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Saving Your Money Can Save Your Life

posted on May 10, 2011

Dear Future Centenarian,

Do you remember how much you paid for your first digital watch, pocket calculator or mobile phone? It was probably a whole lot more than you pay for equivalents now, right? In fact, you can barely give away the products you paid so much for then. But you were the first kid on the block to own one, and you paid a premium price.

Extreme life extending technologies won’t be cheap when they are introduced either. And you can bet they’ll be a lot more than you would ever expect to pay for a cell phone. In fact, they most likely may only be affordable to the well off. Sure, prices will drop… and fairly rapidly. But what if you are at the age when you don’t have time to wait?

We will soon be entering the era in which money can buy significant amounts of additional healthy life. So saving for later years has never been more beneficial than it is now, and that benefit will grow rapidly.

We’re on the verge of ordering organs grown to replace those that are failing. Stem cell transplants that heal our age-damaged tissues are right around the corner. BioTime’s subsidiary ReCyte Therapeutics, Inc, will utilize its ReCyte™ technology to reverse the developmental aging of human cells. Then it will be used to generate embryonic vascular and blood progenitors from the ReCyte cell lines for therapeutic use in age-related vascular and blood disorders such as coronary disease and heart failure.

I'm thrilled to see this revolutionary stem cell therapy actually approaching the clinic. BioTime’s CEO, Dr. Michael West, can reset the telomere clock of aging in stem cells created from normal adult cells. And all of this is done without the use of embryos or cloning. ReCyte is forthrightly announcing it will cure conditions caused by normal human aging. This is truly revolutionary.

These new "pluripotent" stem cells, made from your own cells, are identical to embryonic stem cells in that they do not age and can be designed to become any cell type in your body. They can also be multiplied and stored indefinitely. Only when these cells have started down the path to their final cell state does the biological clock begin ticking.

ReCyte has announced it will begin banking individuals' cells this year in preparation for regulatory approval. When ReCyte has enough of these cardiovascular repair cells (and regulatory approval in some legal jurisdiction), they will be given back to patients via transfusion. There will be no immune reaction, because they are your own cells. We know what they will do because you have lots of these cells already, though they are as old as you are. The new cells though, will be only weeks or months old biologically and will displace the older and less effective endothelial precursor cells.

Once in your body, your new rejuvenated stem cells will produce the various cells needed to replace old and damaged heart and vascular cells. These new cells will be vigorous, fully functioning, and youthful. In time, you will have, essentially, a new heart and vascular system – without surgery. The same technology can and will be used to rejuvenate your immune system.

These cells are inside you now. The actual mechanism of action, the replacement of aged cardiovascular cells with new cells, is taking place in your body even as you read this article. If it didn't work, you would already be dead. BioTime is exploiting natural biological processes, but they will use rejuvenated versions of your own cells.

Until now, four out of ten of us were destined to die from age-related cardiovascular disease. If you're one of them, your healthy life span will be extended significantly by endothelial precursor therapy. Initially, BioTime's therapy will be expensive, but not as expensive as the cost of treating an end-stage heart condition. In time, most of the procedure will be roboticized. Costs will plummet.

Coming later, you’ll see artificial cells and engineered bacteria that scour our bodies for harmful levels of waste products in the elderly. Then, you’ll see artificial immune systems, much superior to what you have now, complete rejuvenation when the SENS program matures, and eventually, full-blown nanomedicine. That will give you tools you need to reverse aging, and to keep you from aging. You’ll be able to get everything from drugs, to bioimplants, to cell repair and enhancements, built atom by atom.

Which brings us back to money. As biotechnology advances, the more important money to pay for it becomes. Being self-sufficient and not depending on a broken healthcare system can save your life.

With each passing year, the amount of additional healthy life you could purchase increases. While that increase is comparatively gentle now, and the amount of extra life modest, both will become much larger in ten or twenty years.

Long Life,
David Kekich

P.S. You’ll enjoy this movie trailer, and I recommend you see the movie.

HOW TO LIVE FOREVER, A film by Mark Wexler


Filmmaker Mark Wexler is not going down without a fight. Rather than face his own mortality, he embarks on a worldwide trek to investigate just what it means to grow old and what it could mean to really live forever.

