Healthy Life Extension
"Live to 150" Pill?
posted on November 1st, 2011
Dear Future Centenarian,
A recent article by Jo Willey in the UK News says drugs for the body to repair itself and new stem cell therapies could be on the market in five years.
She™s even more optimistic than I. Although I see this happening, the time frame is not realistic. Even if miracle drugs were somehow developed that quickly, they would not be available, at least in the US, because of FDA regulations.
Stem call therapies will eventually help us get there as well.
It™s good to see encouraging articles like this, except they raise false hopes for the short-term and may make some readers complacent about maintaining their health. The bottom line is, if you want to take advantage of emerging life-extenders, stay alive and well until they actually are developed. They are coming, so take care of yourself now.
The article goes on to say:
A WONDER pill letting us live to the ripe old age of 150 and beyond may be available within five years.
Thanks to advances in medicine, lifestyle and public health, many people in Britain expect to reach their centenary.
Now Professor Peter Smith of New South Wales University in Australia claims œelixir of life drugs will not only help us live longer, but healthier too.
He said: œThe aim is not just to eke out extra existence but to facilitate a longer healthy life. We just don™t want to live longer, we want to live longer well. And these drugs will help with the regeneration of cells, regeneration of processes in the body, so we expect people will live well, much longer.
Drugs for the body to repair itself and new stem cell therapies could be on the market in five years.
Professor David Sinclair, an Australian expert in ageing at Harvard University, said a network of genes is responsible for the pace of aging.
He said: œOur bodies have an extraordinary ability to repair themselves.
Professor Sinclair has shown that resveratrol, a plant compound found in red wine, can extend the lifespan of yeast, worms, fruit flies and fat mice, by activating proteins called sirtuins. œWe™re seeing the beginning of technology that could one day allow us to reach 150. he said.
Resveratrol is an old story, and results have been disappointing. There™s no magic there, but it™s a step. It certainly will not replace a sensible diet and exercise.
LATEST HEADLINES FROM FIGHT AGING!
MORE WORK ON EPIGENETIC AGE DETERMINATION Thursday, October 27, 2011 http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2011/10/more-work-on-epigenetic-age-determination.php
A number of different research teams have recently demonstrated epigenetic markers that can be used to establish chronological age or predict life expectancy to various degrees. Here is another: "Aging has been associated with accumulation of cellular defects such as DNA damage and telomere shortening. On the other hand, there is accumulating evidence that aging rather resembles a developmentally regulated process which is tightly controlled by specific epigenetic modifications. All tissues of the organism are affected by aging.
This process is associated with epigenetic modifications such as methylation changes at specific cytosine residues in the DNA (CpG sites). Here, we have identified an Epigenetic-Aging-Signature which is applicable for many tissues to predict donor age. This Epigenetic-Aging-Signature was tested on a validation group of eight independent datasets corresponding to several cell types from different tissues. The average absolute difference between predicted and real chronological age was about 11 years. It has to be noted, that chronological age is not identical with biological age and it is conceivable that some of the discrepancy between predicted and real age can be attributed to this difference - further research might facilitate determination of the biological age for personalized medicine."
SPECULATING ON THE TIMELINE FOR ARTIFICIAL BLOOD Thursday, October 27, 2011 http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2011/10/speculating-on-the-timeline-for-artificial-blood.php
There are a number of different lines of research focused on developing artificial blood or culturing blood to order from stem cells: "Clinical trials using blood created from adult stem cells are set to begin within the next two or three years, raising the prospect it could soon become routinely used where real blood is unavailable. Scientists are also developing alternative bloodlike substances which could be injected into the body as a 'stopgap' until an actual blood transfusion could be performed. ... modern doctors have minimized the risk of patients receiving infections such as Hepatitis A and C during transmission [but] blood produced from stem cells would avoid these risks and could be manufactured as type 'O-negative', which is produced by just 7 per cent of the population but is suitable for use in into up to 98 per cent of patients.
It could also be used in certain hospital situations, for example in elective surgery, and save hundreds of thousands of lives in parts of the world where blood banks are not available. [Researchers have] developed a method of taking adult stem cells from bone marrow and growing them in the laboratory to produce cells which look and act almost identically to red blood cells. Once their technique is fine-tuned the team may consider using stem cells taken from embryos, or reprogrammed skin cells, instead of adult cells because although the end product does not mimic red blood as closely, they can be grown in much greater quantities in the lab. A more radical solution, which [researchers] say could be perfected within five to 10 years, is to develop a completely artificial alternative to blood which performs the same key functions and would be safe to use in patients of every blood type. This could involve packing hemoglobin - which carries oxygen around the body - into a synthetic cell-like structure, or using a chemical to hold the hemoglobin together so that it can be injected without the need for red blood cells."
KEEPING AN EYE ON AMYLOID VACCINE DEVELOPMENT Wednesday, October 26, 2011 http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2011/10/keeping-an-eye-on-amyloid-vaccine-development.php
The SENS Foundation has published a series of posts over the past year or so that follow progress in the development of immunotherapies to remove the age-related buildup of amyloid in the brain - much of it intended as treatments for Alzheimer's disease. Success here will, however, lead to a broader technology platform that might ultimately be turned against any damaging aggregate that builds up in the body with age. These aggregates contribute to aging itself, and so removing them is one necessary part of any comprehensive rejuvenation biotechnology package: "soluble and insoluble aggregates of beta-amyloid protein (AÃŸ) and other malformed proteins accumulate in brain aging and neurodegenerative disease, leading progressively to neuronal dysfunction and/or loss.
