Summer is coming, and, albeit on a slightly longer timeframe, so is a world free of aging! So, grab an iced drink, sit comfortably on your beach chair, and let’s have a look together at some of the latest rejuvenation news.
The first LEAF conference in NYC is coming!
May saw us announce Ending Age-Related Diseases: Investment Prospects & Advances in Research, a special one-day conference taking place on July 12th in the heart of New York City. Join us for an action-packed day of research and biotech investment talks and panels from industry leaders as we build the longevity research and investment ecosystem!
We have confirmed the following exciting speakers for the event, and we invite you to visit our event page to learn more about them and the packed event program.
Dr. Aubrey de Grey – SENS Research Foundation
Keith Comito – Lifespan.io
Dr. Oliver Medvedik – Kanbar Center for Biomedical Engineering, Lifespan.io
Dr. Vadim Gladyshev – Harvard Medical School
Michael West – AgeX, Biotime
Joe Betts Lacroix – Vium
Dr. Mark Hammond – Deep Science Ventures
Ramphis Castro – ScienceVest
Dr. Sudhir Paul – Covalent Bioscience
Steven A. Garan – Center for Research and Education on Aging (CREA)
Reason – Fightaging.org, Repair Biotechnologies
Kelsey Moody – Ichor Therapeutics
Bobby Brooke – Intervene Immune
Dr. Antonei Csoka – Howard University
Stephen Hilbert – Oisin Biotechnologies
Dr. Alvaro Macieira-Coelho – INSERM (French Institute of Health and Medical Research)
Dr. Vera Gorbunova – University of Rochester
Dr. James Peyer – Apollo VC
To book your tickets, visit the Eventbrite ticket page today. We are also offering all Lifespan Heroes a 75% discount off the ticket price of the conference—our way of thanking you for supporting our work! If you would like to take advantage of this special offer, please either contact Javier or apply your discount code, if you know it, during the ticket purchasing process.
More great interviews
Our job here at LEAF is to bring the general public and the rejuvenation world closer together, and a great way to do that is through interviewing the people who are actually part of this world.
During UA2018, we talked to Dr. Nichola Conlon, CEO of Nuchido, a company that is soon to be launched and whose goal is to translate into human therapies some recent breakthroughs in the rejuvenation of aged mammals. Nuchido will investigate both NAD+ and senolytics for their potential as rejuvenative treatments.
We’ve also had the pleasure to have a chat with Dr. Sarah Constantin from the recently founded Longevity Research Institute. The LRI aims to identify, by 2030 at the latest, life-extending therapies that demonstrably work. As she explained in her interview, there are several compounds that are very good candidates for the job, yet not enough follow-up studies on them have been done; this is where the LRI plans to step in to change the situation.
We have also interviewed Dr. Matt Kaeberlein, one of the minds behind the Dog Aging Project. Dr. Kaeberlein and his team are working on canine aging and are hopeful that the treatments they’re testing might add up to five years to the healthy lifespan of dogs and cats.
Last but not least, we had an exclusive interview with Reason, the creator of Fight Aging!—quite likely the original rejuvenation advocacy blog. In occasion of the launch of Repair Biotechnologies, the biotech startup that he co-founded with Bill Cherman, we talked with Reason about his motivation to work in this field, his company’s plans, and his opinions on the current state of the rejuvenation industry and what we can expect from it in the future.
We’re nowhere near being done with interviews, so expect more in the coming months!
The debate over whether human adult neurogenesis occurs is far from settled, with evidence pointing in opposite directions; however, researchers have recently discovered that the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain affects the activity of neural stem cells and thus the rate of neurogenesis. The study was reported and commented on FA! here.
Several compounds appear to have senolytic properties—that is, the ability to selectively prune senescent cells from the body without harming other cells. The mechanisms of some of these compounds are fairly clear to scientists, but others, such as piperlongumine, are much less so. As reported by Reason here, a group of scientists has recently published a paper on this compound.
It’s not at all clear why aging, a nearly universal phenomenon, seems to spare a few, lucky organisms such as the hydra—a tiny freshwater polyp that is functionally immortal, meaning that its risk of death, low to start with, doesn’t increase over time as it does for the rest of us. FA! reports a recent study in which researchers suggest that the lower structural complexity of the nuclear envelopes of the hydra’s cells might be a contributing factor to the tiny animal’s non-senescence.
Engineering better cells
Viruses, pretty much like cancer, have a great ally on their side: the power of evolution. Throwing drugs at them may well succeed at keeping them in check, but at the same time, it triggers an arms race where both we and they constantly strive to outsmart each other—which, when you consider that viruses manage quite well and yet aren’t even consciously trying, can be a bit frustrating. A way to end the war once and for all might be to engineer human cells that are resistant to viruses, and possibly other health threats as well, by recoding the human genome through the elimination of redundant codons. That’s what the Human Genome Project-write is set up to do, as explained in this article by Steve Hill.
More UA2018 videos
The organizers of UA2018, the very first conference of the Undoing Aging series, have uploaded three more videos of the talks that took place during the event last March. The newest entries are talks by AgeCurve Ltd. founder Attila Csordas, Director of the Centre for Healthy Ageing at the National University of Singapore Brian Kennedy, AgeX co-CEO Mike West, and Oisin Biotechnologies CSO John Lewis.
Besides crowdfunding, LEAF embarked on a new adventure last month: the Longevity Investor Network led by LEAF board member Javier Noris. This initiative is meant to bring together young rejuvenation biotech companies and potential investors in order to increase startups’ chances of making it through the initial development phase and bringing their ideas to the clinic. Any rejuvenation company opening an investment round may want to give this a shot!
You surely remember our previous crowdfunding campaign for the aging biomarker scan AgeMeter, which was greatly successful thanks to our amazing supporters. In May, we had a small update on how the creation of the device is progressing; you might want to check it out.