But whose advice should he take? Did 94-old exercise guru Jack LaLanne have the answers, or does Buster, a 101-year-old chain-smoking, beer-drinking marathon runner? What about futurist Ray Kurzweil? Biogerontologist Aubrey de Grey? Phyllis Diller? A laughter yoga expert? Maybe an elder porn star?

Wexler deftly explores the viewpoints of these delightful characters alongside those of health, fitness and life-extension experts in this engaging, and often hilarious, new documentary.

For trailer and more information, please visit: WWW.LIVEFOREVERMOVIE.COM


WORK ON BOOSTING CELLULAR REPAIR PROCESSES Friday, May  6, 2011 http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2011/05/work-on-boosting-cellular-repair-processes.php
This article looks at a research group who are working on a way to make cells more resilient to wear and tear - which may or may not have application to a range of conditions: "Their early research looked at skeletal muscle and how calcium plays a role in atrophy and aging. Then in 2006, they published a study showing cells in older mice were essentially leaking calcium - causing a natural aging process and inefficient muscle function. [Researchers] identified and isolated a naturally occurring protein that suggested [this aspect of the] aging process could possibly be reversed through future drugs.

They subsequently gained worldwide attention after they identified the protein MG53 as a key initiator of membrane repair in damaged tissue, in the first study to specifically pinpoint a protein responsible for promoting cell repair. The protein is one that all humans, mice and other mammals have. It's a molecule at the forefront of repairing any and all injuries - from normal wear and tear of individual cells to widespread catastrophic trauma. The lab work shows the protein's importance under the microscope: A single needle prick completely deflates and kills a cell without the protein. But a cell bolstered with MG53 quickly recovers, repairing its torn outer layer at an accelerated rate. The research is now at the heart of a new drug company that is performing the first trials of an MG53 therapy on mice. The university granted TRIMedicine - headquartered in North Brunswick - a license to work on an application of the drug."

LATEST CIRM GRANTS MADE Friday, May  6, 2011 http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2011/05/latest-cirm-grants-made.php
The latest grants made by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM): "The Governing Board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the State Stem Cell Agency, approved a $25 million award to support the first FDA-approved clinical trial based on cells derived from human embryonic stem cells. The award to Menlo Park-based Geron, Corp, will support the company's on-going early phase trial for people with spinal cord injury. This is the first time the agency, which was created by the passage of proposition 71 in 2004, has funded a human clinical trial testing a stem cell-derived therapy.

The initial phase of the trial will include just a small number of people with recent spinal cord injuries who will receive injections of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells derived from embryonic stem cells into the site of the injury. In animal models, those cells mature into oligodendrocytes, which produce the insulating layer surrounding neurons. The initial phase of the three-year project is designed to test whether the cells are safe. Later phases will include different levels of spinal cord injury and will test increasing doses of the cells. At the same meeting, the Governing Board approved 27 Basic Biology III Awards worth $37.7 million. The awards to nine institutions will support research that leads to new insights in stem cell biology and disease origins. This work feeds the pipeline of new discoveries and also informs the work of research groups working on new disease therapies."

COMPLICATING THE PICTURE FOR CALORIE RESTRICTION AND FAT Thursday, May  5, 2011 http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2011/05/complicating-the-picture-for-calorie-restriction-and-fat.php
A survey of calorie restriction in many mouse breeds finds that it doesn't work to extend healthy life in all, and that difference appears to be related to the degree to which calorie restriction results in fat loss. This presents an interesting complication, given that it has been clearly demonstrated that surgically removing visceral fat extends life in mice, and the human studies of calorie restriction show unambiguously positive results on health: "Since the 1930s scientists have proposed food restriction as a way to extend life in mice. Though feeding a reduced-calorie diet has indeed lengthened the life spans of mice, rats and many other species, new studies with dozens of different mouse strains indicate that food restriction does not work in all cases.

[Researchers] studied the effect of food restriction on fat and weight loss in 41 genetically different strains of mice. The scientists then correlated the amount of fat reduction to life span. The answer: Mice that maintained their fat actually lived longer. Those that lost fat died earlier. Indeed, the greater the fat loss, the greater the likelihood the mice would have a negative response to dietary restriction, i.e., shortened life. This is contrary to the widely held view that loss of fat is important for the life-extending effect of dietary restriction. It turns the tables a bit."

