet and exercise, biomarker testing, pathophysiology of normal aging, pharmacology of potential longevity medications and hormones, including toxicology, informed consent requirements, longevity protocols, molecular biology, genetic engineering and genetic therapy.

"We'll have claws. We'll take away credentials," Gordon promises, saying his certifying board's clout will come from its prestigious membership. "I want to protect the public from hucksters."

The certifying board will establish separate credentialing committees for each examination appropriate to individual professions and health categories, such as medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy, Ph.D.s, registered nurses and physicians' assistants.

The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M), a similar professional organization also based in Chicago, has been in existence for five years. But Gordon believes the field can support two such groups.

"The field is exploding around us," he says from his Payson compound, where, as "a doctor of last resort," he diagnoses and advises seriously ill patients who have found little relief through conventional medicine. Much of his practice is also devoted to the young and healthy who want to stay that way and extend their lives beyond what is conventionally considered a normal life span.

"I've known for 30 years now that I am going to live a lot longer than anybody dreamed. In 10 years, it will be a given that everyone will be entitled to life spans of a minimum of 120 years if they take care of their bodies."
--Dr. Garry Gordon, ICALM president

"It's everything coming together," Gordon says, noting that Baby Boomers have the desire and the financial means to enhance their health through state-of-the-art nutritional and medical advice. "And science has progressed to the point where it can deliver it. Youth is in. Age is out."

He says that if the American government made anti-aging research a top priority, significant life extension could be accomplished in less than 10 years. But, he believes that government fears of helping its citizens live longer is not in the best interest of a society reluctant to add years to the Medicare rolls.

"The government has a conflict," he says. "It's not in its interest to have anybody live another 30 years. It's not in its interest to promote life expectancy."

For that reason, he says, a private organization like ICALM is needed.

Gordon cites several cutting-edge developments in the field of anti-aging that he finds most exciting and that ICALM will help to research and promote:

  • ALT711, a drug now entering the human-trial phase, is believed effective in inhibiting the creation of cross-links between proteins in the body that cause a kind of "molecular glue" known as advanced glycosylation end-products (AGEs). AGEs contribute to disabling stiffness that appears in cells, tissues and organs as we age. ALT711 and similar compounds being developed by a company in Ramsey, N.J., called Alteon, break AGEs cross-links.
  • Telomerase, the so-called "immortalizing" enzyme being studied by the California-based Geron Corporation and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, in Dallas, is another exciting development. Earlier this year, Geron reported the successful extension of the life span of normal human cells using telomerase, which imparts replicative immortality when expressed in reproductive and cancer cells. Conversely, cells that do not express the enzyme aremortal.
  • Telomeres are chains of repeated DNA segments located at the ends of chromosomes, like the plastic tips on the ends of shoe laces. As cells divide, small bits of telomeric DNA decay, eventually signaling the cells to stop dividing. Promoting continued cell division may be the secret to longevity.
  • Alternative therapy is another area. Non-conventional methods of treatment, including acupuncture, traditional Oriental medicine, herbal remedies, chelation (Gordon is often referred to as the "father of chelation") and hormones are slowly being accepted by the established medical community. Gordon notes that the National Institutes of Health now has a division of alternative medicine, and that the Food and Drug Administration has established a section to review and approve anti-aging therapies.

The esteemed Journal of the American Medical Association recently validated the effectiveness of herbal medicine, he says, and NIH has approved the effectiveness of acupuncture.

In May, he says, the National Institute on Aging is scheduled to complete eight years of study with the release of official biomarkers for human aging, indicators that measure the body's biological age against its chronological age.

"Those of us on the cutting edge of alternative medicine have first-hand knowledge that serious diseases-arteriosclerosis, cancer, arthritis, lupus, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis-all respond, in some cases dramatically, to the synergistic application of alternative or complementary therapies, everything from acupuncture to yoga," Gordon says.

This spring, Gordon's book, The Definitive Guide to Anti-Aging Medicine, will be published by Future Medicine-The Burton Goldberg Group.

As a man who believes he has beaten the odds by reaching the age of 63 feeling in peak physical condition, Gordon is a paragon of what can be accomplished by those who care for and nurture their bodies. He's eager to pass along the knowledge he has gained.

"I've known for 30 years now that I am going to live a lot longer than anybody dreamed," he says. "In 10 years, it will be a given that everyone will be entitled to life spans of a minimum of 120 years if they take care of their bodies."

Since the age of 12, Gordon knew he would follow in the footsteps of his father, a Wisconsin doctor of osteopathy who seemed to treat all the tough cases other doctors gave up on. At age 16, the younger Gordon entered the University of Chicago, and at 23 earned a medical degree from the Chicago College of Osteopathy.

But by the time he was 29, he was so disabled by angina that he could barely stand. He persisted, however, serving an internship at Massachusetts Osteopathic Hospital in Boston from 1958 to 1959, and entered his residency in radiology at Mount Zion Hospital in San Francisco in 1964.