Speaking of our amazing supporters, another one has recently joined the club and became a Lifespan Hero by pledging the very generous amount of 2,000 dollars per month. We’re immensely grateful to this anonymous contributor for his or her trust in us; this pledge is a great leap forward to the $10,000/month goal, which will allow us to organize an annual, full-scale longevity conference in New York City. Our deepest gratitude to all of our heroes, individuals and organizations who made a single contribution, too!
Two of our board members had their birthdays this month: Elena Milova and Steve Hill. They both celebrated in their own, unique ways. Steve organized an individual fundraising campaign on Facebook in support of LEAF; Elena celebrated in Astana, Kazakhstan at the Global Challenges Summit, where she was invited to moderate the longevity panel “Immortality begins now”, which featured Aubrey de Grey, Anthony Atala and Mikhail Batin. She was also a panelist of “Longevity as the new branch of the economy. Regulatory framework”. As she explained in her opening speech in the first session, our desire to live a life free of diseases has been with us since the early days of our species, has survived in myths, and has been making its way into the reality of our healthcare system; if we put our minds to it, it may finally come completely true once aging is finally defeated.
A possible new weapon against progeria
Progeria—a syndrome that looks an awful lot like accelerated aging and strikes one out of every several million children at a very young age—is caused by a mutation in a gene called LMNA. In this short article on Long Long Life, Anne Fischer talks about progeria and remodelin, a new molecule that appears to ameliorate progeria in mice.
LE and SciFi
Have you ever noticed that, while even the most improbable—and sometimes straight-up impossible—things happen in science fiction, the defeat of aging is hardly ever presented as a future scenario? When the possibility of rejuvenation is touched upon, it generally only has a very marginal role in the story, and in a worst-case scenario, it ends up being demonized more or less overtly. We discussed a few examples of this interesting phenomenon and the possible reasons behind it in this article.
Speaking of science fiction, in the recent movie Avengers: Infinity War, the very same concern of overpopulation that some bring up in the context of life extension is the core motivation of the movie’s villain, Thanos. Thanos’ way of dealing with overpopulation is a little too drastic, as LEAF President Keith Comito explained in his newest article.
Aubrey de Grey on Chronicle Chats
On May 8, the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco hosted a conversation between Dr. Aubrey de Grey, CSO of SENS Research Foundation, and Prof. William Hurlburt from Stanford Medical School. The conversation, moderated by San Francisco Chronicle Editor in Chief Audrey Cooper, was focused on the topic of life extension and the ethical implications of potentially unlimited lifespans. The event was streamed live, but in case you missed it, you can still watch it here.
May Journal Club
In the latest episode of JC, Oliver Medvedik and Steve Hill covered in more detail the results of a recent human clinical trial of MitoQ, an antioxidant supplement that we’ve previously discussed in another article. The supplement looks promising in terms of its beneficial effects on cardiovascular health, but it’s early to say anything about long-term use; if you missed out on the JC, have a look to find out more!
News from Ichor Therapeutics
Ichor Therapeutics, a company famous for its early-stage implementation of a LysoSENS-based approach to treating age-related macular degeneration, has recently published a paper about RPtag—an antibody-like scaffold with applications in protein manufacturing, diagnostics, and even clinical antibody therapy. RPtag’s resilience and stability make it easy to administer and preserve, even under extreme conditions.
In other Ichor-related news, on May 11, the rather aptly named stem cell-focused bioengineering company Ship of Theseus announced the initiation of a lifespan study on mice, which will be conducted at Ichor Therapeutics. Particularly, this study will be examining the effects of hematopoietic stem cell treatments on aging. Another lifespan study, this time by the Longevity Research Institute, has recently been announced and will be conducted at Ichor Therapeutics.
WHO Programme of Work: a certified victory!
Many of you will surely remember that, some time back, many organizations in the area of life extension were concerned that WHO had almost completely neglected to mention aging and the problems faced by elderly people in the draft of its Programme of Work. Thanks to the efforts of advocates in the LE community, LEAF included, WHO made a U-turn and included several provisions related to healthy aging in a newer draft of the same document. Today, we’re extremely happy to announce that the document has been approved and signed. Resolutions can be found here. This is no small achievement, but it was obtained with individual efforts: people like us were concerned about WHO’s choices and sent it feedback that asked for healthy aging to be included in its new Programme. This is a testament to how much we can achieve if we work together!
More acceptance of life extension even among religious people
One might think that religious people would all be completely against life extension, for ethical reasons among others, but it is not necessarily so. Early in May, during the Fourth International Vatican Conference, a panel on the morality of life extension was held featuring Reverend Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco, Ph.D., 16th US NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Rabbi Edward Reichman, Elder Dale G. Renlund, M.D., and XPRIZE Founder and Chairman Peter H. Diamandis, M.D. It might surprise you to learn that, while religious panelists weren’t eager to live to 250—as they understandably look forward to the afterlife in which they believe—they don’t really think that there’s anything unethical about life extension, and they seem to mostly agree on the benefits that it would bring to everyone.
Art for life extension
Dr. Laura Weston, a medical doctor, artist, and LEAF volunteer, has recently launched her own high-end art gallery featuring transhumanist themes and is supporting LEAF with proceeds from the sale of her work. We’re very grateful to Laura for her support, and if you are passionate about art as well as life extension, you may want to check out her awesome pieces.
In conclusion, we’d like to look back on this time period as the initial stage of an age-free future. Therefore, we’d like to thank researchers for their pioneering intellectual contributions, biotechnology corporations for bringing new, effective therapies into the clinic, fellow LE advocates for helping let the world know about rejuvenation biotechnology, and, of course, our Heroes for their consistent support!