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Welcome to the first Rejuvenation Roundup of the new year! There is quite a bit of news to go through and upcoming events to look forward to, so get comfortable and let’s get started.

LEAF News

Team and Activities

Announcing Ending Age-Related Diseases 2019

Early last month, we announced our second Ending Age-Related Diseases conference; the first event in this series, launched last year in July, was very well received and favorably commented on by the scientists who took part in it, receiving praise from Ichor Therapeutics CEO Kelsey Moody, SENS Research Foundation CSO Dr. Aubrey de Grey, and Repair Biotechnologies co-founder Reason (who very much appreciated the first conference last year), among others.

Following this success, this year, again in July, LEAF will host the second edition of EARD. The venue is once more the Cooper Union in New York, but, this time, we’re thinking bigger—EARD2019 will be a two-day conference rather than just one, which means more speakers and more panels, and the main topics of this year will be progress in aging research and implementation of rejuvenation biotechnologies from the lab to the clinic, touching upon all aspects from investments to legal frameworks. Among the confirmed speakers are Dr. Vera Gorbunova (Rochester University), Dr. Michael Bonkowski (Harvard Medical School), Dr Alex Zhavoronkov (Insilico Medicine), Dr. Aubrey de Grey (SENS Research Foundation), Dr. Morgan Levine (Yale University), Dr. Vadim Gladyshev (Harvard Medical School), Dr. Gregory Fahy (Intervene Immune), and Reason and Bill Cherman (Repair Biotechnologies).

Just like its predecessor, EARD2019 is open to anyone who wishes to attend; if you’re up for a two-day full immersion in the world of rejuvenation, come join us on July 11-12! You can book your tickets here. Early bird prices will be in force until March 31.

Lifespan.io webinars launched

Lifespan.io proudly announced the launch of a series of webinars in which all Lifespan Heroes can participate. This is our way of thanking our generous supporters, without whose help we couldn’t carry out our mission to speed up the defeat of aging. The first webinar of the series, held on January 28, saw the MitoSENS team discussing mitochondrial mutations in a two-hour panel, during which they also answered the many interesting questions of the attending Heroes. All webinars are recorded and will eventually be made available for everyone to watch.

If you wish to join the next webinar, consider becoming a Lifespan Hero today!

Rejuvenation Roundup Podcast

Ryan O’Shea of the Future Grind podcast hosts the first podcast of the new year in another news-packed episode.

Lifespan.io Interviews

This month, we published two nice interviews that you might find interesting. One was with Dr. Kris Verburgh from Brussels Free University; Dr. Verburgh is an expert nutritionist and very passionate about biogerontology. He belongs to the camp of optimists who strongly believe in the potential of AI for medical applications, as was apparent from his contribution to the EHA panel in which he participated last year.

Almost on the opposite side of the spectrum lies Dr. Leonid Peshkin, the other interviewee of the month; while very determined to do all he can to help bring an end to aging, the 48-year-old Harvard researcher is more cautious in terms of how close we might be to an AI or biotechnological revolution.

Lifespan.io Campaign Updates

The AgeMeter—the aging biomarker scanning device that we crowdfunded on Lifespan.io back in 2017—was showcased during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas! We are proud of what the AgeMeter team has achieved and hope for their continued success in bringing this biomarker device to the public.

Advocacy Digest

Mental Candy Is Also Unhealthy: Sugar is bad for you, and not just when you put too much of it in your coffee—sugarcoating diseases and death can be even worse.

A longer life has more chance to be a happier life: Life extension discussion often raises the rhetorical question of “Would living to 150 make you happier?” However, why is it that nobody ever wonders if living to 80 makes you happier than living to 40?

A Tale of Senility: A short, real story about what might one day lie in our future if aging isn’t brought under medical control.

An Appointment with Death: A short, humorous story taking place in Death’s office, where Aging itself comes to ask for help from the Grim Reaper.

