Do you wish there were ways of preventing age-related diseases, enabling you and your loved ones to live longer, healthier lives?
Each year since 2018, Lifespan.io has held a fascinating conference called Ending Age-Related Diseases (EARD). World-class scientists discuss recent advances in aging-related research. Before we cover the most interesting topics, let’s give thought to what is meant by age-related diseases.
The definition of disease is an abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of all or part of an organism, and that is not due to external injury.
In general, there are four main types of disease: infectious diseases, deficiency diseases, hereditary diseases and physiological diseases. Age-related diseases trigger physiological malfunction or failure because cellular structures have changed over time. These lead to the conditions and symptoms profiled in What Causes Aging?. The research at EARD seeks to reduce, delay and prevent both programmed and damage-related aging from happening to us.
World-Class Scientists Preventing Age-Related Diseases
Here are six of the most interesting speakers, targets and approaches for preventing age-related diseases from the 2022 conference:
George Church, Affordable Age-Related Disease Prevention Solutions
Some recent advances…
- For many years, scientists have attempted to engineer multi-virus resistant cell lines. In July, 2022, they published pre-print results showing a fundamental advance forward to success.
- Gene editing / cell therapy treatments can be delivered once per lifetime or per decade at very low cost ($2-25 per vaccine as an example), thus worldwide adoption is possible.
- eGenesis has enabled multi-plex gene editing for pig-grown organs to be resistant to pathogens, cancer, senescence, DNA-damage, cryopreservation and transplantation immunity issues.
- Rejuvenate Bio has created combination gene therapies to treat multiple age-related diseases including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiac damage, kidney disease, mitral valve disease and neurodegeneration.
- George’s list of pathways for aging reversal include:
- Removal of senescent and genomic-damaged cells
- Restoration of mitochondrial function. [See companies like Mitrix, providing transfusions of healthy mitochondria which your cells uptake to replace less effective ones.]
- Restriction of calories [See Intermittent Fasting article from Keep Health.]
- Rejuvenation of blood and reactivation of healthy protein regulation [See Conboy Laboratory / IMYu research below.]
- Reduction of inflammation [See Intervene Immune research below.]
- Addition of stem cells
- Replenishment of telomeres [See Bioviva Science research to extend mouse lifespan by 30-40% through intranasal or gene therapy injections. Specifically, this treatment significantly improved glucose tolerance and physical performance, as well as preventing body mass loss and alopecia. Further, telomere shortening associated with aging was ameliorated by TERT and mitochondrial structure deterioration was halted in both treatments.]
- Epigenetic drugs
- Prevention of cancers [See MAIA Biotechnology research.]
Greg Fahy, Intervene Immune
- The aging immune system gradually loses its ability to prevent diseases.
- 90% of the functional thymus is lost by age 50, impairing the development of T-cells which provide adaptive immunity.
- It is possible to reduce the aging of immune system cells by reversing the loss of thymus cells and by eliminating senescent cells.
- There was some success in a 9 person TRIIM trial using personalized doses of recombinant human growth hormone (somatropin), DHEA and Metformin. Another emerging approach is to train the immune system to remove senescent cells.
- Results from the subsequent 18-month TRIIM-X trial in 26 volunteers (20 men, 6 women) ages 55-80 are expected in early 2023.
- Early results indicate primary side-effects of caprel tunnel-like syndrome and arthralgias such as finger stiffness and pain in 25% of subjects.
- 1/8th of subjects had difficulty with taking metformin.
- 1/3 of male subjects experienced PSA spikes.
- However, most volunteers are subjectively very happy with their results so far, feeling younger, stronger and more energetic.
- Other companies seeking to rejuvenate the thymus and enhance the aging immune system include:
- Alchemab — Antibody therapeutics. Replaced CEO in May, 2022.
- HCW Biologics — Immunotherapy for age-related cancer pathologies. Provide improved immune cell activation and TGF-Beta family neutralization.
