By Nicola Bagalà
SENS Research Foundation (SRF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose focus is on developing and ensuring widespread access to rejuvenation biotechnologies meant to bring the pathologies of old age under comprehensive medical control. SRF was co-founded in March 2009 by Michael Kope, Dr. Aubrey de Grey, Jeff Hall, Sarah Marr, and Kevin Perrott. The approach to treating age-related diseases advocated for and pursued by SRF is the so-called ‘maintenance approach’, laid out by Dr. de Grey in the early 2000’s and termed SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence).
The SENS agenda was originally pursued by the Methuselah Foundation, founded in 2003 by Dr. Aubrey de Grey and David Gobel; eventually, SRF spun off as an independent organization focused on rejuvenation biotechnologies fiscally sponsored by Methuselah Foundation. The paradigm at the core of SENS is that the cellular and molecular damage underlying age-related pathologies can be repaired or otherwise rendered harmless through regenerative medicine, effectively restoring the body to a state of youthful health. To this end, SRF conducts intramural research at their own research center Mountain View, CA, and funds extramural research projects at universities across the world. While SRF is a research-focused organization, its efforts include outreach and advocacy activities as well, such as the SENS Conferences at Cambridge, the annual Rejuvenation Biotechnology Conference series, and a number of summits and speaking engagements around the globe; SRF’s Education branch offers a summer internship program providing guidance and grants to students for SENS-related research projects, both intra- and extramurally, and more generally aims at informing the general public about the promises that regenerative medicine and the SENS approach hold for human health.
Dr.Aubrey de Grey
Dr. Aubrey de Grey is the Chief Science Officer and co-founder of SENS Research Foundation. He received his BA in Computer Science in 1985 and his Ph. D. in Biology in 2000, both from the University of Cambridge; his Ph. D. was awarded for his book The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging. Aside from his work with SRF, Dr. de Grey is Editor-in-Chief of the peer-reviewed journal Rejuvenation Research, is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and the American Aging Association, and sits on the editorial and scientific advisory boards of numerous journals and organizations. He is constantly engaged in public speeches and conferences to raise public awareness about the problem of aging and possible interventions to reverse it. Dr. de Grey is also the author of the book Ending Aging co-written with Michael Rae also from the SENS Research Foundation and is considered one of the original proponents of the repair strategy to treat age-related disease.
Crowdfunding the Cure
We would all like to see a world where age-related diseases are a thing of the past and we are pleased to have collaborated with the SENS Research Foundation on their MitoSENS and OncoSENS fundraisers at Lifespan.io our research crowdfunding platform. Both of these SENS Research projects were outstanding successes raising over their initial goals in both cases and we are very proud at LEAF to have been part of their victory.
The SENS Research Foundation is involved in rejuvenation biotechnology research both on site at their Mountain View facility in California as well as funding various external collaborative research programs at respected foundations and university labs globally. Dr. Aubrey de Grey and the SENS Research Foundation are some of the most important landmarks in the field of rejuvenation biotechnology and a continual source of inspiration for others working in the field. Some fifteeen years ago when Dr. de Grey originally proposed a damage approach to aging he was universally criticized by many established experts in gerontology. However in the years since he and the SENS Research Foundation has worked steadily to test the theories proposed in SENS and is making tremdous progress, indeed many academics that were once critical of his approach now work with him and the field is seeing a shift to repair based approaches to aging.
To anyone in doubt of their significant contribution to science, below is a list of some of the peer reviewed studies the SENS Research Foundation has either conducted, collaborated in or directly funded and is a testament to their commitment to further scientific knowledge in the field of aging.
Gravina, S., Dong, X., Yu, B., & Vijg, J. (2016). Single-cell genome-wide bisulfite sequencing uncovers extensive heterogeneity in the mouse liver methylome. Genome Biology, 17(1), 150.
Arshad, Z., Smith, J., Roberts, M., Lee, W. H., Davies, B., Bure, K., … & Brindley, D. (2016). Open Access Could Transform Drug Discovery: A Case Study of JQ1. Expert opinion on drug discovery, 11(3), 321-332.