The American Public Increasingly Desires Life Extension: Public perception of healthy life extension is gradually shifting in the desired direction of the advocacy community, with more people claiming they would at least like to live much longer than the currently normal lifespan; however, there are some age and gender differences.

Events

Juvenescence gathering: The Juvenescence team members held their second annual showcase of the rejuvenation biotech start-ups in which they’ve invested. Many names familiar to our community were present to show their work, as reported by FA!’s Reason, who attended the event.

Research Roundup

Cellular Senescence

Human Pilot Study Results for Senolytics Published: A study conducted by Mayo Clinic researchers shows promising results on the senolytics effect of dasatinib and quercetin for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

UNITY Biotechnologies Selects a New Senolytic Candidate: UNITY Biotechnologies has recently started developing a new senolytic drug aimed at the treatment of age-related eye diseases. The company is also currently running a human trial on senolytics for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee.

Genomic Instability

Mutations differ in normal and cancer cells of the oesophagus: A study found that healthy oesophagal tissue carries more cancer-associated mutations that healthy skin tissue; the effect is magnified in older people versus younger ones. FA! has commented on the study.

NMN enters cells via a newly discovered pathway: NMN, a precursor to the DNA repair molecule NAD+, can enter the cell to turn into NAD+ without first having to be converted into nicotinamide riboside, according to a study describing the previously unknown pathway.

Loss of Proteostasis

A review of hypotheses on the causes of Alzheimer’s disease: FA! reported and commented on a review of different possible aetiologies for Alzheimer’s disease published on the journal Translational Neurodegeneration.

New discovery about autophagy: Researchers from Monash University have discovered that, unlike what was previously thought, the autophagy receptors that bind to defective proteins to be destroyed and the membranes that envelop these proteins do not recruit the membranes; rather, it’s the other way around.

Gum Disease Bacteria May Contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease: According to a new study by the University of Louisville, the bacteria responsible for chronic periodontitis might play a role in Alzheimer’s disease, and a drug targeting enzymes of these bacteria will soon undergo human clinical trials to test its efficacy in cases of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

Other

How fasting can protect from age-related diseases: A study by University of California scientists unveiled that fasting influences the circadian rhythm of the body. This mouse study shows that fasting induces metabolic changes that, particularly in the case of liver and skeletal muscle tissue, have protective effects against aging.

A link between age-related oxidative stress and excess cholesterol: A study by Korean scientists published on Aging Cell and reported by FA! found that the increase of free radicals observed in aging induces an increase of cholesterol uptake and synthesis in the liver, which may contribute to excess cholesterol in old age.

MANF identified as a rejuvenating factor in parabiosis: A study by the renowned Buck Institute in Novato, California found that the rejuvenation of the liver observed in parabiosis—the linking of the circulatory systems of two animals—is dependent on a factor called MANF, which is known to decline with age.

Staying fit can cut risk of heart attack in half: A study by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found a strong link between higher fitness and a lower risk of heart attack. The researchers found that even an increase of just 3.5 points on the VO2 Max scale resulted in a 15% lower risk of heart attack.

News Nuggets

SENS smashes fundraiser goal: The 2018 Winter fundraiser by SRF, which had an original goal of $500,000, reached far beyond to a total of $771,393, also thanks to a generous $350,000 donation by cryptomillionaire Vitalik Buterin, who had previously donated to SRF $2.4 million worth of Ether, the cryptocurrency created by Buterin himself.

Longevity enthusiasm on Forbes: Forbes contributor Tina Woods gave a pleasantly optimistic overview of the nascent rejuvenation industry, emphasizing the importance of pushing forward innovations, both in the lab and our business and social models, that will allow everyone to benefit from the longevity dividend; as she points out, signs of this change are already here, and longevity may soon be no longer the prerogative of a few rich people.

Cancer on LLL: Our friends at Long Long Life published a very interesting article on cancer as the poster child of age-related diseases, with a detailed discussion about the ten hallmarks of cancer.

