Life extension people are happy: keep living, please!

I found this picture of Aubrey de Grey with his book Ending Aging on his head at the BIL conference in Quinn Norton‘s Flickr Stream. Quinn Norton is a bodyhacker technophiliac journalist photographer. Robust, healthy lifespan extension can easily be interpreted as an extreme body-, life- and biohack so no wonder that more and more geeks are turning their attention to this little, unsolved hack. Maybe with time they will learn not just how to write the names properly but how to set up a private lab and isolate DNA and stem cells, at home. (blogging pictures = not enough time to write posts)

aubreyendinghead

Understanding Aging Conference in L.A.: de Grey, Conboy, Wagers and many others…

UABBA conference, 2008

Looks like the scientist coalition behind healthy life extension is widening. In line with that the question Why was life extension ruled out of the 14 Grand Engineering Challenges? is fading away.

Here is an Aubrey de Grey message from my mailbox:

All details, including forms for abstract submission and
online registration, are at the conference website:

http://www.mfoundation.org/UABBA/

The preliminary program already has over two dozen confirmed
speakers, all of them world leaders in their field. As for previous
conferences I have [co-]organised, the emphasis of this meeting is on
“applied biogerontology” — the design and implementation of
biomedical interventions that may, jointly, constitute a
comprehensive panel of rejuvenation therapies, sufficient to restore
middle-aged or older laboratory animals (and, in due course, humans)
to a youthful degree of physiological robustness. The list of
scientific sessions and confirmed speakers is as follows:

DNA damage, telomeres, cancer
Adam Arkin, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Jan Vijg, Buck
Institute for Age Research; Jerry Shay, U. Texas Southwestern;
Claudia Gravekamp, Pacific Medical Center Research Institute; Zheng
Cui, Wake Forest University School of Medicine; Rita Effros, UCLA

The cell niche
Irina Conboy, U. California Berkeley; Judith Campisi, Lawrence
Berkeley National Laboratory and Buck Institute; Leanne Jones, Salk
Institute; Ken Muneoka, Tulane University; Kevin Healy, Stanford
University
Continue reading

Biomarkers of aging conference in New York City

In order to slow the progress of aging and prevent age-related disease (which is not the same as figuring out a robust engineering plan for unlimited healthy life extension) biological measures (biomarkers) of aging or disease mechanisms are needed that anticipate clinical disease and are sensitive to functional organism aging.

The American Federation for Aging Research is the organizer of a one-day conference on October 2 in Manhattan focusing on current and future status of biomarkers as identifiers of rates of biological aging, predictors of longevity and predictors of susceptibility to disease.

biomarkersofagingconf

/Thanks for the tip, Jim Craig./

“Mitochondrial Oasis Effect”: fasting => NAD+ up in mitos => cell survival

Quick storytelling through citations (alert from Jim Hardy, thanks):

Cell: Nutrient-Sensitive Mitochondrial NAD+ Levels Dictate Cell Survival

A major cause of cell death caused by genotoxic stress is thought to be due to the depletion of NAD+ from the nucleus and the cytoplasm. Here we show that NAD+ levels in mitochondria remain at physiological levels following genotoxic stress and can maintain cell viability even when nuclear and cytoplasmic pools of NAD+ are depleted. Rodents fasted for 48 hr show increased levels of the NAD+ biosynthetic enzyme Nampt and a concomitant increase in mitochondrial NAD+. Increased Nampt provides protection against cell death and requires an intact mitochondrial NAD+ salvage pathway as well as the mitochondrial NAD+-dependent deacetylases SIRT3 and SIRT4. We discuss the relevance of these findings to understanding how nutrition modulates physiology and to the evolution of apoptosis.

Scientific American: Eat (Less) to Live (Longer)

Researchers report in the journal Cell that the phenom is likely linked to two enzymes—SIRT3 and SIRT4—in mitochondria (the cell’s powerhouse that, among other tasks, converts nutrients to energy). They found that a cascade of reactions triggered by lower caloric intake raises the levels of these enzymes, leading to an increase in the strength and efficiency of the cellular batteries. By invigorating the mitochondria, SIRT3 and SIRT4 extend the life of cells, by preventing flagging mitochondria from developing tiny holes (or pores) in their membranes that allow proteins that trigger apoptosis, or cell death, to seep out into the rest of the cell.

