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LEAF at Undoing Aging 2019

Nearly our entire team, staff and volunteers alike, is currently attending Undoing Aging 2019, which is the second installment of the largest aging and rejuvenation research conference in Europe and organized by the SENS Research Foundation and the Forever Healthy Foundation. This conference is focused on the damage accumulation theory of aging and the damage repair approach for the treatment of aging, and it is hosting many interesting talks on the hottest topics of the field right now, from cellular senescence to epigenetic reprogramming, to cell therapy, and talks about clinical translation will take place tomorrow, on the last day of the event.

Beyond their educational and networking value, events like UA2019 represent a unique opportunity for international teams like ours to catch up in person—some of us met face-to-face for the first time right here at UA2019, despite having worked together remotely for years. This is definitely adding to the thrill of the event!

In the weeks following the conference, you can expect reports, exclusive interviews with researchers, and more! This year, two wonderful reporters – Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz from Quartz (U.S.) and Anna Dobryukha from Komsomolskaya Pravda (Russia) – are joining us on site to ensure wider coverage of the conference. Stay tuned!

The Longevity Book Club

How would you like to join fellow life extensionists in reading and discussing the best titles related to life extension and all things future? We think that this is a nice idea, and that’s why we’re putting together the Longevity Book Club as yet another nice perk for the Lifespan Heroes—the very fine people who are putting their money where their mouth is and helping us to carry out our mission. The first book we’ll read together is Yuval Noah Harari’s Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow; come and join us!

Roundtable on the ethics of medical journalism

On March 21, Elena Milova took part in “At the edge of two professions: the ethics of doctors and medical journalists”, a roundtable discussion where she spoke about the need for medical journalists to be familiar with the pyramid of evidence and how to discuss important topics, especially aging research and healthy life extension, in language that the general public understands. Elena also noted that scientific and medical news can affect how people make decisions about health, thus affecting their lifestyles and compliance with sound medical advice; therefore, more than in any other field, journalists must clearly and unambiguously prefer scientific data over unscientific opinions. The roundtable was organized by the local Media Institute for Public Health and was attended by experts from UNESCO and the Ministry of Health, representatives of the Russian Union of Journalists, professors of journalism, and representatives of patient organizations. This roundtable was an initial step in the preparation of the Ethical Code of the Medical Journalist.

Ryan O’Shea from Future Grind returns with the March Rejuvenation Roundup Podcast.

Research Roundup

Epigenetic alterations and reprogramming potential in aging: Epigenetic alterations, one of the hallmarks of aging, are changes in the states of genetic “switches” in our DNA, which are being increasingly linked to aging and degenerative, age-related diseases. In a recent paper, Drs. Sinclair and Kane reviewed the phenomenon as well as the potential of partial cellular reprogramming to reset epigenetic changes.

Rejuvenating aged brains by waking up dormant stem cells: Stem cells are non-specialized cells that, by means of division and specialization, end up forming all the tissues in your body; during aging, stem cells eventually stop doing so, contributing to tissue degeneration, including in the brain. As explained in this article, researchers from the University of Luxembourg have found a way to rejuvenate the brain stem cells of elderly mice and improve brain function.

The relationship between longevity and immunity: The immune system is one of the first things in your body that slowly starts giving in, and at a very young age, too; this gradual decline leads to chronic, low-grade systemic inflammation, which is suspected of increasing the crosstalk among the various hallmarks of aging. This article summarizes how the (mal)functioning of the immune system influences longevity, drawing attention to a paper that discusses this very relationship.

Senescence in bone marrow impairs immune cell generation: According to a recent paper, cell senescence in bone marrow contributes to the decline of hematopoiesis with age, thereby impairing the creation of immune cells.

The Engineering of Kidney Organoids Proceeds Apace: Tissue engineering is moving forward quickly in this age and particularly so for engineered kidneys, whose complexity and usefulness in clinical settings keeps growing.

Have Specific Genetic Examples of Antagonistic Pleiotropy Been Identified in Humans?: Antagonistic pleiotropy—which occurs when a single gene controls for multiple traits, at least one of which is harmful—is a popularly accepted explanation for why aging even exists in the first place; but are there any human genes that exhibit antagonistic pleiotropy?

The Significance of Senescent Astrocytes in the Aging Brain: A new paper looks at the evidence and significance of cellular senescence in astrocytes—brain cells that assist neurons and ensure their survival and functioning.

News Nuggets

Samsara is developing autophagy boosting therapies to combat aging: Autophagy is a well-known mechanism that is employed by cells to recycle broken proteins and organelles into reusable components, and it is known to positively influence longevity. A collaborator with Apollo Ventures, Samsara is a new biotech startup that focuses on the development of therapies that boost this built-in longevity mechanism.

Dr. Mehmood Khan Named CEO of Life Biosciences: Life Biosciences, an aging research company co-founded in 2017 by Dr. David Sinclair, announced earlier this month that it appointed Dr. Mehmood Khan, former Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer of PepsiCo, as its new CEO.

UNITY Biotechnology reported 2018 program updates: On March 6, UNITY Biotechnology, a company pioneering the first human trials of senescent-cell clearing drugs, released its financial results for 2018, recent updates on the recently expanded trials of its osteoarthritis drug UBX0101, and the non-clinical studies of its ophthalmological candidate drug UBX1967.

UNITY Biotechnology at the Cowen 39th Annual Health Care Conference: A webcast featuring UNITY’s chairman Keith Leonard is available on the Investors & Media section of UNITY’s website.

Lifespan.io’s first webinar teasers released: We recently released a few snippets from our first webinar, which was held in late January this year. The webinar featured members of SENS Research Foundation’s MitoSENS team working on addressing mitochondrial dysfunction via allotopic expression. During the webinar, Dr. Aubrey de Grey adjusted his estimate of when robust mouse rejuvenation will be achieved, among other things shown in the teasers.

Enjin Plans to Mobilize 20 Million Gamers to Fight Aging: Enjin, an online video game company and cryptocurrency distributor, is partnering with the SENS Research Foundation to facilitate fundraising through the gamification of the donation process. Enjin’s intention is to change the way people and charities interact in order to make fundraising an interactive and more enjoyable experience for donors.

Samumed at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Samumed, a company working on small-molecule drugs focused on the Wnt pathway, presented clinical data on SM04690, a Wnt inhibitor that holds potential in treating osteoarthritis. The drug has successfully passed a phase 2a study.

resTORbio Announces Phase 3 Human Trials: Last year, resTORbio’s immune system-boosting drug targeting the mTOR pathway was shown to have positive results in a phase 2b human trial, and the company is now moving on to phase 3 trials.

Coming up next month

New webinar—Aging and the Microbiome. As we announced in February, we’re going to host a second webinar, which will be focused on the role of the gut microbiome in aging. It’s becoming increasingly clear that your gut bacteria don’t just help you better digest food—they seem to play an important role in aging, possibly even contributing to chronic inflammation later in life. Dr. Mike Lustgarten, Dr. Amy Proal, and Dr. Cosmo Mielke will be discussing this fascinating topic on April 8, starting at 1 PM EST; all our amazing supporters—the Lifespan Heroes—are entitled and encouraged to join the session to learn all about human microbiome and ask questions of the experts themselves. If you can’t attend, you’ll still be able to watch a recording of the webinar on our YouTube channel at a later time.

Thank you very much for another month with us and for your help in the fight against age-related diseases—whether you’re donating, spreading the word, or simply reading our content, we appreciate your help. If you’d like to join the fantastic people who allow us to keep going thanks to their contributions, visit this page and become a Lifespan Hero—besides helping a good cause, there are nice perks for you too!

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