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Rejuvenation Roundup April 2019


April is gone, and before we move on to May, let’s take a look back at the highlights of last month in the rejuvenation world.


Team and activities

UA2019 wrap-up: The second Undoing Aging conference, concluded over a month ago, was a great experience for the LEAF team, as it offered us the opportunity to talk face-to-face with the actual scientists who, step by step, are bringing about the defeat of aging; to meet with the members of a very friendly and welcoming community; and to learn a lot about this growing field. We shared our thoughts on UA2019 in a few different articles (here, here, and here), and we’ve also taken a lot of pictures for you to enjoy!

Second webinar: Earlier in April, we held our second webinar; this time, the topic was the role of the human microbiome in aging. Dr. Michael Lustgarten, Dr. Cosmo Mielke, and Dr. Amy Proal unraveled this fascinating topic and answered the questions of the participating Lifespan Heroes. If you missed the webinar, you can already find it here; if you’d like to join our future webinars, consider becoming a Lifespan Hero—webinars are only some of the perks you get for your support!

NYC Conference update: Last month, a few more aging research superstars had confirmed their presence at our forthcoming second Ending Age-Related Diseases conference: Dr. Maria Blasco from the Spanish CNIO, Dr. João Pedro de Magalhães from Liverpool University, and Michael Lustgarten from the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts. Check out the conference program—we hope to see you there!

Keith Comito at the XPRIZE meeting: Our president, Keith Comito, has been invited to the XPRIZE headquarters to participate in a meeting about the organization’s Future of Longevity Impact Roadmap. The initiative, sponsored by Sergey Young, took place on April 28-30, so we don’t yet have a lot of details to share, but Keith joined to share LEAF’s knowledge on the existing bottlenecks that are holding back the development of rejuvenation and their potential solutions. The goal of this initiative is to study the future of longevity and brainstorm what we can do to achieve radical life extension for everyone. Needless to say, this initiative has our full endorsement!

Good management will save the world: This is the motto of our board member Elena Milova, who has recently attended the Foundation program of the MIT-based Presencing Institute, an organization that explores, creates, and implements evidence-based social technologies to solve global challenges. This educational course is part of Elena’s research on how to solve the bottlenecks and obstacles that are holding back the development of the longevity community and its capability to support the creation of rejuvenation biotechnologies. We hope that early in May, Elena will share her insights in a news article. interviews

April was a month of interviews with some of the finest minds working on a world without aging—taken mainly, but not only, during UA2019.

UA2019 interviews

LEAF collaborations with big media companies: Anna Dobryukha from Komsomolskaya Pravda published an interview with Dr. Dongsheng Cai about his studies of the brain aging (in Russian); Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz, a reporter from Quartz that we had also invited to the conference, has released an interview with Dr. Judith Campisi (paywall) and shared her very first impressions of the Undoing Aging community on a conference call with Quartz Editor Sam Grobart (paywall).

Judy Campisi: Professor Judy Campisi, a pioneer of cell senescence, was interviewed by Nicola Bagalà on the topic of senolytics against age-related diseases and the growing optimism among scientists that aging can be treated.

Aubrey de Grey: The co-founder of SENS Research Foundation told us about how his foundation and SENS research have been progressing over the past few years, and it seems that things are moving faster than anticipated.

Vittorio Sebastiano: Steve Hill had a chat with Stanford University professor Vittorio Sebastiano, co-founder and SAB chairman of Turn.Bio, a company focused on partial epigenetic reprogramming to reverse cellular aging. In this interview, Prof. Sebastiano shares his views on this hot research topic.

Yuri Deigin: The CEO of Youthereum Genetics, Yuri Deigin, talked with Steve Hill about epigenetic alterations, partial epigenetic reprogramming, the gut microbiome, and even pet rejuvenation.

Jerry Shay. Prof. Shay, an instrumental figure in the development of telomerase inhibitors as anti-cancer therapeutics, was interviewed by Steve Hill on the topic of—you guessed it—telomerase, telomeres, and their role in aging.

Huda Suliman and Kelsey Moody: Dr. Huda Suliman from Icaria Life Sciences and Dr. Kelsey Moody from Ichor Therapeutics had a chat with us about their work in sponsoring other, younger companies to emerge in the rejuvenation sector.

Other interviews

Steven Braithwaite: Our volunteer Tam Hunt interviewed Dr. Steven Braithwaite from Alkahest, a company focused on understanding what causes the rejuvenative effects observed in mice during heterochronic parabiosis, which is the blood transfer between old and young animals with conjoined circulatory systems.

Joan Mannick: Another interview by Tam Hunt, this time with Dr. Joan Mannick on the subject of rapamycin, which Dr. Mannick’s company, resTORbio, has studied for its ability to inhibit mTOR.