“We didn’t expect that the most important part of this pathway was in the mitochondria,” says David Sinclair, an assistant professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School and a study co-author. “We think that we’ve possibly found regulators of aging.”

And last, the interesting personal background of the principal investigator David A. Sinclair (see also: Resveratrol goes to the clinic: a Pulitzer for David Stipp!) from the recent Technology Review portrait, The Enthusiast:

Sinclair says his bravado and drive come from his grandmother Vera, who fled to Australia in the wake of the failed 1956 revolution in her native Hungary. Her son, David’s father, changed the family name from Szigeti. “My grandmother is the black-sheep rebel of the family,” he says. “She gave birth to my dad at age 15 in 1939 – imagine the scandal then – and has lived with natives in New Guinea and eaten human flesh,among other things. She once got in trouble with the police for being the first person to wear a bikini on a Sydney beach. She’s a 60s bohemian who helped raise me and taught me how to think differently and question dogma.”

SENS3: The stem cell marketplace by Linda Powers, Tucan Capital (slides)

Linda Powers is the managing director and co-founder of Toucan Capital Corp, a $120 million venture capital fund (SBIC) focused on seed and early-stage life science and advanced technology investments (the fund markets itself as the The Leading US Investor in Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine). Out of here insights and facts presented on the SENS3 conference (I caught some of her slides with my iPhone, see below) I’d like to highlight the following ones:
- the anti-aging market today is approx. 42 billion dollars,
- the number of issued and published U.S. stem cell patents has been decreased for the first time since 2000 compared to the earlier year,
- viable business models in regenerative medicine are still missing,
- first-to-trial and -market is not always advantageous in regmed.

Michael Rose, evolutionary SENS and aging as a loss of adaptation (slides)

Embedded on the slideshow below 9 slides of Michael Rose‘s presentation called Slowing and then stopping aging on the SENS3 conference on the 9th of September. (Photos made by me with the iPhone.) Rose’s argument was: Aubrey de Grey’s original SENS proposal is based on the non-evolutionary assumption that aging is a process of accumulating damage, while according to the evolutionary SENS version of Rose aging should be interpreted as a loss of adaption. The script is: breed mice with delayed reproduction over multiple generations (let evolution by natural selection give us the answer of how to build a long-lived animal), and then reverse engineer this answer to develop anti-aging therapies for genetically unaltered humans. The experimental basis of this proposal: Rose’s own ancient experiments with fruit flies (sorry, no reference yet, that’s what I’ve heard) showed that there is a plateau in mortality rates after many generations of breeded Drosophilas with delayed reproduction time which leads to the cessation of the aging process.

Does this method sound as one that gives us a complete engineering toolkit to achieve robust healthy life extension for early generations of humans under the reverse engineered treatment?

James Clement, Pimm’s former blogterviewee is WTA’s new Executive Director

james clementJames Clement, attorney and serial entrepreneur is the new Executive Director of the World Transhumanist Association (“WTA“). Press Release

Read our November, 2006 blogterview with James Clement on his life extension commitment:
Maximum Life’s James Clement: what can a lawyer do for life extension?

From the blogterview:

3. What is your favourite argument supporting human life extension?

James Clement: Not only will the suffering of disease and aging be alleviated, but human society will be transformed by continuous learning, and a deeper appreciation for the value of life (human and animal) and the environment in which we live.

6. What can blogs and other websites do for LE?

JC: The vast majority of the public still thinks that extreme life extension is science fiction. Blogs and websites can help educate them as to how close we really are to ending the suffering of disease and aging. Every day, 100,000 individuals die from aging related disease. If we are to put an end to this travesty as soon as possible, we need to motivate the public to make this a priority of our society.