Gaspar J, Mathieu J, Alvarez PJJ. A Rapid Platform to Generate Lipofuscin and Screen Therapeutic Drugs for Efficacy in Lipofuscin Removal. Materials, Methods & Technologies, Volume 10, 2016.
Naughton, B. D., Smith, J. A., & Brindley, D. A. (2015). Establishing good authentication practice (GAP) in secondary care to protect against falsified medicines and improve patient safety. European Journal of Hospital Pharmacy, ejhpharm-2015.
Yu, J., Vodyanik, M. A., Smuga-Otto, K., Antosiewicz-Bourget, J., Frane, J. L., Tian, S., … & Slukvin, I. I. (2007). Induced pluripotent stem cell lines derived from human somatic cells. Science, 318(5858), 1917-1920.
Smith JA, Dopson S, Davies B, Wartolowska K, Karp JM, Carr AJ, Brindley DA. Borderline Regulation of Stem Cell Technologies: Therapies, Devices and Combination Products. In: Global Device Strategy. Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (in press).
Luo, D., Smith, J. A., Meadows, N. A., Schuh, A., Manescu, K. E., Bure, K., … & Brindley, D. A. (2015). A quantitative assessment of factors affecting the technological development and adoption of companion diagnostics. Frontiers in genetics, 6.
Carmen, J., Brindley, D. A., Davie, N. L., & Smith, D. (2015). Cell therapy manufacturing: identifying and meeting demand. Stem Cells in Regenerative Medicine: Science, Regulation and Business Strategies, 49.
Draghici, C., Wang, T., & Spiegel, D. A. (2015). Concise total synthesis of glucosepane. Science, 350(6258), 294-298.
Phay, Monichan, et al. “IgG Conformer’s binding to amyloidogenic aggregates.” PloS one 10.9 (2015): e0137344.
Brindley, D. A., Arshad, Z., Luo, D., Dopson, S., Hollander, G., Frost, S., … & Smith, J. A. (2015). 21st century cures act: an act of cure or diagnosis?. Rejuvenation research, 18(4), 295-298.
Hughes, B. B., Kuhn, R., Margolese-Malin, E. S., Rothman, D. S., & Solórzano, J. R. (2015). Opportunities and challenges of a world with negligible senescence. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 99, 77-91.
Gravina, S., Ganapathi, S., & Vijg, J. (2015). Single-cell, locus-specific bisulfite sequencing (SLBS) for direct detection of epimutations in DNA methylation patterns. Nucleic acids research, gkv366.
Brindley, D. A., Rekhi, R., Fuerstenau-Sharp, M., Kantoff, P., Hollander, G., Smith, J. A., … & Bure, K. (2015). The potential application of real-time release testing for the biomanufacture of autologous cell-based immunotherapies. BioProcess Int, 13(4).
Smith JA, Bravery CA, Hollander G, Brindley DA. Regulating Regenerative Medicine: Cell Therapy, Gene Therapy and Tissue Engineering. Chapter 29 in Fundamentals of EU Regulatory Affairs, 7th Edition. Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society
Smith JA, Reeve B, Carr A, Brindley DA. Regulating Regenerative Medicine: Cell Therapy, Gene Therapy and Tissue Engineering. Chapter 31 in Fundamentals of US Regulatory Affairs, 9th Edition. Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society
Smith JA, Naughton B, Kramm A, Smith G, Ohanjanyan A, De Simone M, Horne R, Brindley DA. European Union Falsified Medicines Directive: Requirements and Implications for Multi-Stakeholder Healthcare Delivery. Chapter 8 in Fundamentals of EU Regulatory Affairs, 7th Edition. Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society.
Soland, M. A., Keyes, L. R., Bayne, R., Moon, J., Porada, C. D., St Jeor, S., & Almeida‐Porada, G. (2014). Perivascular stromal cells as a potential reservoir of human cytomegalovirus. American Journal of Transplantation, 14(4), 820-830.
