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Category Archives: David Sinclair
Immetas Therapeutics Announces Series A Financing to Advance Research on Inflammation Pathways in Aging and Develop Therapeutics for Cancer and…
EAST HANOVER, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Immetas Therapeutics today announced it has raised a Series A financing of $11 million to advance research on inflammation pathways in aging and the development of novel, immune modulating treatments for cancer and inflammatory disease. Morningside Ventures was the sole investor in the financing round.
Morningsides investment is a significant endorsement of our approach to targeting inflammation pathways in aging and our clinical evidence-based discovery strategy, said J. Gene Wang, MD, PhD, co-founder and CEO. Emerging research that molecular pathways driving both aging and age-related diseases converge around chronic, low grade inflammation is creating a new set of opportunities to treat cancer and other serious diseases. Immetas is well positioned to capitalize on these new advances.
Dr. Wang added, Our approach prioritizes clinical evidence and a deep interrogation of disease mechanisms to guide drug discovery. This strategy is designed to reduce development risk resulting from the translational gap between laboratory findings and patients and ensure the development of superior and well-differentiated drugs.
Dr. Wang co-founded Immetas after a 20-year career at large pharmaceutical companies, including Merck, Abbott, GSK and Novartis, where he played integral roles in the successful development of major drugs, including Humira (adalimumab), Varubi (rolapitant), Zolinza (vorinostat) and Gardasil (human papilloma virus vaccine), and led multiple programs from discovery to clinical proof-of-concept. Dr. Wang received his M.D. from Peking University Medical Center and Ph.D. in Immunobiology from Yale University, followed by medical residency training at Yale New Haven Hospital.
Immetas other co-founder, Dr. David Sinclair, is an internationally recognized scientist known for his research on genes and small molecules that delay aging, including Sirtuin genes, resveratrol and NAD precursors. He was among TIME magazines 50 Most Influential People in Healthcare in 2018. Dr. Sinclair is Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and co-Director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for Biology of Aging Research at Harvard and he serves as a science advisor to the Company.
We have a shared vision that inflammation is the fundamental and ultimate process driving aging and age-related cancers and inflammatory diseases, said Dr. Sinclair. Our approach is distinct from others that have targeted conventional age-related pathways and to date have proved challenging.
The Company is building a pipeline of biologic and small molecule drugs internally and through collaborations. Immetas lead program is aimed at designing a series of bi-specific antibodies to regulate inflammation in the tumor microenvironment and overcome resistance to conventional immune checkpoint therapies.
In connection with the financing, Dr. Lu Huang, MD, MBA, Managing Director at Morningside Ventures, joined the Immetas board of directors. Since joining Morningside in 2003, Dr. Huang has led nearly three dozen healthcare / life science investments in China and the United States.
About Immetas TherapeuticsImmetas discovers and develops novel therapeutics that modulate the innate immune system to treat age-related cancers and inflammatory diseases. The companys approach is based on emerging evidence that chronic low-grade inflammation is a fundamental process governing aging and age-related diseases and anchored in clinical evidence to mitigate development risk. Immetas was founded by J. Gene Wang, MD, PhD, a veteran in discovery and translational drug development in immunology/ inflammation and oncology, and David Sinclair, PhD, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and a leader in the molecular mechanisms of aging. The lead program in the companys growing pipeline is focused on engineering bispecific antibodies to modulate inflammation in the tumor microenvironment and overcome resistance to the conventional immune checkpoint therapies. Learn more at http://www.immetas.com
We all suffer when COVID-19 locks the elderly out of societal participation – The Investment Observer
Keep people healthy to keep countries wealthy laments David Sinclair, Director of the International Longevity Centre UK. According to the think-tank leader, we are chronically guilty of under-appreciating our elderly peers, and their importance to both society and the economy.
Aside from the our sentimental attachments and the expertise our betters might offer, Mr Sinclair states that 54p in every pound is spent by people aged 50 and over, with this group offering a potential GDP boost of 2% per year by 2040. Across the G20, he says, the picture is much the same.
Thats why he thinks its crucial that G20 Health and Finance Ministers meet on Thursday. He says that COVID-19 has shown us just how true the health equals wealth adage is, with countries across the world being plunged into one of the hardest-hitting global recessions in memory.
