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Personalized Medicine and the Science Behind the Genomind Genecept Assay – Video

Posted: November 7, 2011 at 4:49 am

Dr.

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Personalized Medicine and the Science Behind the Genomind Genecept Assay - Video

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

TV SBT — Interview of Prof. Dr. MC Meyer on Ancestral Knowledge

Posted: November 7, 2011 at 4:48 am

TV Interview of Prof.

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TV SBT -- Interview of Prof. Dr. MC Meyer on Ancestral Knowledge

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Ben Best on SENS5

Posted: November 6, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Cryonics industry figure Ben Best attended the fifth SENS conference that was held some weeks back in England, and his report can be read at Depressed Metabolism:

People who attend SENS conferences are the demographic that is the most receptive to cryonics of any identifiable group I have yet found. They are mostly scientists interested in intervening in the aging process.

...

great progress has been made in starting research programs on each of the SENS strategies, and by 2012 research on all the strategies is expected to be in progress.

...

In addition to my oral presentation on cryonics I also had a poster. Scientific conferences usually have poster sessions where scientists present research, reviews, or ideas in the form of a poster. Poster presenters stand by their posters at scheduled times to discuss their work on a one-to-one basis with individuals rather than to an audience. My poster dealt with challenging the concept of biological age and denying the possibility of a biomarker of aging that could determine biological age. I contended that biological age and biomarkers of aging assume a singular underlying aging process, which I denied on the grounds that aging is multiple forms of damage.

His view on biomarkers is an interesting one; you might look back in the Fight Aging! archives for a background on the search for biomarkers of aging - there are a good number of posts on the topic, and it's an area of research that has some importance to the future pace of progress. Absent good biomarkers, it's going to be hard to rapidly tell the difference between a working rejuvenation therapy and a non-working rejuvenation therapy - and time is in short supply.

I did want to draw you attention to a point from Best that I disagree with. He says:

I consider gene therapy to be an essential tool for the ultimate implementation of SENS, and a deficiency of SENS that there is so little attention paid to this technology. I don't see how SENS can be implemented by any means other than genetic re-programming. LysoSENS, for example, would require new genes to create new, more effective enzymes for the lysosomes. MitoSENS would require all mitochondrial proteins be made in the nucleus and imported into the mitochondria.

For mitochondrial repair, agreed, all of the most plausible paths look like gene therapy. The problem that MitoSENS seeks to solve is the accumulation of damage to mitochondrial DNA, and so that DNA either needs to be protected, repaired, or replaced. Fair enough. But I think there will be a wide range of other practical mechanisms for the delivery of necessary enzymes to lysosomes as a part of the LysoSENS program. Recent years have made it clear that biotechnologies other than gene therapy can target small molecules to specific cells and even specific portions of a cell, such as by hijacking normal protein targeting mechanisms or through carefully designed nanocarrier structures. I would agree that an ultimate implementation would be one that is always on - an unambigiously beneficial genetic change to allow lysosomes to digest what is presently indigestible and which will be passed on to future generations. But it seems far more likely that initial implementations will be periodic clinical treatments - injections and infusions - designed to flush the body's lysosomes with enzymes for a short period of time, and thereby clean them out. This would seem to be sufficient, given that we humans manage three decades of life at the outset without the obvious degenerations of aging starting to show up.

Source:
http://www.longevitymeme.org/newsletter/latest_rss_feed.cfm

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

A Review of Bioartificial Lung Engineering

Posted: November 6, 2011 at 4:59 pm

A review paper on one of the trailing areas of tissue engineering - lungs present a harder and more complex challenge than many other organs: "End-stage lung disease is a major health care challenge. Lung transplantation remains the definitive treatment, yet rejection and donor organ shortage limit its broader clinical impact. Engineering bioartificial lung grafts from patient-derived cells could theoretically lead to alternative treatment strategies. Although many challenges on the way to clinical application remain, important early milestones toward translation have been met. Key endodermal progenitors can be derived from patients and expanded in vitro. Advanced culture conditions facilitate the formation of three-dimensional functional tissues from lineage-committed cells. Bioartificial grafts that provide gas exchange have been generated and transplanted into animal models. Looking ahead, current challenges in bioartificial lung engineering include creation of ideal scaffold materials, differentiation and expansion of lung-specific cell populations and full maturation of engineered constructs to provide graft longevity after implantation?in vivo. A multidisciplinary collaborative effort will not only bring us closer to the ultimate goal of engineering patient-derived lung grafts, but also generate a series of clinically valuable translational milestones such as airway grafts and disease models."

