Longevity News

Theory of Longevity

Funding Aging Research

Nanofactory Collaboration Colleague Awarded $3 Million

posted on September 29, 2008

Are you plagued with information overload? It gets worse every day, doesn’t it? If it weren’t for Reason at www.longevitymeme.org, I’d never have the time to sort through all the daily longevity news that you see in this letter. He does a terrific job, I distill it down and slightly edit it, and presto, you spend a few minutes every week to pick and choose whatever hits your hot button. There’s something for almost everybody in each issue, maybe even some life-saving info for you or a loved one.

Here is an excerpt from a release that I got from another source. An article like this might not catch your attention. On the surface, it looks like just another narrow-niche, hi-tech article aimed toward a limited audience. In reality though, it could hold the key to your full age-reversal plus open-ended youth in a super-human body. I’ll tell you why in a moment.
Nanofactory Collaboration Colleague Awarded $3M to Conduct First Diamond Mechanosynthesis Experiments
Professor Philip Moriarty of the Nanoscience Group the School of Physics at the University of Nottingham (U.K.) has been awarded a five-year $3M grant by the U.K. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to perform a series of laboratory experiments designed to investigate the possibility of diamond mechanosynthesis (DMS).  DMS is a proposed method for building diamond nanostructures, atom-by-atom. Moriarty’s experiments begin in October 2008.
The Nottingham work grew out of continuing discussions on DMS between Moriarty and Robert Freitas, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing (IMM) (Palo Alto, California, U.S.). 
Freitas and Ralph Merkle, also a Senior Fellow at IMM, founded the Nanofactory Collaboration in 2001 to pursue molecular manufacturing via DMS. Moriarty is interested in testing the viability of positionally-controlled atom-by-atom fabrication of diamondoid materials as described in the Freitas-Merkle minimal toolset theory paper.  Moriarty’s efforts will be the first time specific predictions of DFT in the area of mechanosynthesis will be rigorously tested by experiment. 
The article goes into more detail, but the implication for your longevity is this:
DMS is the first step on the way to full-blown nanomedicine. Nanomedicine may be the holy grail of indefinite lifespans. Next week, we’ll go a little deeper and take a peek into the future that nanomedicine has in store for you.

Calorie Restriction: Animals Versus People (September 25 2008) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080924151018.htm
The present scientific consensus on calorie restriction in humans is that it will do wonderful things for your health and resistance to age-related disease, but won't extend the maximum human life span to the same degree that is seen in lower animals: "In the majority of the animal models of longevity, extended lifespan involves pathways related to a growth factor called IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor-1). In calorie-restricted animals, levels of circulating IGF-1 decline between 30 percent and 40 percent. We looked at IGF-1 in humans doing calorie restriction [and] found no difference in IGF-1 levels between people on calorie restriction and those who are not. We know there are two major influences on IGF-1 levels: calorie intake and protein intake. So we decided to look at the influence of protein. Six [human testers] agreed to lower their protein intake and after three weeks their circulating IGF-1 declined dramatically. It's much easier to restrict protein than to restrict calories. If our research is on the right track, maybe humans don't need to be so calorie restricted. Limiting protein intake to .7 or .8 grams per kilogram per day might be more effective. That's just a hypothesis. We have to confirm it in future studies."

Nitric Oxide and Aging Blood Vessels (September 24 2008) http://pmid.us/18805864
Nitric oxide is important in the operation of the endothelium - the lining of blood vessels - but diminishes with age: "The normal endothelium exerts a major vascular protecting role by secreting substances, above all nitric oxide (NO). In disease conditions (such as the presence of cardiovascular risk factors) the activation of endothelial cells can lead to the production and release of contracting factors, which counteract the beneficial effects of NO, and reactive oxygen species (ROS), which in turn cause NO breakdown. Aging has been demonstrated to be associated to a progressive impairment in endothelial function both in conduit arteries and resistance vessels, mainly because of an increased production of ROS.

Therefore, it is conceivable that endothelial dysfunction plays a major role in favoring age-related increased cardiovascular risk in the elderly. "This is an example of the way in which age-damaged cells cause problems in the normal operation of surrounding tissue: cells taken over by damaged mitochondria are exporting reactive oxygen species that breakdown NO, and senescent cells are pushing out their own cocktail of unhelpful chemical instructions as well.