The key to recovery, Mr Sinclair claims, is an appreciation not only of how important a role elderly citizens play in the modern world, but in turn an effort to better engageolder workers, older consumers, older volunteers and older carers, who contribute immensely to the global economy.
Instead, Mr Sinclair states that:
 during COVID-19, older people have been disproportionately locked out of working, spending, caring and volunteering. And we know that health is a key barrier to maximising the potential of an ageing society.
Our research has shown that across better off countries, in 2017 alone, 27.1 million years were lived with largely preventable age-related diseases, leading to more than $600 billion worth of lost productivity every year. In the UK alone, about a million people aged 50-64 are forced out of work as a result of health and care needs or caring responsibilities.
If we are to deliver a potential longevity dividend, in the post-pandemic recovery and beyond, we need to ensure we are supporting people to not just live longer, but also healthier lives and promoting preventative health interventions right across the life course.
This, Sinclair argues, means that we need to gear both our post-pandemic recovery and our future, ageing society, towards keeping people healthier for longer. He says the costs of failing to adapt to both the needs of our increasing, elderly populace, and ignoring their potential as productive and active participants in society and the economy, are simply too high to ignore.
So where does this leave us? Well, avoiding the divisive and played out old versus young blame game, any post-pandemic new normal needs to find a way of protecting our elderly peers, while still engaging them in social and economic interactions. Some suggest that over time youngsters might return to some semblance of life before COVID, while the vulnerable remain shielded.
What we must avoid, however, is shielded becoming synonymous with excluded. For those that cannot expose themselves to the general public, part of the solution might involve bringing the world to the elderly, via technology. With greater tech education and utilisation, our elderly peers will not only be able to socialise, but participate in non-physical work.
Though, while tech might enable our ageing population to have a more active role in future society, it should not be viewed as the panacea to our current predicament. Like it or not, keeping our elderly healthy and safe requires all of us being prudent and careful. This ought to take place as part of a wider mindset shift, from seeing our wiser peers not just as burdens, but as potentially invaluable assets that we have to look after.
Birdie, by Moore County Schools, for choosing transparency when it comes to how its handling the coronavirus in its schools.
Going back into schools for the first time since Gov. Roy Cooper closed them in March, it was a given that COVID-19 positive cases would turn up among students, teachers and staff at some point.
Rather than leave it to parents spreading stories on social media about cases at their respective schools, the district last week began publishing with daily updates a school-by-school spreadsheet of positive coronavirus cases. The spreadsheet is published on the school systems website, ncmcs.org, for all to see and compare.
Moore County is in the minority of school districts that have chosen to have some form of in-person attendance, so naturally everyone has been nervous about how that would go with the virus. So far, the system seems to be holding its integrity, and being open and transparent with the public about cases is a strong component of building faith.
Birdie, by the Moore County Health Department, for hosting a second Facebook Live discussion and question-and-answer session.
Between department Director Robert Wittmann and health educator Miriam King, the 40-minute session accomplished something that had been sorely lacking in the departments response: face-to-face communication.
The personal touch is important during this pandemic. Gov. Roy Cooper and health officials in several other counties have adopted that approach with regular in-person briefings, even when theres not a whole lot to share. Its a way for leaders to show themselves, speak for their actions, demonstrate to the public that they have a handle on matters.
This birdie could quickly become an eagle if the Health Department builds from here and increases the number of presentations and adds more opportunities for Wittmann and staff to address the public.
Birdie, by Karen Pence, Vice President Mike Pences wife, for her finger point last week at the Republican National Convention of Southern Pines own R. Riveter. Pence visited the company two years ago to highlight its mission to bring meaningful work to military spouses.
While traveling throughout our nation to educate military spouses about policy solutions President Trump has promoted, involving real, tangible progress in military spouse employment, I have been inspired to meet heroes like Lisa Bradley and Cameron Cruse, she said.
These military spouses decided to start their own business, R. Riveter, named after the Rosie the Riveter campaign used to recruit women workers during World War II. R. Riveter makes beautiful handbags designed and manufactured exclusively by military spouses. Many of those spouses live all over the country. They prepare and send their section of the bags to the company located in North Carolina, where the final product is assembled.