WAKING UP THE IMMUNE SYSTEM WITH NANOPARTICLES Thursday, May  5, 2011 http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2011/05/waking-up-the-immune-system-with-nanoparticles.php
The ability to make the immune system act in certain ways is the foundation for a range of powerful therapies: "scientists have discovered a way to wake up the immune system to fight cancer by delivering an immune system-stimulating protein in a nanoscale container called a vault directly into lung cancer tumors, harnessing the body's natural defenses to fight disease growth. The vaults, barrel-shaped nanoscale capsules found in the cytoplasm of all mammalian cells, were engineered to slowly release a protein, the chemokine CCL21, into the tumor. Pre-clinical studies in mice with lung cancer showed that the protein stimulated the immune system to recognize and attack the cancer cells, potently inhibiting cancer growth

The vault nanoparticles containing the CCL21 have been engineered to slowly release the protein into the tumor over time, producing an enduring immune response. Although the vaults protect the packed CCL21, they act like a time-release capsule. ... [Researchers] plan to test the vault delivery method in human studies within the next three years and hope the promising results found in the pre-clinical animal tumor models will be replicated. The vault nanoparticle would require only a single injection into the tumor because of the slow-release design, and it eventually could be designed to be patient specific by adding the individual's tumor antigens into the vault. The vaults may also be targeted by adding antibodies to their surface that recognize receptors on the tumor. The injection could then be delivered into the blood stream and the vault would navigate to the tumor, a less invasive process that would be easier on the patients. The vault could also seek out and target tumors and metastases too small to be detected with imaging."

SURVEYING THE PRESENT USE OF FAT-DERIVED STEM CELLS Tuesday, May  3, 2011 http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2011/05/surveying-the-present-use-of-fat-derived-stem-cells.php
One of the more widespread present uses of stem cells in the clinic involves cells derived from a patient's own fat tissue. Here an Indian publication surveys the landscape: "Stem cells offer exciting medical promise for repairing or replacing organs that are diseased, damaged or worn out. This promise of repair and regeneration was taken a step further with the advent of Adipose (Fat) Derived Stem Cells (ADSC) which are derived from our own excess body fat. Much like recycling waste, our excess fat can be processed to give us a better quality of life. Currently used for breast augmentation and reconstruction as well as plastic surgery, ADSC are being researched for most debilitating diseases like Myocardial Infarction (MI), diabetes mellitus and neurodegenerative diseases also.

Clinically, ADSCs have the advantage over their bone marrow-derived counterparts, because of their abundance in numbers - eliminating the need for culturing over days to obtain a therapeutically viable number - and the ease of the harvest procedure itself - being less painful than the harvest of bone marrow. This, in theory, means that an autologous transplant of ADSC will not only work in much the same way as the successes shown using marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cell transplant, but also be of minimal risk to the patient. I was a part of adipose tissue derived stem cell trial in spinal cord injury and critical limb ischemia. We could not have a large number of subjects because of cost considerations, but the results were encouraging in spinal cord injury. However in critical limb ischemia results were poor as compared to good results of other studies with bone marrow derived stem cells. Apart from these cases, Mumbai based Kasiak Research is using ADSC for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Apart from this, there are a number of trials investigating applications in ischemic heart disease around the world."

AN EARLY IMMUNE THERAPY TRIAL FOR MELANOMA Monday, May  2, 2011 http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2011/05/an-early-immune-therapy-trial-for-melanoma.php
Immune therapies are slowly making their way into clinical trials: in recent work, researchers "harvested immune cells from nine patients. They souped up the cells in their lab - in effect giving them the ability to remember cancer cells - multiplied them in number, and infused them back into the patients from whom they been taken. This technique, called adoptive t-cell therapy, primes the immune system to seek out and destroy cancer cells throughout the body. Ten weeks after starting the therapy, seven of the nine patients had more of the specially trained cells than they had started with. The disease in four of the patients had become stable - neither advancing nor retreating. In one patient, the cancer disappeared completely; two years later, it has still not returned.

The work is not yet ready for commercialization. Laboratory methods for boosting immune cells need to be perfected and made more efficient, and more early clinical trials are needed. Five of the [patients] went on to take ipilimumab, a human monoclonal antibody. With the addition of ipilimumab, [tumors] shrank in three of the five patients and stopped growing in the other two, a response far better than that shown in previous trials of the drug. [This suggests] immunotherapy may help drugs work better."

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