The search for the fountain of youth is following many different paths, including the “seven-fold path” of SENS, suspended animation via cryonic vitrification, tweaking the immune system to boost human resilience, increasing the length of telomeres, regenerative medicine, stem cells, gene therapies, nanotechnologies, and many others. One interesting approach described below involves infusing young blood into old bodies:
The Vampire Cure
… researchers at Harvard, Stanford, and the Universities of California at Berkeley and San Francisco all find that young blood rejuvenates tissues and organs including muscles, liver, heart, and brain.Neurologist Tony Wyss-Coray heads up the Stanford Brain Rejuvenation Project and is the founder of Alkahest. In May, 2014, Wyss-Coray and his team reported in Nature Medicine that “exposure of an aged animal to young blood can counteract and reverse pre-existing effects of brain aging at the molecular, structural, functional and cognitive level.” Specifically, they found that factors in young blood restored function in the hippocampus, the area of the brain where memories are consolidated.
… What factors in young blood are responsible for its rejuvenating effects? As it happens, Harvard University researchers Amy Wagers and Lee Rubin in May 2014 reported in two studies in Science that the protein growth differentiation factor 11 (GDF 11) alone rejuvenated the vascular systems, muscles, and brains of old mice. They injected GDF 11 into the brains of geezer mice and found the protein improved blood flow and jumpstarted the growth of neurons.
… In September 2014, Science noted that University of California, San Francisco’s Peter Ganz and his colleagues have followed nearly 2,000 elderly heart patients for nine years. Their so far unpublished data indicates that lower levels of GDF11 in the blood predicted higher rates of heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure, and overall mortality. The Harvard researchers expect to have GDF 11 in initial human clinical trials in three to five years. __ Ronald Bailey
Imagine one bio-factor capable of rejuvenating brains, muscles, vasculature, liver, and heart — all from one infusion! Wait and see.
Billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel considers death to be a “terrible, terrible thing.” He aims to do something about it, if he can:
Thiel: I’ve always had this really strong sense that death was a terrible, terrible thing… I prefer to fight it. Almost every major disease is linked to aging. One in a thousand get cancer after age 30… One-third of people age 85 and older have Alzheimer’s or dementia, and we’re not even motivated to start a war on Alzheimer’s. At the end of the day, we need to do more.
… I believe if we could enable people to live forever, we should do that. I think this is absolute. There are many people who stop trying because they think they don’t have enough time. Because they are 85. But that 85-year-old could have gotten four PhDs from 65 to 85, but he didn’t do it because he didn’t think he had enough time. If it’s natural for your teeth to start falling out, then you shouldn’t get cavities replaced? In the 19th century, people made the argument that it was natural for childbirth to be painful for women and therefore you shouldn’t have pain medication. I think the nature argument tends to go very wrong. . . . I think it is against human nature not to fight death. _Fight Aging
Along with Peter Thiel, other billionaires are investing in longevity research, including the Google founders. As other once-young billionaires begin to feel the bite of age, expect more money to be thrown at the problem.
Meanwhile, in Latin America, clinics are being set up by a team of researchers to study and administer “tomorrow’s anti-aging genetic therapies, today.” In fact, they intend to begin administering a “GDF 11 analog” very soon — well before the FDA gets around to approving human clinical trials for GDF 11 in the US.
BioViva is a new company offering experimental medical services outside US borders. Their team includes
- a lab that provides genetically modified viruses with a gene payload, made to order. (This has now become a reliable and predictable technology.)
- A doctor who has experience with experimental gene therapy, and who had the courage to experiment on himself five years ago, with good outcome thus far.
- Sites in Colombia and Mexico where doctors will administer therapies for which there is not yet FDA approval.
- Most important, a Scientific Advisory Board that includes two of the most prominent, senior biochemists who developed the science of telomerase in the 1990s and before.
They are Bill Andrews and Michael Fossel.
What they offer is gene therapy with hTERT [telomerase precursor] and a proprietary myostatin inhibitor “in the same family with GDF-11,” according to CEO Elizabeth Parrish.
Parrish stresses that AAV gene therapy is a mature technology and has already passed FDA tests for safety. “AAV has become increasingly common as a vector for use in human clinical trials; as of , 38 protocols have been approved by the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).” [ref] The uncertainties are no longer about safety, but about whether the virus will be destroyed by the body’s immune system before their payload can be delivered. The rejuvenation benefit is likely to be systemic, and will have ripple consequences that we can only learn with human subjects. __ h+ __ via NextBigFuture
The “offshore approach” to anti-aging therapies is likely to gain momentum quickly, should even a few “success stories” emerge from these shotgun-therapy clinics. Peter Thiel is one of many persons on record as stating that the US FDA moves far too slowly when approaching potentially disruptive therapies such as anti-aging drugs and biologicals.
Craig Venter’s plans for Biotech — including growing human organs in pigs for transplants
Longevity research news from Fight Aging!
One hip thing they are already doing in the US is something called “Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation“…
Interesting. I would want to make some basic changes to the technique described, but the underlying idea is promising.
One special variant of ultraviolet blood irradiation is extracorporeal photopheresis. It is a mainstream therapy used for immune conditions. It combines plasmapheresis with phototherapy.