When you can be remembered two years later by someone like the Second Lady, you know youre doing something special.
Birdie, by Vito Gironda and all his extended family, for 40 years of serving this community. Vito and his brothers opened Vitos pizza on South East Broad Street in 1980 as their attempt at achieving the American dream. Theyve grown that business over the years to the point where they are virtually synonymous with Italian food in Southern Pines.
The restaurant business can be a fleeting one, so its rare when you find one still in business after 40 years. Thats a testament to the Girondas faith in the community and the flavorful food, not to mention Vitos massive annual summer garden.
Birdie, by David Sinclair, The Pilots recently departed managing editor. Sinclair spent the past 20 years at The Pilot, but his career covering Moore County for various news organizations stretches to 38 years. Yes, he started in high school.
The Moore County Board of Commissioners, who Sinclair covered for years, recently passed a resolution honoring him. You are better known in this community than we are, teased Board Chairman Frank Quis.
Sinclair approached every assignment with good humor, grace and integrity, and his Pinehurst sunset pictures are local legend.
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Editorial: Five Birdies That Signal Good Work | Opinion | thepilot.com - Southern Pines Pilot
by John Jefferson
Its hunting and fishing license renewal time. All current licenses expire on August 31. Next Monday at Midnight, youll need new ones unless you have a fishing license thats good for a year from the date you bought it.
That license can cause trouble; folks forget to renew at the odd time until a warden asks to see it. TPWD tried that for everybody in the 70s but it caused many to hunt and fish without a valid license out of forgetfulness. Its easier to stay legal when licenses expire on August 31.
Let the hot, dry, dog- days of August remind you. Or maybe count on the gully washer rainstorm alert you that often strikes just before dove season opens and scatters all the doves. But, if its an unusual year with no late August rain, I doubt if game wardens are going to accept that excuse. Even now, many are still ticketed for No License. More on that further down.
Licenses are a bargain. Hunting licenses start at $25, allowing you to hunt deer in season and small game, but not migratory birds. Like doves. For those, youll also need a state-issued Migratory bird endorsement on your license. Its $7 and available where licenses are sold. Other state endorsements you might need are Archery, Upland Game Bird, and Reptile and Amphibian (all are $7). If youre going to hunt ducks, youll need a $25 Federal migratory endorsement (duck stamp).
Fishing licenses are different. There are Freshwater Packages ($30), Saltwater Packages ($35), and All-Water Packages ($40). Each contains the appropriate endorsement(s).
Combination licenses (Combo $60) and Super Combo licenses ($68) allow both hunting and fishing. The Super Combo is the best bargain since it contains ALL endorsements and saves having to run back to buy an endorsement you suddenly discover you need.
Licensesare available through the TPWD website, by phone, or in person at more than 1,700 Texas retailers. Theyre also available from TPWD Law Enforcement offices, but only by appointment.
But people still forget. The excuses for not having a current license are varied and sometimes humorous. Former Law Enforcement Director Grahame Jones told of a man who said he thought he had a Lifetime License. Starting at $1,000, I think you would remember. Jones said some blamed their wives for not renewing it. Retired warden Jim Lindeman said quite a few claimed they brought the wrong wallet, after taking out every card in their billfold.
Major Alphonso Vielma spoke of a man who said he had always bought one and had never been checked, so he didnt buy one that year. Retired Colonel David Sinclair reported one hunter claimed he thought it was legal to use his sons deer tags since he was the sons legal guardian.
But my favorite was the other extreme. Retired Colonel Dexter Harris checked a fisherman who told him he had waited for him a long time. The man then produced a box containing licenses for the previous 20 years!
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Woods, Waters, and Wildlife: Buy Licenses Now! | FCT News - Freestonecountytimesonline
Los Angeles Jennifer Aniston keeps a shoe box and a pair of gloves handy because well, it just happened again. A bird has flown into one of the glass windows of her midcentury Bel-Air home, and Aniston is grabbing the makeshift rescue kit and heading outside. Oh, honey. Hi, little guy. Shes struggling and she cant get up. Theres a pause. Im so sorry. Can you hold on a moment? Aniston mutes our call, returning in five minutes. We did it, Glenn. We saved him. He might need a wing check, but I think hes going to be OK.