Davies, B. M., Rikabi, S., French, A., Pinedo-Villanueva, R., Morrey, M. E., Wartolowska, K., … & Wall, I. (2014). Quantitative assessment of barriers to the clinical development and adoption of cellular therapies: A pilot study. Journal of tissue engineering, 5, 2041731414551764.
Boura, J. S., Vance, M., Yin, W., Madeira, C., Da Silva, C. L., Porada, C. D., & Almeida-Porada, G. (2014). Evaluation of gene delivery strategies to efficiently overexpress functional HLA-G on human bone marrow stromal cells. Molecular therapy. Methods & clinical development, 1, 14041.
Smith, G., Smith, J. A., & Brindley, D. A. (2014). The Falsified Medicines Directive: How to secure your supply chain. Journal of generic medicines, 11(3-4), 169.
Roberts, M., Wall, I. B., Bingham, I., Icely, D., Reeve, B., Bure, K., … & Brindley, D. A. (2014). The global intellectual property landscape of induced pluripotent stem cell technologies. Nature biotechnology, 32(8), 742-748.
Elabd, C., Cousin, W., Upadhyayula, P., Chen, R. Y., Chooljian, M. S., Li, J., … & Conboy, I. M. (2014). Oxytocin is an age-specific circulating hormone that is necessary for muscle maintenance and regeneration. Nature communications, 5.
Wartolowska, K., Judge, A., Hopewell, S., Collins, G. S., Dean, B. J., Rombach, I., … & Carr, A. J. (2014). Use of placebo controls in the evaluation of surgery: systematic review.
Planque, S. A., Nishiyama, Y., Hara, M., Sonoda, S., Murphy, S. K., Watanabe, K., … & O’Nuallain, B. (2014). Physiological IgM class catalytic antibodies selective for transthyretin amyloid. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 289(19), 13243-13258.
Phay, M., Blinder, V., Macy, S., Greene, M. J., Wooliver, D. C., Liu, W., … & Planque, S. A. (2014). Transthyretin aggregate-specific antibodies recognize cryptic epitopes on patient-derived amyloid fibrils. Rejuvenation research, 17(2), 97-104.
Akman, K., Haaf, T., Gravina, S., Vijg, J., & Tresch, A. (2014). Genome-wide quantitative analysis of DNA methylation from bisulfite sequencing data. Bioinformatics, 30(13), 1933-1934.
Chen, Y., Ma, X., Zhang, M., Wang, X., Wang, C., Wang, H., … & Ju, Z. (2014). Gadd45a regulates hematopoietic stem cell stress responses in mice. Blood, 123(6), 851-862.
French, A., Bure, K., & Brindley, D. A. (2014). CASMI TSCC Launch Event, Paris, France, July 2013: An Assessment of the Key Barriers to the Commercialization and Clinical Adoption of Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies*. Rejuvenation research, 17(1), 84-88.
Zhang, J., Yang, R., Zhou, D., Rudolph, K. L., Meng, A., & Ju, Z. (2014). Exonuclease 1 is essential for maintaining genomic stability and the proliferative capacity of neural but not hematopoietic stem cells. Stem cell research, 12(1), 250-259.
Chen, Y., Yang, R., Guo, P., & Ju, Z. (2014). Gadd45a deletion aggravates hematopoietic stem cell dysfunction in ATM-deficient mice. Protein & cell, 5(1), 80-89.
Brindley, D. A., Barker, R. W., & Lachmann, P. J. (2013). Health care: Better drug access for terminal patients. Nature, 502(7469), 38-38.
Wang, T., Douglass Jr, E. F., Fitzgerald, K. J., & Spiegel, D. A. (2013). A “turn-on” fluorescent sensor for methylglyoxal. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 135(33), 12429-12433.
Barker, R. W., Brindley, D. A., & Schuh, A. (2013). Establish good genomic practice to guide medicine forward. Nature medicine, 19(5), 530-530.
