Search Immortality Topics:

Page 10,719«..1020..10,71810,71910,72010,721..10,73010,740..»


Parkinson's Disease: Spotlight on Stem Cell Research – Jeff Bronstein

Posted: July 12, 2011 at 12:12 am

(Part 1 of 3) Jeff Bronstein, MD, Ph.D., spoke at the "Spotlight on Parkinson's Disease," an educational event presented at the CIRM Governing Board meeting on May 7, 2008. Bronstein presented an overview of Parkinson's disease and discussed how stem cell research provides hope for finding new Parkinson's disease therapies.

See the original post:
Parkinson's Disease: Spotlight on Stem Cell Research - Jeff Bronstein

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

An Idea: Animating the Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant

Posted: July 10, 2011 at 4:03 pm

You're all, I hope, familiar with the Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant - easily the best modern fable about the scientific quest to build rejuvenation biotechnology and thereby defeat age-related frailty, suffering and death. If you have not yet read it, shame on you. Go and read it:

Once upon a time, the planet was tyrannized by a giant dragon. The dragon stood taller than the largest cathedral, and it was covered with thick black scales. Its red eyes glowed with hate, and from its terrible jaws flowed an incessant stream of evil-smelling yellowish-green slime. It demanded from humankind a blood-curdling tribute: to satisfy its enormous appetite, ten thousand men and women had to be delivered every evening at the onset of dark to the foot of the mountain where the dragon-tyrant lived. Sometimes the dragon would devour these unfortunate souls upon arrival; sometimes again it would lock them up in the mountain where they would wither away for months or years before eventually being consumed...

I see that some folk across the way a little in the longevity science community have the great idea that a web animation of the fable should be produced - something that could be dropped into many, many websites and seen by a large audience.

My friend Kent Kemmish, at Halcyon Molecular, has offered to put up $50 for someone who does the best animated flash version of Nick Bostrom's classic essay "The Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant" ... Let's say that the challenge stands for one month, until August 7th. My other friend Kevin Fischer is also putting in $50 for a total of $100. Would anyone else be interested in adding to that purse?

I think that this is a good idea with a great deal of merit, but that these folk are not going about it in quite the right way. From my point of view, producing a fair animation - let's say something that looks like the silhouette stop-motion techniques used in some older Eastern European animations of folktales - is going to take a little organization, a few months in total elapsed time from start to finish, and at minimum a few thousand dollars. If you expect to pull in donations through word of mouth and in $50 increments, then this is exactly the sort of project you'd want to run via a tool like Kickstarter. You need some form of way to track and communicate with donors, a way to accept donations, and a web page to showcase your idea and progress to date - why build all that yourself, when you could use Kickstarter?

So the folk who are pushing this should pick a leader, have him set up and manage a Kickstarter project, produce a few specification documents and showy sample pictures, and then reel in enough in the way of funds to get started with a developer who has a good portfolio, found via a contract marketplace like oDesk or 99designs. That's the way this is done. A wide range of indie developers in the writing world use Kickstarter to crowdsource funding for their work using ransom models and other fundraising methods. An alternate approach to the one above is if someone with deeper pockets were to simply commission the work on the simple animated version of the fable, they could then place it in escrow until the costs were recouped through donations, and finally release it online.

Step one would be to validate the cost - and that's as simple as finding someone who builds animations for websites (in Flash, Canvas, or whatever the cool kids are using nowadays) and then asking.

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

Autologous Stem Cells Versus Angina

Posted: July 10, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Via EurekAlert!: "injections of adult patients' own CD34+ stem cells reduced reports of angina episodes and improved exercise tolerance time in patients with chronic, severe refractory angina (severe chest discomfort that did not respond to other therapeutic options). The phase II prospective, double-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial was conducted at 26 centers in the United States ... The objective of the trial was to determine whether delivery of autologous (meaning one's own) CD34+ stem cells directly into multiple targeted sites in the heart might reduce the frequency of angina episodes in patients suffering from chronic severe refractory angina, under the hypothesis that CD34+ stem cells may be involved in the creation of new blood vessels and increase tissue perfusion. ... While we need to validate these results in phase III studies before definitive conclusions can be drawn, we believe this is an important milestone in considering whether the body's own stem cells may one day be used to treat chronic cardiovascular conditions. ... At six months after treatment, patients in the low-dose treatment group reported significantly fewer episodes of angina than patients in the control group (6.8 vs. 10.9 episodes per week), and maintained lower episodes at one year after treatment (6.3 vs. 11 episodes per week). Additionally, the low-dose treatment group was able to exercise (on a treadmill) significantly longer at six months after treatment, as compared with those in the control group (139 seconds vs. 69 seconds, on average)." If you want access to this sort of treatment now, and are resident in the US, going abroad as a medical tourist is your only realistic option. Otherwise you may still be waiting five or ten years from now: the FDA moves to approve treatments very slowly, when it moves at all.