Jennifer Aniston in "The Morning Show."(Photo: Apple TV)
That Aniston has what she calls a Dr. Dolittle plan for the wayward birds in her life surprises exactly no one who knows her. Just before the moment of bird distress, Aniston was peppering me with questions about exercise, hydration and mental and physical well-being. I love that shes interviewing you about your health regime, Kristin Hahn, Anistons longtime friend and producing partner, says a couple of days later. That sounds about right. If you give this woman a problem to solve, she will spend whatever time it takes to come up with a plan and tell you how to deal with it. And I mean, any kind of problem. We call her Dr. Aniston.
Aniston solved the primary problem of her own career how to find a role that would challenge her in ways she could never expect and make the public not exactly forget that she played Rachel on Friends, because that beloved sitcom isnt going anywhere in our lifetime, but at least showcase her talent in a way that might surprise people. Anistons turn as network morning anchor Alex Levy on The Morning Show, the flagship series in the Apple TV+ streaming lineup, did just that, earning Aniston the best reviews of her career, an Emmy nomination and a SAG Award in January.
That show was 20 years of therapy wrapped into 10 episodes, says Aniston, 51. There were times when I would read a scene and feel like a whole manhole cover was taken off my back.
Steve Carell and Jennifer Aniston in "The Morning Show."(Photo: Apple TV)
You might guess that Aniston could relate to playing a famous woman whose every move is scrutinized and judged, who grapples daily with people projecting their ideas of what her life should be (Brad & Jen-aissance) versus the authentic journey shes trying to forge, whose sell-by date expired years ago (at least, according to Billy Crudups dismissive network exec) and who, in one of The Morning Shows most memorable scenes, tells her bosses that shes really, really tired of being underestimated.
Uh-huh, she says, employing the comic timing she honed during a decade on Friends and innumerable movie rom-coms. I see where youre going.
And she gladly goes there with me. The Morning Show, which she helped build from the ground up as a producer, felt like a two-year cleanse that forced Aniston to examine how shes handled fame over the last three decades and decide that she could improve it.
Cathartic, yes, and also interesting for me to look at how I always have tried to normalize being fine and everythings great, you know, this is all normal, and then there are moments when you have your private breakdown or your Calgon, take me away moments, Aniston says. To actually look at it from an actor brain observing it and acknowledging it, I had to look at it as opposed to pretending it doesnt exist.
Aniston then dives into the scene in The Morning Shows second episode where Alex melts down in a limo on the way to an industry awards event being held in her honor. Ostensibly, the anger stems from the impracticality of the tiny purses women carry down the red carpet. But its really about her anxiety over having to put on a happy face during a time when shed rather be hiding under the covers. Aniston is utterly convincing in the moment, raw, empathetic and, of course, funny, when she turns on a dime at the onset of tears and sobs, Oh, Jesus, I cant cry! because it would ruin the makeup her stylist had spent hours applying.
There have been moments not to that level of hysteria but moments of I dont want to f ing go here, I dont want to walk out onto the carpet, I dont want to be seen, I dont want to be looked at and everyones going to be talking about me and judging me thats real, Aniston says. I just loved being able to walk into it and lean into it and not be ashamed of it, but actually just it was like she lets out a sound of sublime satisfaction. Ooooooooooh.
There were times during the series first season when Morning Show showrunner Kerry Ehrin would check in and ask Aniston: Are we pushing it? Are we taking it too far? And Aniston would answer that it was never too far. Keep it coming.
I do think I glean emotional structure from people, Ehrin says, and after spending time with her, I felt certain instincts about writing the character. And its hard to say whether that comes from a conversation or something I saw 20 years ago that she did.
Says Hahn: I was so moved to tears so many times, just watching behind the monitor and brought to tears at the level of bravery of being that truthful. I know her well enough to know when shes being concerned about what other people think, and she just let everything go. She exorcised a lot of conflict through this character.
The Morning Show had begun filming its second season earlier this year before COVID-19 shut down production in March. Aniston says the break proved fortuitous, because it allowed them to incorporate the pandemic into the story and reflect the unease everyone felt when they were shooting the seasons first two episodes. Pre-COVID and post-COVID are different universes, Ehrin says, and theres no way a topical program like The Morning Show could ignore that. What will that look like? Youre just taking the best guess of what you think will be an effective place to go with the storytelling and let the characters guide you, Ehrin says.