Davalos, A. R., Kawahara, M., Malhotra, G. K., Schaum, N., Huang, J., Ved, U., … & Campisi, J. (2013). p53-dependent release of Alarmin HMGB1 is a central mediator of senescent phenotypes. The Journal of cell biology, 201(4), 613-629.
Kim T, Spiegel DA. The unique reactivity of N-phenacyl-derived thiazolium salts toward alpha-dicarbonyl compounds. Rejuvenation Res. 2013 Feb;16(1):43-50. doi: 10.1089/rej.2012.1370. PubMed: 23186164.
Bates, R. C., Stith, B. J., & Stevens, K. E. (2012). Chronic central administration of valproic acid: Increased pro-survival phospho-proteins and growth cone associated proteins with no behavioral pathology. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 103(2), 237-244.
Mathieu, J. M., Wang, F., Segatori, L., & Alvarez, P. J. (2012). Increased resistance to oxysterol cytotoxicity in fibroblasts transfected with a lysosomally targeted Chromobacterium oxidase. Biotechnology and bioengineering, 109(9), 2409-2415.
Culme-Seymour, Emily J., et al. “A decade of cell therapy clinical trials (2000-2010).” Regenerative medicine 7.4 (2012): 455-462.
Wang, T., Kartika, R., & Spiegel, D. A. (2012). Exploring post-translational arginine modification using chemically synthesized methylglyoxal hydroimidazolones. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 134(21), 8958-8967.
Brindley, D. A., Davie, N. L., Sahlman, W. A., Bonfiglio, G. A., Culme-Seymour, E. J., Reeve, B. C., & Mason, C. (2012). Promising growth and investment in the cell therapy industry during the first quarter of 2012. Cell Stem Cell, 10(5), 492-496.
Brindley, D., Reeve, B., & Mason, C. (2012). Pharmaceutical industry: Investors unfazed by drug-patent expiry. Nature, 481(7381), 265-265.
Brindley, D. A., Davie, N. L., Culme-Seymour, E. J., Mason, C., Smith, D. W., & Rowley, J. A. (2012). Peak serum: implications of serum supply for cell therapy manufacturing. Regenerative medicine, 7(1), 7-13.
Mason, C., Brindley, D. A., Culme-Seymour, E. J., & Davie, N. L. (2011). Cell therapy industry: billion dollar global business with unlimited potential. Regenerative medicine, 6(3), 265-272.
Wu, Y., Zhou, J., Fishkin, N., Rittmann, B. E., & Sparrow, J. R. (2010). Enzymatic degradation of A2E, a retinal pigment epithelial lipofuscin bisretinoid. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 133(4), 849-857.
Rebo, J., Causey, K., Zealley, B., Webb, T., Hamalainen, M., Cook, B., & Schloendorn, J. (2010). Whole-animal senescent cytotoxic T cell removal using antibodies linked to magnetic nanoparticles. Rejuvenation research, 13(2-3), 298-300.
Bussel, I. I., Stupple, A., Moody, K. J., & Lefkowitz, D. M. (2010). Call to action: Medical students for regenerative medicine. Rejuvenation research, 13(1), 1-2.
Boominathan, A., Vanhoozer, S., Basisty, N., Powers, K., Crampton, A. L., Wang, X., … & O’Connor, M. S. (2016). Stable nuclear expression of ATP8 and ATP6 genes rescues a mtDNA Complex V null mutant. Nucleic Acids Research, 44(19), 9342-9357.
Rebo, J., Mehdipour, M., Gathwala, R., Causey, K., Liu, Y., Conboy, M. J., & Conboy, I. M. (2016). A single heterochronic blood exchange reveals rapid inhibition of multiple tissues by old blood. Nature Communications, 7.
Conboy, I. M., Conboy, M. J., & Rebo, J. (2015). Systemic Problems: A perspective on stem cell aging and rejuvenation. Aging (Albany NY), 7(10), 754.