Juvenescence raises $46 million to push rejuvenation pipeline: British billionaire Jim Mellon’s company Juvenescence raised the first $46 million of a planned $100 million for a series B financing round to further support the development of rejuvenation drugs and related projects in his portfolio, hoping to “move quickly toward commercialization.”

45 aging-reversing gene therapies presented by George Church: Next Big Future briefly reports on 45 gene therapies that, if delivered in combination in animal models, can prevent multiple diseases of aging at once. George Church’s early stage start-up, Rejuvenate Bio, hopes to bring the treatment to humans by the mid-2020s.

Smoking doubles the rate of aging: According to a study led by Insilico Medicine‘s Dr. Polina Mamoshina, young smokers age up to twice as fast as non-smokers, irrespective of sex. Employing an AI-driven system, the team analyzed blood samples from both smokers and non-smokers, and the estimated biological ages of nearly half of the smokers were up to 10 years greater than their chronological ages.

Immortality or Bust: This documentary features the travel of transhumanist visionary Zoltan Istvan around the U.S. on a coffin-shaped “Immortality Bus” to advocate for the ideas of life extension and technological progress. It won the Breakout Award at the Raw Science Film Festival in Los Angeles. We congratulate Zoltan and the filmmaker team, led by director Daniel Sollinger, with this success!

S. Jay Olshansky on MarketWatch: Prof. S. Jay Olshansky, one of the proponents of the concept of the “longevity dividend”—that is, the collective health and economic benefits to be enjoyed by society at large as a consequence of healthy life extension—was recently interviewed by MarketWatch, with which he talked about senolytics, among other topics.

Wearable tech to track aging: According to a study published in the journal Aging, wearable technologies such as smart watches could provide a way for physicians to track the aging of patients and their risk of developing age-related conditions in the future.

Barclays Bank on healthy longevity: Barclays Bank has produced a video featuring many aging research and investment experts, who discuss the currently accelerating progress in biological sciences that might soon lead us to live longer, healthier lives and the advantages that this will bring.

Coming up in February

Longevity Leaders Conference: The Longevity Leaders Conference, or LSX, will be held on February 4 in St. Paul’s, London, UK. Among the featured speakers are Dr. Aubrey de Grey (SENS Research Foundation), Dr. Alex Zhavoronkov (Insilico Medicine), and Dr. James Peyer (Apollo Ventures). LEAF board director Steve Hill will be reporting from the event. More information and tickets are available here.

BDYHAX Conference: The fourth annual BDYHAX human augmentation conference will be held again in Austin, Texas. The event, which takes place from February 23-24, brings together bioartists, startups, early adopters, researchers, and community leaders in self-directed human augmentative technologies. This year, BDYHAX features a personal genetic data review workshop. Tickets are available on its website.

School of Longevity Journalism in Moscow: This school, jointly organized by the Media Institute for Public Health and LEAF on February 26-27, aims to educate reporters on the advances of aging research and rejuvenation biotechnology. The School will include lectures from Vadim Gladyshev (Harvard Medical School) and our own Elena Milova.

Thank you for reviewing last month’s rejuvenation news with us! We look forward to sharing with you what February may have in store. If you like what we write and would like to help us do more, please consider becoming a Lifespan Hero. Thanks!

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About the author

Nicola Bagalà

Nicola is a bit of a jack of all trades—a holder of an M.Sc. in mathematics; an amateur programmer; a hobbyist at novel writing, piano and art; and, of course, a passionate life extensionist. After his interest in the science of undoing aging arose in 2011, he gradually shifted from quiet supporter to active advocate in 2015, first launching his advocacy blog Rejuvenaction before eventually joining LEAF. These years in the field sparked an interest in molecular biology, which he actively studies. Other subjects he loves to discuss to no end are cosmology, artificial intelligence, and many others—far too many for a currently normal lifespan, which is one of the reasons he’s into life extension.
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