Jose Cordeiro: During Undoing Aging 2019, Elena Milova had an opportunity to talk to Dr. Jose Cordeiro about his recent initiative to make the idea of healthy life extension a part of the political dialogue in the European Union. Jose has just begun his campaign as a candidate for European Parliament from Spain. campaign updates

MMTP: Bureaucracy has been holding the Major Mouse Testing Program back for quite a while, but there still was a recent update from the team members about their progress.

Research Roundup

Senolytics Improve Recovery Following a Heart Attack: A study published in Aging Cell has shown that, in mice, senescent cell clearance facilitates recovery following a heart attack by reducing the development of fibrotic tissues and improving diastolic function, among other things.

Reversing Cognitive Decline by Blocking a Single Protein: Stanford researchers found out that by blocking a protein called CD22, it is possible to significantly improve the process of cellular waste clearance in the brains of aged mice, yielding an impressive degree of cognitive decline reversal.

Human Trial Success for Osteoarthritis Stem Cell Therapy: A phase 1 and 2 clinical trial that tested stem cells on patients suffering from late-stage knee osteoarthritis returned positive results; the intra-articular injections reduced inflammation and slowed down the progression of the disease.

Old Cells Reprogrammed into MSCs Are Rejuvenated: A recent study found out that induced mesenchymal stem cells exhibit a gene expression profile that is typical of younger, pluripotent stem cells, irrespective of donor age.

More Insights into the “Longevity Gene”: A paper by Drs. Vera Gorbunova, Andrei Seluanov, and Dirk Bohmann showed the involvement of SIRT6 in efficient DNA repair in long-lived species.

News Nuggets

Undoing Aging 2020 announced shortly after UA2019: This year’s Undoing Aging conference was extremely successful, selling out with almost 500 participants, leading the organizers to book a larger venue for UA2020, which was announced just three days after UA2019 concluded. The new venue will be around 30% larger than the old one, yet the organizers are happily afraid that it might not be large enough, as they already had to turn away people this year because the venue was full to capacity. According to the official press release, UA2020 “will add a special ‘Rejuvenation Now’ session highlighting the first generation of human rejuvenation therapies that are either currently in clinical trials or are available today.”

On a related note, the organizers of UA2019 have already begun releasing videos of the talks held during the conference, and the first ones are the talks by Prof. Jerry Shay and Dr. Judith Campisi.

Healthy Longevity Global Grand Challenge: As another sign of the changing tide, the National Academy of Medicine has launched a new initiative to catalyze progress in the field of healthy longevity. As stated in the initiative’s announcement,

At the current pace, population aging is poised to impose a significant strain on economies, health systems, and social structures worldwide. But it doesn’t have to. We can envision, just on the horizon, an explosion of potential new medicines, treatments, technologies, and preventive and social strategies that could help transform the way we age and ensure better health, function, and productivity during a period of extended longevity. Multidisciplinary solutions are urgently needed to maximize the number of years lived in good health and a state of well-being. Now is the time to support the next breakthroughs in healthy longevity, so that all of us can benefit from the tremendous opportunities it has to offer.

Johnson and Johnson has recently announced its plans to collaborate with NAM in this initiative to “help people live longer, healthier lives”; a short commentary on this news can be found on Fight Aging!

News from Samumed: Samumed, a company focused on tissue-level regeneration, has recently announced the beginning of clinical safety trials for a new candidate drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease; the experimental drug targets a protein whose accumulation is linked to disease severity. This news was also covered by Alzheimer’s News Today.

The company also announced new data about a Wnt pathway inhibitor for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis at the World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis, and Musculoskeletal Diseases.

An interview with Felix Werth: The founder and leader of the German Party for Health Research, Felix Werth, was interviewed by Longevity Politics. In the interview, Felix explains his involvement in the cause for healthy longevity and talks about the party he founded, which will participate in the forthcoming EU parliamentary elections.

Aubrey de Grey on Brink News: Dr. de Grey authored an article on Brink News about how differently biogerontology is regarded today compared to twenty years ago and the superior medical control over aging that we will hopefully have soon.

The Dog Aging Project—revamped: The Dog Aging Project, an initiative to study aging in dogs for the benefits of both our furry friends and their respective humans, recently got a new website, which you might want to check out.

Life extension and retirement: A short article on Retirement Singularity about the implications of healthy life extension on retirement as we know it.

Dr. Sinclair on Modern Wisdom: In this video, Prof. David Sinclair from Harvard Medical School was interviewed by YouTube channel Modern Wisdom, and he discussed aging, epigenetics, and healthy lifespan extension.

Thank you so much for your interest in our activities and your continued support—without it, our organizations wouldn’t exist and research into aging and rejuvenation wouldn’t proceed as quickly. A special thanks to the Lifespan Heroes, whose monthly donations keep LEAF running! If you’d like to become a Lifespan Hero yourself, head over to this page and make your pledge.

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