Anistons post-COVID-19 life looks like this right now: She has a bubble of four families that rotate among their homes and never go outside the pod. The kids have grown up together and know one another, so they have a good time, and its all lovely, Aniston says. Shes reading, watching a ton of TV, veering between things like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and the James Baldwin-centered examination of American racism, I Am Not Your Negro. And Lenox Hill, the Netflix medical docuseries, because Aniston was addicted to Trauma: Life in the E.R. back in the day and loves watching the stories of doctors and health care workers, particularly at this moment in time.
Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell in "The Morning Show," streaming on Apple TV+.(Photo: Apple TV+, TNS)
Last summer and into the early fall, Aniston hosted a series of salons, Jen Talks, she calls them, inviting a few dozen friends to her home to listen to people like Jessica Yellin discuss politics or Jay Shetty distill what he learned as a monk or David Sinclair offer advice on longevity. Because Aniston has her eye on the long game. And she plans on winning.
I look at my dad, who just turned 87, and he is Greek stubborn, fabulous, all those things from that generation but, you know, I think they could be a little healthier. Hes going to be so mad at me. Aniston pauses, laughing. But shes not stopping. You know, my mom, cmon, none of you guys took care of yourselves. But they didnt know any better. And now we know. So whats our excuse? Its about just knowing what you put inside your body, exercising my father, never, ever they didnt know you could keep your bones strong, never mind being fit and fitting into a size-whatever.
Im going to be in my 80s or 90s or maybe now even my 100s at this rate, Aniston continues, and I dont want to be wheeling around. I would like to be vibrant and thriving.
And we talk more about bone density and cellular regeneration and how 90 might soon be the new 70 and about a new level of consciousness thats getting birthed right now and planetary alignment and how these troubling times are temporary and this too shall pass and then our time together is done. But not before Dr. Aniston leaves me with one last prescription: Rich Roll podcast. David Sinclair. Longevity. Its 21/2 hours long. And I have a bad feeling Im going to be giving up pasta after I finish listening to it.
Renowned Harvard University geneticist David Sinclair recently made a startling assertion: Scientific data shows he has knocked more than two decades off his biological age.
Whats the 49-year-olds secret? He says his daily regimen includes ingesting a molecule his own research found improved the health and lengthened the life span of mice. Sinclair now boasts online that he has the lung capacity, cholesterol and blood pressure of a young adult and the heart rate of an athlete.
Despite his enthusiasm, published scientific research has not yet demonstrated the molecule works in humans as it does in mice. Sinclair, however, has a considerable financial stake in his claims being proven correct, and has lent his scientific prowess to commercializing possible life extension products such molecules known as NAD boosters.
His financial interests include being listed as an inventor on a patent licensed to Elysium Health, a supplement company that sells a NAD booster in pills for $60 a bottle. Hes also an investor in InsideTracker, the company that he says measured his age.
Discerning hype from reality in the longevity field has become tougher than ever as reputable scientists such as Sinclair and pre-eminent institutions like Harvard align themselves with promising but unproven interventions and at times promote and profit from them.
Fueling the excitement, investors pour billions of dollars into the field even as many of the products already on the market face fewer regulations and therefore a lower threshold of proof.
If you say youre a terrific scientist and you have a treatment for aging, it gets a lot of attention, said Jeffrey Flier, a former Harvard Medical School dean who has been critical of the hype. There is financial incentive and inducement to overpromise before all the research is in.
MELANIE MAXWELL FOR KHNMice frolic in Richard Millers pathology and geriatrics lab at the University of Michigan. Miller heads one of the three labs funded by NIH to test anti-aging substances on mice.
Elysium, co-founded in 2014 by a prominent MIT scientist to commercialize the molecule nicotinamide riboside, a type of NAD booster, highlights its exclusive licensing agreement with Harvard and the Mayo Clinic and Sinclairs role as an inventor. According to the companys press release, the agreement is aimed at supplements that slow aging and age-related diseases.
