As we leave February behind, there’s much to recap and much to look forward to; so, grab a cup of your favorite drink, and let’s have a look at the recent and upcoming events in the rejuvenation biotech world.
Yet more funds for the SENS Research Foundation
As we’ve seen last month, SRF’s hopes for the 2017 winter fund were to reach a goal of $250,000; thankfully, reality greatly surpassed imagination, and the winter fund ended up collecting over 5 million dollars. This may well have been the beginning of a lucky year for SRF, as more donations were received in early February.
The anonymous donor behind the Pineapple Fund struck again, donating an additional $1 million in bitcoin to SENS, which was promptly followed by yet another anonymous donor who contributed a second million dollars in bitcoin, as reported in SRF’s press release. If you think this is exciting, hold on tight because it doesn’t end here; Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, added another $2.4 million dollars in his cryptocurrency.
These large donations are certainly fantastic news and will help speed up rejuvenation research. Furthermore, the publicity coming from them will no doubt contribute to the popularization of this cause, but we should keep in mind that, however mind-boggling, these sorts of donations are still fairly rare. More funds, coming from investors and donators big and small, will be needed to achieve the goal of an aging-free world.
The elephant in the room is ever more difficult to ignore
For as long as talk of rejuvenation and a post-aging world remained fringe, relegated to few websites or the efforts of lone advocates engaged in one-on-one discussions, it was easy for anyone to ignore the topic altogether. However, progress in research and the relentless action of advocates has had a cumulative effect, which often results in rejuvenation research making the headlines, for example in this BBC article.
The article features a tour of names and organisations that are familiar to our readers as well as a podcast with Dr. Aubrey de Grey. While erring on the side of caution—as one always should—author Britt Wray ends with a positive note that is unusual in this type of article: “Yet, if concerns like these [boredom, overpopulation, etc] had paralysed the early pioneers of vaccination and antibiotics, it is unlikely many of us today could expect to live much beyond the age of 40-years-old. Advances in medicine over the last two centuries have taught us that we have the power to defeat the diseases that afflict us. Perhaps if we apply ourselves, then we can beat ageing too.”
As the fight against aging is featured more and more in the media, shown in an increasingly positive light, it will turn from fringe to mainstream, and ignoring the topic will be impossible. This is why one must not underestimate the importance of advocacy.
Dr. Anthony Atala to speak at Undoing Aging 2018
By now, the upcoming UA2018 conference should be known to all of our readers, who will surely be pleased to know that several LEAF team members will attend. The conference will feature leading experts on aging and regenerative medicine from all over the world, and early in February, it was announced that Wake Forest Institute director Dr. Anthony Atala will be among the speakers of the event to discuss the regenerative medicine applications of 3D bioprinting. If you can’t make it to the event yourself, fear not—we’ve got you covered! We will write about the talks and interview speakers to make sure you won’t miss out on the latest rejuvenation updates.
Bill Gates on overpopulation
Overpopulation is famously the first concern of virtually anyone who hears about defeating aging for the first time; we addressed this concern on our blog, and if you’re up for it, you can find an even lengthier discussion on Rejuvenaction. Recently, as part of their yearly letter to the world, Bill and Melinda Gates have touched upon the topic, answering what is apparently one of the ‘toughest questions’ they are frequently asked: “Does saving kids’ lives lead to overpopulation?”
Their answer, which you can read here, is no. There is also a video of Bill answering the more general question “does saving more lives lead to overpopulation?”, and the answer is still no. The take away from both the text answer and the video is that, as the world becomes healthier, people choose to have fewer children. As Bill wrote: “When more children live, you get one generation that’s relatively big. Then, when families decide to have fewer children, the next generation is much smaller. Eventually, a country ends up with relatively more people in the labor force producing economically—and relatively fewer dependents (very old or very young people). That’s a recipe for rapid economic development, especially if countries take advantage of it by investing in health and education.”
Now imagine the scenario above, except the ‘dependents’ are even fewer because the very old are perfectly healthy and capable of looking after themselves and working, just like when they were chronologically young.
News from LEAF
If you are among the Agemeter backers and are waiting for your bag or your t-shirt—rejoice! Your reward is on its way.
Chair of London Futurists David Wood hosted the livestreamed panel “Reversing Aging: 2018 update”. Among the panelists were life extensionism historian Dr. Ilia Stambler, LEAF Outreach Director Elena Milova, and LEAF volunteer Sven Bulterijs. If you missed the event, don’t worry; you can watch it here. Also, if you’re interested in David Wood’s comprehensive and well-researched book “The Abolition of Aging”, you can read our review.
February 21st would have been Jeanne Calment’s 143th birthday if, in 1997, aging had not taken her life at the amazing age of 122 years and 164 days old. Madame Calment, and her rather exceptional health for a person her age, demonstrate that the life of a supercentenarian doesn’t necessarily have to be one of affliction and lack of independence, even more so if the diseases of aging are addressed by rejuvenation therapies.
For Jeanne Calment Day, LEAF livestreamed a panel on the topic featuring Steve Hill and Elena Milova with LEAF volunteers Victor Björk and Sven Bulterisj, chaired by LEAF staff writer Nicola Bagalà.
This month, our advocacy activities in Russia were fruitful. LEAF director Elena Milova was interviewed by several local editions in turn, and took part in a TV program on the channel Moscow-24 as a role model of a biohacker. Referring to all early adopters of life extension technologies this way has started after Serge Faguet wrote the famous article “I’m 32 and spent $200k on biohacking. Became calmer, thinner, extroverted, healthier & happier“. You can watch our own interview with Serge here.
Science and research news
In a two-part series of articles, Geroscience’s lead editor Tegan McCaslin talks about cancer and heat shock proteins, its unwitting accomplices in wreaking havoc in the body. Here, you’ll find part 1 and part 2.
Speaking of cancer and Geroscience, you might be interested in its article about the curious connection between Huntington’s disease and cancer: Huntington’s sufferers have much lower chances of developing cancer than the rest of the population. The topic has also been reprised by Reason of Fight Aging!, who talks about weaponizing Huntington’s biochemistry against cancer.
On a different note, again on Fight Aging!, you can find a brief discussion of liver organoids and how close researchers are getting to natural liver tissue.
Cancer deserves being hit hard with whatever we can throw at it, and researchers have recently found a way to starve it to death in mice by using nanobots that only caused blood clots within tumours, leaving the rest of the body alone. Find out more in this article by Steve Hill.
Coming up next month
The big event of March is, of course, the Undoing Aging 2018 Conference. This is the first of what will hopefully be a series of conferences on the subject of rejuvenation biotechnologies; organized by the Forever Healthy Foundation and the SENS Research Foundation, the conference will feature many distinguished speakers presenting the latest news in their own field of research and aging research in general. Several LEAF members will attend the event and keep our readers updated.