- Immunis — leading-edge capabilities in stem cell technology to deliver all natural, all human immune modulators in their natural, relative physiological concentrations.
- LyGenesis — regrowing the thymus in lymph tissue, although as of 2022, mostly focusing on liver regrowth in a Phase 2A trial.
Ashley Zehnder, Fauna Bio
Fauna Bio conducts deep neural network studies of animal protective gene expression networks with human disease networks to pinpoint causal genes. In particular, their research on hibernating animals discovered that these species regenerate their stem cells, telomeres and even thymus glands. During hibernation, these animals revert to a neo-natal cardiac state to enable repair. Interesting discoveries and initiatives from Fauna include:
- Centaur, a visualized comprehensive map of animal gene expression intersected with humans.
- Grizzly bears have compounds which protect against muscle atrophy while they hibernate.
- Faun1003 and other compounds for repairing damage from lung injury, IPF and pulmonary hypertension.
- A new program in inflammatory bowel disease, seeking targets to improve epithelial barrier function and reduce immune cell migration.
Hanadie Yousef and Thach Mai, Juvena Therapeutics
- Muscle tissue and skeletal aging, neurodegeneration, injury, atrophy and sarcopenia are debilitating life conditions.
- Juvena has created a drug discovery platform to analyze which human embryonic STEM cell secreted proteins should be provided for safely rejuvenating patients. Their pipeline of preclinical candidates have been designed to activate STEM cell pathways and muscle formation for myotonic dystrophy type 1 and Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients.
- The right secreted proteins are identified using unbiased machine-learning to rank-order and select candidates based on mechanisms of action and pathways tied to aging.
- Robotic filtering selects the right mix of cells for injection from their therapeutic protein library.
- Daily injections are delivered for 2 weeks. They are working on bi-weekly and monthly formulations, seeking to determine the duration of efficacy.
Irina and Michael Conboy, Conboy Laboratory for Engineering Longevity at UC-Berkeley, IMYu
- Age associated reduction in quality of life is strongly influenced by dysregulation of cell signals present in the blood.
- Proper regulation of blood cell signaling factors can restore youthful cognition, muscle repair, liver function and other measures of health.
- Regular cleansing of blood plasma is important. Further details on the Conboy Laboratory work can be found in our article on Rejuvenation and Regeneration, updated from the 2022 EARD talks.
- Of note, July ’22 published research showed systemic induction of senescence in young mice after a single blood exchange from old mice. If you require a blood transfusion, don’t get it from old blood donors!
Matthew “Oki” O’Connell, Cyclarity Therapeutics
- Preclinical company targeting drugs to alleviate atherosclerosis, a chronic inflammatory disease of the arteries and the underlying cause of about 50% of all deaths in westernized society.
- Engineering new cyclodextrins to capture and remove 7-Ketocholesterol (7-KC) also known as oxidized cholesterol.
- 7-KC is the most toxic molecule in the human body. No known biological function. Highly predictive of heart failure.
- Disrupts membrane function, both outer and inner.
- Forms when cholesterol bumps into oxygen free radicals becoming 7-KC.
- Unable to be expelled by cells and tissues. Macrophages eat it but then become foam cells contributing to arterial blocking.
- Once 7-KC is removed, macrophages can then heal arterial lesions.
- In September, 2021, received $10MM in seed funding including from lead investor Kizoo which is part of the Forever Healthy initiative.
- Hosted within the Buck Institute, they seek to raise $30MM Series A and launch a 36 subject Phase 1 trial in the UK in Q3, 2023 with completion in Q1, 2024.
- Competition includes preclinical company Repair Bio and their proof-of-concept Cholesterol Degrading Platform (CDP) to break down excess cholesterol using a macrophage cell therapy. CDP reduced atherosclerotic plaque lipids by 48% in vivo in mouse models. They plan to launch a clinical trial for Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia.
Conclusion of Preventing Age-Related Diseases
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