Further adding scientific gravitas to its brand, the website lists eight Nobel laureates and 19 other prominent scientists who sit on its scientific advisory board. The company also advertises research partnerships with Harvard and U.K. universities Cambridge and Oxford.
Some scientists and institutions have grown uneasy with such ties. Cambridges Milner Therapeutics Institute announced in 2017 it would receive funding from Elysium, cementing a research partnership. But after hearing complaints from faculty that the institute was associating itself with an unproven supplement, it quietly decided not to renew the funding or the companys membership to its innovation board.
The sale of nutritional supplements of unproven clinical benefit is commonplace, said Stephen ORahilly, the director of Cambridges Metabolic Research Laboratories who applauded his university for reassessing the arrangement. What is unusual in this case is the extent to which institutions and individuals from the highest levels of the academy have been co-opted to provide scientific credibility for a product whose benefits to human health are unproven.
A generation ago, scientists often ignored or debunked claims of a fountain of youth pill.
Until about the early 1990s, it was kind of laughable that you could develop a pill that would slow aging, said Richard Miller, a biogerontologist at the University of Michigan who heads one of three labs funded by the National Institutes of Health to test such promising substances on mice. It was sort of a science fiction trope. Recent research has shown that pessimism is wrong.
Mice given molecules such as rapamycin live as much as 20 percent longer. Other substances such as 17 alpha estradiol and the diabetes drug Acarbose have been shown to be just as effective in mouse studies. Not only do mice live longer, but, depending on the substance, they avoid cancers, heart ailments and cognitive problems.
(MELANIE MAXWELL FOR KHN)Until about the early 1990s, it was kind of laughable that you could develop a pill that would slow aging, says University of Michigan biogerontologist Richard Miller. It was sort of a science fiction trope. Recent research has shown that pessimism is wrong.
But human metabolism is different from that of rodents. And our existence is unlike a mouses life in a cage. What is theoretically possible in the future remains unproven in humans and not ready for sale, experts say.
History is replete with examples of cures that worked on mice but not in people. Multiple drugs, for instance, have been effective at targeting an Alzheimers-like disease in mice yet have failed in humans.
None of this is ready for prime time. The bottom line is I dont try any of these things, said Felipe Sierra, the director of the division of aging biology at the National Institute on Aging at NIH. Why dont I? Because Im not a mouse.
Concerns about whether animal research could translate into human therapy have not stopped scientists from racing into the market, launching startups or lining up investors. Some true believers, including researchers and investors, are taking the substances themselves while promoting them as the next big thing in aging.
While the buzz encourages investment in worthwhile research, scientists should avoid hyping specific [substances], said S. Jay Olshansky, a professor who specializes in aging at the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Yet some scientific findings are exaggerated to help commercialize them before clinical trials in humans demonstrate both safety and efficacy, he said.
Its a great gig if you can convince people to send money and use it to pay exorbitant salaries and do it for 20 years and make claims for 10, Olshansky said. Youve lived the high life and get investors by whipping up excitement and saying the benefits will come sooner than they really are.
Promising findings in animal studies have stirred much of this enthusiasm.
Research by Sinclair and others helped spark interest in resveratrol, an ingredient in red wine, for its potential anti-aging properties. In 2004, Sinclair co-founded a company, Sirtris, to test resveratrols potential benefits and declared in an interview with the journal Science it was as close to a miraculous molecule as you can find. GlaxoSmithKline bought the company in 2008 for $720 million. By the time Glaxo halted the research in 2010 because of underwhelming results with possible side effects, Sinclair had already received $8 million from the sale, according to Securities and Exchange Commission documents. He also had earned $297,000 a year in consulting fees from the company, according to The Wall Street Journal.
At the height of the buzz, Sinclair accepted a paid position with Shaklee, which sold a product made out of resveratrol. But he resigned after The Wall Street Journal highlighted positive comments he made about the product that the company had posted online. He said he never gave Shaklee permission to use his statements for marketing.
Sinclair practices what he preaches or promotes. On his LinkedIn bio and in media interviews, he describes how he now regularly takes resveratrol; the diabetes drug metformin, which holds promise in slowing aging; and nicotinamide mononucleotide, a substance known as NMN that his own research showed rejuvenated mice.
