Some details are now up for the second Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence conference:
The purpose of the SENS conference series, like all the SENS initiatives (such as the journal Rejuvenation Research and the Methuselah Mouse Prize), is to expedite the development of a true cure for human aging by tackling it as an engineering problem: enumerating the accumulating molecular and cellular changes that eventually kill us, and identifying ways to repair -- reverse -- those changes, rather than merely to slow down their further accumulation.
Over 35 illustrious speakers are already confirmed. The provisional schedule for the conference is here.
SENS 2 will therefore continue and extend the superlative quality of the inaugural SENS conference held in 2003. The calibre of that meeting can be seen from the list of abstracts, the online audio recordings of the talks, and most of all from the proceedings volume, which was published as volume 1019 of the prestigious Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. We anticipate that the proceedings of SENS 2 will also be published there.
I am particularly interested in the work that is being done on overcoming mitochondrial mutations - see Kip Werking's report from TransVision 2004 for a little on the work of Rafal Smigrodzki in this field, for example.
Next, Rafal Smigrodski, from the underrepresented private sector, gave his presentation titled "How to buy new mitochondria for your old body." Smigrodski described how his company is preparing a treatment to repair broken mitochondria. They have developed a method to deliver genetic cargo to mitochondria that is superior to traditional virotherapy. By marketing the treatment to those with a rare genetic defect in their mitochondria, Smigrodski hopes to jump the gap between therapy and enhancement and prepare the way for age retardation therapies within a couple of decades. I felt that much of his presentation was too good to be true; only time will tell.
Aubrey de Grey gave another presentation after Smigrodski titled "Removing toxic aggregates that our cells can't break down." He did not share the latter's optimism in obtaining FDA approval or bringing to market a treatment for a disease which afflicts less than one hundred people in the United States. Much like the speaker before him, de Grey was concerned with mitochondria, the power plants in each one of our cells which possess their own DNA. According to de Grey, these energy generating organelles create waste that is typically treated by the lysosomes. Sometimes, however, the lysosomes fail and the waste simply accumulates within the cell. This waste has been shown to be related to aging. Many researchers are now working upon a gene therapy to correct this defect in mitochondria and slow aging.