Out of Context, Many Old Cells Work Just Fine (September 23 2008) http://pmid.us/18802086
It is a recurring theme in stem cell and immune system research that cells removed from the context of the aging cellular environment can do their jobs just as well as cells in a young environment: "Understanding how aging impacts the function of memory CD4 T cells is critical for designing effective vaccines. Our studies show that immunological memory generated during youth functions well into old age, whereas that generated later in life functions poorly. This is the result of declines in the function of naive CD4 T cells from aged individuals and contributes to reduced efficacy of vaccines in the elderly. To begin to identify the cause of this defect, we examined the function of memory T cells generated from bone marrow precursor cells (BMPC) from young or aged mice in young hosts. In two different models, memory cells derived from young and aged BMPC exhibit good ex vivo and in vivo function. Importantly, memory CD4 T cells generated from aged BMPC exhibit potent cognate helper function for humoral responses, which are critical for effective immunization. These results indicate that there are no apparent age-related intrinsic defects in BMPC with regards to generation of functional memory T cells." As for many aspects of aging, the problem is one of failing systems and signal controls, not failing components.

NOTE:  Maybe many do work fine, but we believe most don’t, due to accumulated mutations.

A Recellurization Update (September 23 2008) http://www.popsci.com/node/24069
Via Popular Science: "Some people say they can grow a heart from scratch in 10 years, which is ridiculous. But Dr. Taylor's approach is more realistic because it's so simple and elegant. By using an existing heart, she's taken away all of the structural issues. Taylor's system involves flushing animal hearts of cells using a cleanser, at which point only the extracellular matrix remains and 'the hearts look almost clear'. The next step is to infuse the hearts with a mix of mature and progenitor cardiac cells, which can come from a patient's own body to ensure compatibility. Incredibly, for reasons the team still doesn't understand, the cells seem to know how to divide and proliferate into cardiac tissue inside the empty-shell hearts. This year, Taylor has continued to forge ahead toward her goal of creating transplantable, made-to-order human organs. Soon after she published her rat-heart results, she started working on making recellularized pig hearts - closer in size and shape to the human equivalent - that could pump blood and generate electrical impulses. Our hope is that someday we'll be able to take a cadaver or pig organ, decellularize it, and transplant your own cells into the matrix to make an organ that matches your body."

A Potential Downside to Exercise Mimetics (September 22 2008) http://ouroboros.wordpress.com/2008/09/22/amp-activated-kinase-the-target-of-exercise-mimetics-may-contribute-to-photoaging-and-cell-death/
From Ouroboros: "AMP-activated kinase (AMPK) agonists mimic the effects of exercise, raising the possibility of a 'workout pill' that could simulate the effects of vigorous activity. The applications to human health are, to mildly understate the case, significant; it sounds almost too good to be true, and it leaves one looking for the catch. It turns out that AMPK is activated by certain types of genotoxic stress, and contributes to UV-induced apoptosis in the skin. Activation of AMPK could exacerbate the pro-aging effects that UV light exerts on the skin. Judging from the peroxide results, this also applies to endogenously generated reactive oxygen species (ROS) - which one can't avoid by simply staying out of the sun. Before we panic and throw the exercise mimetic baby out with its carcinogenic bathwater, I'd want to see whether AMPK agonists like AICAR do in fact synergize with stresses like UV and peroxide to increase apoptotic cell death in the skin. If they do, well, I think we found that catch."

More Multipotent Stem Cells Discovered (September 22 2008) http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-09/chop-pri092208.php

From EurekAlert!: "The scientists [identified] cells known as pericytes that are multipotent, meaning they have broad developmental potential. Pericytes are found on the walls of small blood vessels such as capillaries and microvessels throughout the body and have the potential to be extracted and grown into many types of tissues. We believe pericytes represent one of the most promising sources of multipotent stem cells that scientists have been searching for in the quest to make regenerative medicine possible. These cells can be extracted easily and painlessly from convenient sources such as fat tissue, dental pulp, umbilical cord and placental tissue, then grown in culture to large numbers and, possibly, re-injected into the patient to heal a broken bone, a failing joint or an injured muscle. Researchers were able to identify pericytes in all human tissues they analyzed, including muscle, fat, pancreas, placenta and many other samples. Through purification in the lab, these pericytes could then be coaxed into becoming whatever type of tissue the scientists desired. For instance, the researchers took pericytes from the pancreas and then reinjected them into an injured muscle. The cells immediately began regenerating muscle tissue."

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