Of that study, he said in a video produced by Harvard that it sets the stage for new medicines that will be able to restore blood flow in organs that have lost it, either through a heart attack, a stroke or even in patients with dementia.
In an interview with KHN, Sinclair said hes not recommending that others take those substances.
Im not claiming Im actually younger. Im just giving people the facts, he said, adding that hes sharing the test results from InsideTrackers blood tests, which calculate biological age based on biomarkers in the blood. They said I was 58, and then one or two blood tests later they said I was 31.4.
InsideTracker sells an online age-tracking package to consumers for up to about $600. The companys website highlights Sinclairs support for the company as a member of its scientific advisory board. It also touts a study that describes the benefits of such tracking, which Sinclair co-authored.
Sinclair is involved either as a founder, an investor, an equity holder, a consultant or a board member with 28 companies, according to a list of his financial interests. At least 18 are involved in anti-aging in some way, including studying or commercializing NAD boosters. The interests range from longevity research startups aimed at humans and even pets to developing a product for a French skin care company to advising a longevity investment fund. Hes also an inventor named in the patent licensed by Harvard and the Mayo Clinic to Elysium, and one of his companies, MetroBiotech, has filed a patent related to nicotinamide mononucleotide, which he says he takes himself.
Sinclair and Harvard declined to release details on how much money he or the university is generating from these disclosed outside financial interests. Sinclair estimated in a 2017 interview with Australias Financial Review that he raises $3 million a year to fund his Harvard lab.
Liberty Biosecurity, a company he co-founded, estimated in Sinclairs online bio that he has been involved in ventures that have attracted more than a billion dollars in investment. When KHN asked him to detail the characterization, he said it was inaccurate, without elaborating, and the comments later disappeared from the website.
Sinclair cited confidentiality agreements for not disclosing his earnings, but he added that most of this income has been reinvested into companies developing breakthrough medicines, used to help my lab, or donated to nonprofits. He said he did not know how much he stood to make off the Elysium patent, saying Harvard negotiated the agreement.
Harvard declined to release Sinclairs conflict-of-interest statements, which university policy requires faculty at the medical school to file in order to protect against any faculty bias that could heighten the risk of harm to human research participants or recipients of products resulting from such research.
We can only be proud of our collaborations if we can represent confidently that such relationships enhance, and do not detract from, the appropriateness and reliability of our work, the policy states.
Elysium advertises both Harvards and Sinclairs ties to its company. It was co-founded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Leonard Guarente, Sinclairs former research adviser and an investor in Sinclairs Sirtris.
Echoing his earlier statements on resveratrol, Sinclair is quoted on Elysiums website as describing NAD boosters as one of the most important molecules for life.
The Food and Drug Administration doesnt categorize aging as a disease, which means potential medicines aimed at longevity generally cant undergo traditional clinical trials aimed at testing their effects on human aging. In addition, the FDA does not require supplements to undergo the same safety or efficacy testing as pharmaceuticals.
The banner headline on Elysiums website said that clinical trial results prove safety and efficacy of its supplement, Basis, which contains the molecule nicotinamide riboside and pterostilbene. But the companys research did not demonstrate the supplement was effective at anti-aging in humans, as it may be in mice. It simply showed the pill increased the levels of the substance in blood cells.
Elysium is selling pills to people online with the assertion that the pills are clinically proven said ORahilly. Thus far, however the benefits and risks of this change in chemistry in humans is unknown.
Many interventions that seem sensible on the basis of research in animals turn out to have unexpected effects in man, he added, citing a large clinical trial of beta carotene that showed it increased rather than decreased the risk of lung cancer in smokers.
Elysiums own research documented a small but significant increase in cholesterol, but added more studies were needed to determine whether the changes were real or due to chance. One independent study has suggested that a component of NAD may influence the growth of some cancers, but researchers involved in the study warned it was too early to know.
Guarente, Elysiums co-founder and chief scientist, told KHN he isnt worried about any side effects from Basis, and he emphasized that his company is dedicated to conducting solid research. He said his company monitors customers safety reports and advises customers with health issues to consult with their doctors before using it.
If a substance meets the FDAs definition of a supplement and is advertised that way, then the agency cant take action unless it proves a danger, said Alta Charo, a former bioethics policy adviser to the Obama administration. Pharmaceuticals must demonstrate safety and efficacy before being marketed.
