November has been a busy month in the world of rejuvenation biotechnology and life extension, as there has been both really good news and some rather bad news. Let’s have a look together, starting with the bad news and then moving on to decidedly more uplifting things.
Healthy aging and the WHO agenda
It appears that WHO has forgotten to include priorities related to aging in its 13th draft programme of work 2019-2023. This extremely important issue was popularised thanks to the efforts of Dr. Ilia Stambler, who recently co-authored a paper on the importance of healthy longevity as a topic for the WHO programme. The authors of this jointly developed position include leaders of the International Society on Aging and Disease (ISOAD), American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR), International Federation on Ageing (IFA), International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics – IAGG (European Region and Asia-Oceania), International Longevity Center – Australia, the Gerontological Society of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the African Society for Ageing Research and Development (ASARD). LEAF board director Elena Milova raised the same issue here, and LEAF’s official position has also been discussed by the Russian newspaper Medvestnik.
Multiple pro-longevity organizations have invited community members to take part in the open consultation on the programme in order to promote the inclusion of the issues of the aging population. Thanks to a joint effort, WHO has received plenty of feedback (90% out of 400 responses) lamenting the absence of aging in the draft, and now WHO will hopefully consider including its earlier Global Strategy and Action Plan on Aging and Health in the draft. Advocacy efforts are in progress.
SENS Winter Fundraiser
Like every year, the folks at the SENS Research Foundation have launched their end-of-year winter fundraiser, and the goal this year is $250,000. The generous support of donors and patrons is essential in the fight against aging, and while helping the cause is rewarding in and of itself, a little incentive is never unwelcome; this year, SENS is doing something a bit different.
Anyone who contributes $250 or more between October 15th and December 31st will automatically receive a SENS Research Foundation t-shirt just like the ones worn by the team. Anyone who donates $500 or more will get a cool SENS Research Foundation Polo shirt. You can find out more about the winter fundraiser here.
LEAF Conference in Moscow on November 4
LEAF, in collaboration with Singularity University Moscow Chapter and consulting group Deloitte, hosted the conference “6 ways to talk to people about aging” in Moscow. Six brilliant speakers shared their insights with the audience on how best to inform society about the potential and the advancement of gerontology and preventive medicine.
The list of speakers included Jose Luis Cordeiro, fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS), director of life extension advocacy organization Humanity Plus; Valerija Udalova (Pride), director of Russian cryocompany KrioRus and methodologist of the Human Aging System Diagram project; Eugeny Kuznetsov, ambassador of Singularity University in Russia; Maxim Kholin, co-founder of the group «Gero», which develops therapies and blockchain solutions for significant lifespan extension; Anastasia Egorova, vice president of the Foundation Science for Life Extension and director of Open Longevity ICO; and Carlos Garcia Hernandez, director of Lolabooks publishing house, which released the book by Aubrey de Grey and Michael Rae, Ending Aging, in Spanish, and translated books by Ray Kurzweil and other great thinkers of our time.
Lifespan.io on Kurzgesagt… again!
Kurzgesagt has released the second video on aging created with the help of the Lifespan.io team on November 3. While the first video introduced viewers to the possibility of ending aging within a few decades, discussing why we should do this, this new video discusses some of the medical technologies currently being developed to address the various hallmarks of aging. If you’ve not done so yet, we definitely recommend you watch these videos! It has been a pleasure to work with Kurzgesagt, and we look forward to future collaborations.
Support for rejuvenation biotechnology and LEAF is growing
A most welcome outcome of our collaboration with Kurzgesagt has been a large increase in our followers and supporters. Judging by the positive responses from the majority of the audience to these videos, it seems very clear that the dissenters are very much in the vocal minority.
The MouseAge campaign smashed its original goal of $15,000 and reached over 19,000$; additionally, the Heroes campaign is now close to its $5,000 goal, which will enable us to do much more to raise awareness and help speed up the pace of research. Without your help, this would never have been possible—the warmest thank you from the entire LEAF team!
Fight Aging! Matching Fund and other news
Just as traditional as the SENS Winter Fundraiser, the matching fund put up by Fight Aging! is running since October 15th and will continue until December 31st. Reason, Josh Triplett, and Christophe and Dominique Cornuejols have put together a $36,000 fund with which they’ll match the first full year of donations made to SENS by anyone who signs up as a monthly patron before the end of 2017.
In other news from FA!, Reason reported an open-access paper discussing the connection between mitochondrial dysfunction and cellular senescence in relation to age-related respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. The degradation of defective mitochondria declines in senescent cells and the paper suggests that this might contribute to the pro-inflammatory aspects of cellular senescence.
Interview with Dr. Michael Fossel
Our friends at Geroscience have published the second part of their interview with Dr. Michael Fossel, a leading expert on telomere attrition and telomerase therapy.
The first part of the interview, published in October, discusses his views on aging and the reasons why he focuses on telomeres especially; in the second part, Dr. Fossel explains how telomere replenishment could be done and the benefits we can expect to reap. Check it out!
A panel about life extension prospects in the near future
Biogerontology Research Foundation Trustee Dmitry Kaminskiy and Chief Science Officer Dr. Alex Zhavoronkov spoke at the Aging and Longevity Panel at the Financial Times Global Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Conference in London on November 10th, 2017, alongside Dr. Aubrey de Grey, Chief Science Officer of SENS Research Foundation, and Joseph Antoun, Chairman of the Global Healthspan Policy Institute.
The discussion panel focused on the prospects for geroscience to deliver practical solutions to aging in the near future. This is of particular interest given that the topic of targeting aging to prevent disease has been openly discussed at one of the largest European biotechnology conferences, at which all the major pharmaceutical companies were present. Interest in the field and preventative medicine has grown dramatically in the last few years, and this is yet more indication of its rising popularity.
Conversations with the future
Nikola Danaylov’s new book “Conversations with the future” is trending on Amazon. There is an interview with Michael Fossel, PhD, MD, professor of Clinical Medicine of Michigan State University, a famous researcher of aging. The section discusses the main mechanisms of aging, the possibility to manipulate them and related emerging technologies while touching upon some of the most frequent ethical issues related to getting rid of aging. Readers can also find a few recommendations of currently available methods to extend healthy life.
Coming up in December
On December 7th, in conjunction with the ongoing winter fundraiser, Dr. Aubrey de Grey, Chief Science Officer of SENS Research Foundation, will be on Reddit for an AMA (“ask me anything”). Dr. Aubrey de Grey is one of the original proponents of a repair based approach to aging and age-related diseases and this is your opportunity to ask him about the progress being made in research, his thoughts about the future or whatever else you might like to know about this fascinating scientist.
Anyone with a question for Dr. de Grey will have a chance to ask him personally in the /r/futurology subreddit, starting at 2 PM PST (5 PM EST, 10 PM UTC). If you want to know how SENS research is progressing, or ask Aubrey anything at all, this is your chance!
More LEAF events
LEAF is hosting two events in Moscow in December. On December 6, LEAF Director Elena Milova is giving a lecture called “How to defeat aging?” at one of the state libraries. The week after, Pam Keefe, member of the advisory board of the Coalition for Radical Life Extension and co-organizer of the RAADFEST Bangkok conference, is visiting Moscow, and we will use this opportunity to organize a friendly discussion of longevity communication strategies entitled “Revolution against aging: principles, methods, examples”.
Project for Awesome
LEAF is taking part in the “Project for Awesome 2017” contest taking place on December 15-17, and we hope that you will come to support us by voting for our videos and making your own videos to say why you support the work we do. Please reference the Lifespan Extension Advocacy Foundation in the video description.