These have long been widely accepted to be drivers of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other age-related dementias and neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease, and it has recently become increasingly clear that neuronal protein aggregates are the main driver of 'normal' cognitive aging. To prevent and reverse the course of neurodegenerative disease and age-related cognitive dysfunction, the regenerative engineering solution is therapeutic clearance of extracellular aggregates (such as AÃŸ
plaques) and intracellular aggregates (such as soluble, oligomeric AÃŸ). Immunotherapeutic AÃŸ clearance from the brain is a very active field of Alzheimer's research, with at least seven passive, and several second-generation active, AÃŸ vaccines currently in human clinical trials. We now have a published report of preliminary findings from the first Phase I trial in an AÃŸ-targeting vaccine with novel properties, and with the benefit of preliminary findings of outcomes that have only emerged with the experience of its forerunners in previous clinical trials."
CORRELATING IMMUNE SYSTEM STATE WITH HEALTH IN OLD AGE Wednesday, October 26, 2011 http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2011/10/correlating-immune-system-state-with-health-in-old-age.php
Via ScienceDaily: "Exceptional cognitive and physical function in old age leaves a tell-tale immunologic fingerprint, say researchers. Likewise, older adults who have mild impairments bear a distinct immunologic pattern, too. Our study indicates that getting older does not necessarily mean that the immune system gets weaker, as many of us assumed. The immune system is dynamic, and the changes it undergoes over time very much influence function. For the project, the team collected blood samples from 140 participants who had been followed in the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) for nearly two decades and were 78 to 94 years old. With only two participants younger than 82, the average age of the group was 86. The team also gathered information about the participants' health and function, medical history and hospitalizations, and self-rated health, and assessed their cognitive and physical function using standard tests.
Previous research has shown that with age, immune cells called T-cells become more like natural killer (NK) cells, which typically target tumor cells and virus-infected cells. A closer look in the new study shows that participants who were most physically and cognitively resilient had a dominant pattern of stimulatory NK receptors on the T-cell surface, and that these unusual T-cells can be activated directly through these NK receptors independently of the conventional ones. The functionally resilient elders also have a distinct profile of blood proteins called cytokines that reflect an immune-enhancing environment. Conversely, the group that showed mild health impairment had a dominant pattern of inhibitory NK receptors on their T-cells, and they have a cytokine profile indicating a pro-inflammatory environment. Both of these immunologic features could suggest a greater susceptibility to illness."
A ROLE FOR SIRTUINS AS CANCER SUPPRESSORS Tuesday, October 25, 2011 http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2011/10/a-role-for-sirtuins-as-cancer-suppressors.php
Work on sirtuins as longevity genes hasn't exactly shown promise, but there are still interesting things to be learned from the work taking place, as this open access paper shows: "One fundamental observation in cancer etiology is that the rate of malignancies in any mammalian population increases exponentially as a function of age, suggesting a mechanistic link between the cellular processes governing longevity and carcinogenesis. In addition, it is well established that aberrations in mitochondrial metabolism, as measured by increased reactive oxygen species (ROS), are observed in both aging and cancer.
In this regard, genes that impact upon longevity have recently been characterized in S. cerevisiae and C. elegans, and the human homologs include the Sirtuin family of protein deacetylases. Interestingly, three of the seven sirtuin proteins are localized into the mitochondria suggesting a connection between the mitochondrial sirtuins, the free radical theory of aging, and carcinogenesis. Based on these results it has been hypothesized that Sirt3 functions as a mitochondrial fidelity protein whose function governs both aging and carcinogenesis by modulating ROS metabolism. Sirt3 has also now been identified as a genomically expressed, mitochondrial localized tumor suppressor."
A REPORT FROM THE SINGULARITY SUMMIT Monday, October 24, 2011 http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2011/10/a-report-from-the-singularity-summit.php
From Singularity Hub: "scientists, engineers, futurists, and other forward-thinkers converged for Singularity Summit 2011. In this first part of three [we'll] highlight the speakers who discussed the various aspects of health related to the singularity. This includes life extension and regenerative medicine as well as the implications of these new technologies. Hands down, one of the most exciting talks of the first day. Dr. Stephen Badylak was able to wow the crowd with his work on regenerative medicine. Working at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, Badylak and his team have been experimenting with what's known as the extracellular matrix (ECM), the structural component in animal tissue outside of the cells. Research has found that besides providing support for cells, the ECM acts as a 'information superhighway', allowing cells to communicate with each other. Part of this communication involves molecular signals that recruit stem cells after injury and indeed, grafting pig ECM at sites of human injury have been shown to work better at regenerating tissue than injecting stem cells directly.
Dmitry Itskov presented on a new movement that he has founded to tackle the issue of human immortality. Itskov gave a somewhat nationalistic presentation, touching on many aspects of why Russia is poised to become the leader in the area of longevity. He described the work of famous Russian scientists that are the intellectual grandfathers of this movement and gave an open invitation to anyone who wanted to help grow it. As was a common theme throughout the 2-day summit, Itskov doesn't think that the breakthroughs in the technology to bring radical life extension to market will necessarily come from government. Instead, he advocates grass-roots movements [that] assemble the necessary scientists, thinkers, and financiers to see it through."