A lot of what goes on here is really, really careful phrasing for what you say the thing is for, said Charo, a law professor at the University of Wisconsin. If theyre marketing it as a cure for a disease, then they get in trouble with the FDA. If theyre marketing it as a rejuvenator, then the FDA is hamstrung until a danger to the public is proven.
This is a recipe for some really unfortunate problems down the road, Charo added. We may be lucky and it may turn out that a lot of this stuff turns out to be benignly useless. But for all we know, itll be dangerous.
The debate about the risks and benefits of substances that have yet to be proven to work in humans has triggered a debate over whether research institutions are scrutinizing the financial interests and involvement of their faculty or the institution itself closely enough. It remains to be seen whether Cambridges decision not to renew its partnership will prompt others to rethink such ties.
Flier, the former dean of Harvard Medical School, had earlier heard complaints and looked into the relationships between scientists and Elysium after he stepped down as dean. He said he discovered that many of the board members who allowed their names and pictures to be posted on the company website knew little about the scientific basis for use of the companys supplement.
Flier recalls that one scientist had no real role in advising the company and never attended a company meeting. Even so, Elysium was paying him for his role on the board, Flier said.
Caroline Perry, director of communications for Harvards Office of Technology Development, said agreements such as Harvards acceptance of research funds from Elysium comply with university policies and protect the traditional academic independence of the researchers.
Harvard enters into research agreements with corporate partners who express a commitment to advancing science by supporting research led by Harvard faculty, Perry added.
Like Harvard, the Mayo Clinic refused to release details on how much money it would make off the Elysium licensing agreement. Mayo and Harvard engaged in substantial diligence and extended negotiations before entering into the agreement, said a Mayo spokeswoman.
The company provided convincing proof that they are committed to developing products supported by scientific evidence, said the spokeswoman, Duska Anastasijevic.
Guarente of Elysium refused to say how much he or Elysium was earning off the sale of the supplement Basis. MIT would not release his conflict-of-interest statements.
Private investment funds, meanwhile, continue to pour into longevity research despite questions about whether the substances work in people.
One key Elysium investor is the Morningside Group, a private equity firm run by Harvards top donor, Gerald Chan, who also gave $350 million to the Harvard School of Public Health.
Billionaire and WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann has invested in Sinclairs Life Biosciences.
An investment firm led by engineer and physician Peter Diamandis gave a group of Harvard researchers $5.5 million for their startup company after their research was publicly challenged by several other scientists.
In its announcement of the seed money, the company, Elevian, said its goal was to develop new medicines that increase the activity levels of the hormone GDF11 to potentially prevent and treat age-related diseases.
It described research by its founders, which include Harvards Amy Wagers and Richard Lee, as demonstrating that replenishing a single circulating factor, GDF11, in old animals mirrors the effects of young blood, repairing the heart, brain, muscle and other tissues.
Other respected labs in the field have either failed to replicate or contradict key elements of their observations.
Elevians CEO, Mark Allen, said the early scientific data on GDF11 is encouraging, but drug discovery and development is a time-intensive, risky, regulated process requiring many years of research, preclinical [animal] studies, and human clinical trials to successfully bring new drugs to market.
Flier worries research in the longevity field could be compromised, although he recognizes the importance and promise of the science. He said hes concerned that alliances between billionaires and scientists could lead to less skepticism.
A susceptible billionaire meets a very good salesman scientist who looks him deeply in the eyes and says, Theres no reason why we cant have a therapy that will let you live 400 or 600 years, Flier said. The billionaire will look back and see someone who is at MIT or Harvard and say, Show me what you can do.
Despite concerns about the hype, scientists are hopeful of finding a way forward by relying on hard evidence. The consensus: A pill is on the horizon. Its just a matter of time and solid research.
If you want to make money, hiring a sales rep to push something that hasnt been tested is a really great strategy, said Miller, who is testing substances on mice. If instead you want to find drugs that work in people, you take a very different approach. It doesnt involve sales pitches. It involves the long, laborious, slogging process of actually doing research.
KHN senior correspondent Jay Hancock contributed to this report.
Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation that is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.
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