Healthy Life Extension
Telomerase History and Tips
Dear Future Centenarian,
Researchers studied the connection between telomeres, telomerase, and cellular and organismal aging, but the public had little awareness until the early 1990s. That™s when Dr. Michael West founded Geron Corporation and brought on board Dr. Bryant Villeponteau, Dr. William Andrews and a strong underlying team.
In the following years, West succeeded in embedding a controversial thesis deeply into the public imagination: that the (re)activation of telomerase in somatic cells could retard or even reverse the degenerative aging process.
There were always problems with this thesis, and with public (mis)understandings of it, but its sheer simplicity and public prominence has in direct and indirect ways advanced scientific research that has answered many of the questions the thesis forced upon the scientific community, and opened up important new avenues for research in telomere biology and in biomedical gerontology.
The most direct and important fruits of that expansion of research into telomerase have been studies on the pharmacological and transgenic activation of telomerase in the tissues of aging mice.
Several such reports have appeared over the years, each hailed prematurely as evidence of the life-and health-extending power of the enzyme. The most important of these have been a series of experiments by MarÃa Blasco, PhD, SENS Research Foundation Advisory Board member and Director of the Molecular Oncology Programme at Spain's National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO).
Dr. Blasco has gone on to develop a blood test kit to measure the critical short telomeres. Prior tests only measured the less important mean telomere length. Now, an inexpensive saliva test has been developed which holds promise to be an accurate telomere measuring tool.
A tantalizing report in this series has appeared - but to understand it in context, we will first review those that led up to it.
If you have an interest in telomere biology, you should read the whole thing. It™s very educational, and a good illustration of the way in which there are no sudden breakthroughs in science - just sudden attention paid to steadily ongoing progress.
From the SENS Foundation via FightAging.org:
You may have been following the emergence of telomerase activation products. The first was introduced at $25,000 per year and has come down in price substantially. It™s still out of reach for most. Other effective and more affordable products followed, and there are others on the horizon.
The better ones have gone into more extensive human studies. Results should be announced starting in several months.
In addition, the spotlight has been shining on telomerase-supporting lifestyle habits. Stress-reduction, exercise, diet and supplements such as fish oil should be your first line of defense against telomere shortening.
Within a few years, a stem cell therapy may be available that resets your aging clock/telomere length in many or most of your organs™ cells. More on this as it develops.
Each new advance rests upon decades of past work and the efforts of a range of other research groups. It also illustrates the need to look past the headlines to pick at the details of heralded research.
LATEST HEADLINES FROM FIGHT AGING!
ON MORTALITY RATES AND LIFE EXPECTANCY Friday, March 15, 2013
Here is a piece to act as fuel for people who like to argue policy and don't look much beyond the now. I think this is chiefly interesting for the potential support it gives to lifestyle differences between the genders as a noteworthy contributing cause to the fact that women live longer.
Otherwise, it reinforces the point that differences in life expectancy at birth between regions or over time is not all that relevant to the intersection of medicine and aging - more attention should be given to statistics for life expectancy at 50 or 60.
TESTING NEURONS CREATED FROM SKIN CELLS IN PRIMATES Friday, March 15, 2013
An example of an application of induced pluripotent stem cells moving closer to use in humans.
The transplant of new brain cells is a potential treatment for a range of neurodegenerative conditions:
MALATE AND NEMATODE LIFESPAN Thursday, March 14, 2013
The smaller and shorter lived the animal, the easier it is to extend its life in the laboratory.
This is in part because more experiments can run at lower cost, but also because it seems that many of the evolved, shared mechanisms for adjusting the pace of aging or degree of tissue maintenance in response to environmental circumstances (e.g. calorie restriction) have a larger effect in shorter-lived species.
GLOBAL FUTURES 2045 CONFERENCE IN JUNE Thursday, March 14, 2013
The next conference put on by the 2045 Initiative will be held in mid-June in New York.
The initiative is backed by a wealthy Russian businessman and aims to move from biological bodies and minds to machine bodies and minds as rapidly as possible.
Read More http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2013/03/global-futures-2045-conference-in-june.php
CALORIE RESTRICTION REDUCES LEVELS OF ASTROGLIOSIS Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Another specific benefit of calorie restriction is enumerated in this primate study, one that suggests a generally lower level of damage to the brain is taking place in calorie restricted individuals.
The lack of impact on Î²-amyloid is interesting, however, given that calorie restriction has been shown to slow near every other measurable aspect of aging:
MORE ON LIPID METABOLISM AND INHERITED LONGEVITY Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Some characteristic differences in lipid metabolism are associated with greater human longevity; this is one of the few markers of an inherited predisposition to longevity that clearly shows up in multiple population studies.
Here is more detail on this topic: "Middle aged offspring of nonagenarians, as compared to their spouses (controls) show a favorable lipid metabolism marked by larger LDL particle size in men and lower total triglyceride levels in women.
ON RAPAMYCIN'S DETRIMENTAL EFFECTS Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Rapamycin extends life in mice via mechanisms that seem at least somewhat complementary to those of calorie restriction, but it isn't the sort of thing you'd want to take haphazardly given the other effects it has.
Its primary use in medical practice is as an immunosuppressant, for example.
CORRELATIONS BETWEEN STATUS AND LONGEVITY ARE DUE TO OTHER FACTORS Tuesday, March 12, 2013
We humans are complex creatures, and variations in our longevity in any given generation can be shown to correlate with all sorts of societal line items: status, wealth, intelligence, education, happiness, and so forth.
But what are the mechanisms that create these correlations?
BEING OVERWEIGHT HARMS THE HEART OVER THE LONG TERM Monday, March 11, 2013
Carrying excess fat tissue for years in youth and mid-life is associated with a greater risk of age-related disease and a shorter life expectancy down the line.
An increased level of chronic inflammation is one of the reasons why this is the case, but here is a closer look at another of the mechanisms involved:
A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO BIOLOGICAL REPLACEMENTS FOR TEETH Monday, March 11, 2013
Tissue engineering of teeth has so far focused on growing new teeth and then implanting them - but you don't necessarily have to produce an exact replacement if you can produce something that works:
"Research towards achieving the aim of producing bioengineered teeth - bioteeth - has largely focused on the generation of immature teeth (teeth primordia) that mimic those in the embryo that can be transplanted as small cell 'pellets' into the adult jaw to develop into functional teeth.