Just as he was beginning to doubt the efficacy of radiology ("They wanted me to fry patients," he says), Gordon met John Miller, formerly a research scientist at Pfizer Inc. and editor of Chemistry Abstracts. He bluntly suggested to Gordon that doctors often harm patients, a notion Gordon had only recently begun to embrace.

ICALM Data and Dates

The new International College of Advanced Longevity Medicine (ICALM) will offer certification workshops in a meeting set for May 7-10 at Caesar's Palace Hotel, Las Vegas, Nev. The conference will offer sessions for professionals seeking credentialing in longevity medicine, but should be of intense interest to anyone interested in health and longevity.

Pre-conference sessions will be held May 7-8, and longevity sessions May 9-10. The first certification exam will be May 11 in Advanced Longevity Medicine. A pre-examination review will be held the previous evening.

"The conference is opened to all," says Dr. Garry Gordon, ICALM president. "However, health professionals will be particularly interested in attending on the 9th and 10th for the required basic and/or advanced longevity workshop that will permit them to take written examinations leading to credentialing.

"With the media increasingly focusing on events ranging from cloning to the identification of exotic gene sequences, the time has come to run for the longevity train, because it's already left the station."

ICALM will present its first annual Scientific Conference, October 28 to November 1, at the Alexis Park Resort, also in Las Vegas.

The International College of Advanced Longevity Medicine is headquartered at 1407-B North Wells St., Chicago, Ill., 60610. For information about ICALM, or to register for its conferences, call the organization at 888-855-5050. Fax your request to 708-579-3097.

"I was still dumb enough to think doctors knew what they were doing. I was one!" he says. "At the end of the year (of his residency), I realized how infantile and stupid that was."

Miller tested Gordon for trace minerals and found his levels dangerously low. Using chelated mineral supplements, he began to recover, though slowly. He is now free of angina and says, "I feel about the best I have in my life."

Good health does not come without vigilance, however. Gordon leads an active lifestyle that includes horseback riding, bike riding, water and snow skiing and exercising on a mini-trampoline. He takes 80 to 100 pills a day, including vitamins, minerals, salmon oil, garlic and hormones. Gordon continues to take both oral and intravenous EDTA for a chelation effect. And he shops for organic foods when possible, shunning junk food, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and enjoying a daily glass of medicinal red wine.

For almost 30 years, Gordon has been at the forefront of preventive and anti-aging medicine, taking care to preserve not only his own body but the bodies of others as well. Twenty-eight years ago, he founded the American College of Advancement in Medicine (ACAM), whose original mission was to prevent deaths from heart attack and stroke, and to demonstrate that EDTA chelation-the agent EDTA normally is used to bind with heavy metal ions to treat metal poisoning-could reverse arteriosclerosis without surgery.

Although the latter was never proven to the satisfaction of the medical establishment, thousands of doctors were trained in trace mineral nutrition, chelation and alternative medicine through the auspices of ACAM, he says. For many years, Gordon has been the doctor other doctors turn to with baffling cases. Gordon's approach is to attempt various forms of alternative medicine before recommending most prescription drug therapies or surgery. He embraces nearly any alternative treatment, believing that "many treatments have some validity for some people in some instances."

For the past seven years he has been employed by an Illinois company as a consultant to its staff and special associates, who rely on him to diagnose, advise and refer patients with extreme health needs to specialists around the world. The company also pays his way to any conference he chooses to attend to keep him versed in all medical advances.

For five years, his practice was based in Tempe, Ariz. Then he built the home and office complex in Payson and moved there in 1995. Currently, his practice is divided between his work in anti-aging medicine, and patients who can afford to consult him as their doctor of last resort. He would like to increase his involvement with patients seeking health and longevity.

"I find it very satisfying to optimize peoples' health, who feel their health is important enough that they come in before they're in trouble," he says.

He concedes this kind of preventive medicine is currently akin to cosmetic surgery-that is, an expensive luxury. But in return, he says, the well-off are providing the research that will one day trickle down to the rest of the population.

How expensive is immortality? A program consisting of Gordon's services to restore and maintain health and long life can cost as much as $10,000 a year. But his is an expensive lifestyle, both personally and professionally. He maintains a vigorous schedule of conferences and continuing education and employs researchers to keep abreast of developments in the anti-aging field. He also is in the process of establishing a center for anti-aging medicine in Arizona.

In the future, ICALM will serve as a refuge for physicians disenchanted with conventional medicine and barriers within the insurance industry.

"I see it as a place for doctors who are burned out on managed care, a place to turn to for alternative medicine," says Gordon of the new organization. "ICALM will help educate them and validate what's working and what's not working."

Of his experience, Gordon says, "I want to take this knowledge and make it available to the world. ICALM will be the means to disseminate the knowledge...I frankly have become a medical educator. I am trying to get information out so that people are fully informed. I'm for truth in medicine, and that's a very big word."

Dr. Garry Gordon is a true believer in the imminence of a dramatically extended life span, and founder of a scientific organization to help spur it on.

"I've known for 30 years now that I am going to live a lot longer than anybody dreamed. In 10 years, it will be a given that everyone will be entitled to life spans of a minimum of 120 years if they take care of their bodies." -Dr. Garry Gordon, ICALM president