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-07/nu-asc070711.php

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

Calorie Restriction Slows Fertility Decline

Posted: July 10, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Another example of calorie restriction slowing a specific aspect of the damage of aging: "restricting the caloric intake of adult female mice prevents a spectrum of abnormalities, such as extra or missing copies of chromosomes, which arise more frequently in egg cells of aging female mammals. ... We found that we could completely prevent, in a mouse model, essentially every aspect of the declining egg quality typical of older females. We also identified a gene that can be manipulated to reproduce the effects of dietary caloric restriction and improve egg quality in aging animals fed a normal diet, which gives us clues that we may be able to alter this highly regulated process with compounds now being developed to mimic the effects of caloric restriction. ... The long-term effects of a caloric restriction (CR) diet in humans are being investigated in ongoing studies, but some health improvements, including reductions in cholesterol levels and other cardiovascular risk factors, have already been reported. ... While the mechanisms by which caloric restriction produces its effects are still being investigated, several of the metabolic pathways involve a regulator of DNA transcription called PGC-1a, which is known to modulate genes involved in controlling mitochondrial number and function. [The researchers] also found that egg cells from female mice lacking a functional PGC-1a gene who were allowed to free feed through adulthood maintained the same egg-cell quality as seen in the CR mice. However, combining CR with PGC-1a inactivation did not increase the effects beyond those achieved separately, which suggests that the two approaches work in a common pathway."

Link: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news-Calorie-Reduction-May-Prevent-Infertility-070811.aspx

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

Tissue Engineered Synthetic Trachea Successfully Transplanted

Posted: July 10, 2011 at 4:02 pm

It seems that this is a week for announcing significant progress in tissue engineering. You might recall that one of the groups involved in recellularization research transplanted a trachea into a human recipient a couple of years ago. The organ was from a donor, stripped of all its cells, and the remaining natural scaffold of the extracellular matrix repopulated with cells from the recipient. The end result was a transplanted organ that would not be rejected by the immune system. The same researchers have now gone one step further and successfully transplanted an entirely synthetic trachea grown from the patient's cells on an artificial scaffold - no donor organ required.

Surgeons have performed the first transplant operation using an organ wholly grown in a laboratory to give a man a new windpipe. The 36-year-old is recovering after surgeons implanted the world's first wholly lab-grown organ into his body.

...

Professor Paolo Macchiarini, a Spanish expert in regenerative medicine who led the groundbreaking operation, designed the Y-shaped synthetic trachea scaffold with Professor Alexander Seifalian, from University College London. The Y-shaped structure was made from a plastic-like "nanocomposite" polymer material consisting of microscopic building blocks. Two days after stem cells were placed into the scaffold they had grown into tracheal cells ready for transplantation. Since the organ was built from cells originating from the patient, there was no risk of it being rejected by his immune system.

In conjunction with lines of research like organ printing, this pace of work bodes well for the 2030s as a time in which failing or badly injured organs are no longer automatically fatal or the cause of lifelong disability for the young. There is still the question of how best to take advantage of this for the old, however: the frailty that comes with aging brings with it a much lower survival rate and success rate for major surgery - and any significant transplant is major surgery. Regrowth of organs alone is not the way to greatly extend the maximum human lifespan on a timescale that matters. Other technologies are needed as well:

There are many whole-body, multi-organ, or regional biochemical feedback and control loops in the body. There are types of age-related damage that involve the intracellular accumulation of biochemical junk - simply replacing cells doesn't get rid of that. If your only tool is bioprinting (which won't be the case, but let us think inside the box for a while here), then the solution to these problems starts to look like replacing more of the body at one time.

You can't just replace the brain, of course, which remains an important limiting factor and the real driving need for in situ repair technologies that operate at the level of cells, buildup of protein aggregates, and broken cellular machinery.

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

Aging and the Genetics of the Immune System

Posted: July 10, 2011 at 4:02 pm

The quality of the immune system in later years has a strong impact on mortality rates and frailty - and that quality varies with different genetic profiles. Thus it follows that among the genetic variants known to affect human longevity, some are involved with the immune system: "The ageing process is very complex. Human longevity is a multifactorial trait which is determined by genetic and environmental factors. Twin and family studies imply that up to 25% of human lifespan is heritable. The longevity gene candidates have generally fallen into the following categories: inflammatory and immune-related factors, stress response elements, mediators of glucose and lipid metabolism, components of DNA repair and cellular proliferation and mitochondrial DNA haplogroups. Because of the central role of HLA molecules in the development of protective immunity and the extraordinary degree of polymorphism of HLA genes, many studies have addressed the possible impact of these genes on human longevity. Most of the data available so far demonstrated a possible role of HLA class II specificities in human longevity but definitive evidence has remained elusive. Although the data are limited and controversial, it has been hypothesized that longevity could be associated with cytokine gene polymorphisms correlating with different levels of cytokine production, thereby modulating immune responses in health and disease. Because of the essential role of cytokines in immune responses, the regulation of cytokine gene expression and their polymorphic nature, the genetic variations of these loci with functional significance could be appropriate immunogenetic candidate markers implicated in the mechanism of successful ageing and longevity."

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21726414

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko


Page 10,719«..1020..10,71810,71910,72010,721..10,73010,740..»