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22026560

Source:
http://www.longevitymeme.org/newsletter/latest_rss_feed.cfm

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

Research on Bacterial Aging

Posted: November 6, 2011 at 4:59 pm

The aging of bacteria grants us insight into the very earliest evolutionary origins of aging: "When a bacterial cell divides into two daughter cells and those two cells divide into four more daughters, then 8, then 16 and so on, the result, biologists have long assumed, is an eternally youthful population of bacteria. Bacteria, in other words, don't age - at least not in the same way all other organisms do. ... [But] not only do bacteria age, but [their] ability to age allows bacteria to improve the evolutionary fitness of their population by diversifying their reproductive investment between older and more youthful daughters. ... Aging in organisms is often caused by the accumulation of non-genetic damage, such as proteins that become oxidized over time. So for a single celled organism that has acquired damage that cannot be repaired, which of the two alternatives is better - to split the cellular damage in equal amounts between the two daughters or to give one daughter all of the damage and the other none? ... bacteria appear to give more of the cellular damage to one daughter, the one that has 'aged,' and less to the other, which the biologists term 'rejuvenation' ... In a bacterial population, aging and rejuvenation goes on simultaneously, so depending on how you measure it, you can be misled to believe that there is no aging. ... We ran computer models and found that giving one daughter more the damage and the other less always wins from an evolutionary perspective. It's analogous to diversifying your portfolio."

Link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111027150207.htm

Source:
http://www.longevitymeme.org/newsletter/latest_rss_feed.cfm

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

An Open Cures Update

Posted: November 6, 2011 at 4:59 pm

So how are things coming along with the Open Cures project? (If this is new to you, please do follow that link to see what this is all about).

I should preface this post by noting that my work on any given project tends to take place in waves, and the past couple of months have been a trough of comparatively low activity for Open Cures. The earlier part of this year was a crest in which planning was accomplished, discussions held, an email group and web site site up, posts and articles written, and a few thousand dollars expended to test the waters for paid writing of protocol documents, largely through contractors with life science backgrounds met via the oDesk marketplace. A start, in other words, for something that I anticipate will run at a more modest rate for a number of years.

You never get as far as you'd like in any given period of time, of course, and the rest of the world rarely cooperates by conforming to initial expectations. Since the last update posted here, work on finding reliable authors and writing has proceeded at a slow but steady pace. I'm comfortable with my ability to source these folk now - there are a surprisingly large number of life science graduates and researchers offering their services on the global market for distance work. So the focus has been on establishing high quality baseline documents as examples, templates to help future writers toe the line, and similar issues. One of the slowdowns here has been a matter of dealing with the questions that bedevil the setup for any process: what exactly do we want the results to look like, what is the best way to obtain them, how does it all fall into place in detail.

From an operations perspective, I've shifted most of the ongoing publishing into the Open Cures Wiki: if I'd decided to do that at the outset it would have saved some time in setting up the website, but such is life. I'm presently within striking distance of finishing up the LysoSENS bacterial discovery protocol: a final and rewritten draft is in hand, just not yet posted, and the author will be fixing up the outline to conform with it. A protocol outline for the synthesis of SkQ1, the targeted mitochondrial antioxidant, was completed and posted last month and is awaiting expansion into a full document. There's a nice backlog of other items to be reworked into the final template, and a nice list of research results that I'd like to produce protocols to describe.

I had hoped that the LysoSENS bacterial discovery would prove to be a useful overture to the DIYbio community - it's an interesting project with bacteria and various chemical synthesis activities, well suited as a hobbyist project but one which can assist real, significant research. Watching and interacting with the DIYbio community has led me to think that I'm too early, however, and that they are not going to be particularly receptive any time soon for a range of reasons. Firstly, the movers and shakers are focused on growth and technology over specific projects; they are a small community still, and the most important things for them right now involve producing low-cost and open versions of common technologies (such as OpenPCR), and building shared laboratory spaces to help grow and solidify local groups (such as BioCurious).

Secondly, most of these folk are either disinterested or hostile towards engineered longevity and human rejuvenation as long-term goals. I would guess that this stems in part from the fact that this describes the population in general, and there's no particular reason that a selection of entrepreneurial life science folk should be any different, and in part from the plant biotech / third world farming assistance / environmentalist roots of a fair-sized fraction of the community. They have a tendency to look down on things that they can argue do not primarily help the poor and disadvantaged first; environmentalist hostility towards human longevity is well known and widespread.

Thirdly, the DIYbio community is somewhere between scared and terrified of the possibility of hostile government regulation arriving before they have a large enough community and mindshare to effectively resist it - so there is considerable self-censorship, caution, and opposition to any proposed work with animals, animal cells, or indeed anything that might touch on the heavy regulation that attends professional life science research on the medical side. Similarly, you won't win many friends by having the declared goal of working around the FDA as is the case for Open Cures - and for much the same reasons.

So, in short, I'm thinking that it's too early to expect useful allies there. That community needs to become larger, have listened to what the longevity advocacy community has to say for longer, and Open Cures needs more than just an idea and a website to demonstrate its solidity and useful nature. A nice library of protocols would be a good start, and that's underway at a modest, side-project sort of pace.

Source:
http://www.longevitymeme.org/newsletter/latest_rss_feed.cfm

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko


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