LabLit publishes an interview with biomedical gerontologist Aubrey de Grey, heavier on the human interest side than usual: de Grey moved from computer science to gerontology "because I met the right woman. There is a 19-year difference between us; I met her when she was 45 while I was at Cambridge. As scientists we spoke about science a lot. And we spoke a lot about the problem of aging and the more I read about it the more I got worked up about the problem. Now, 100,000 people die every day because of aging, which is not a joke. ... Luck has played an important role. When I wrote the first Bioessay in 1997, the editor of the journal was highly impressed with the essay and asked me to write a book. I finished the book before the deadline in Spring 1998 but the publishing house was in trouble. It took them a whole year to stand up on their feet and before they could publish my book they asked me to review it. In a year, I knew a lot more biology than before. I changed the bad job I had done into something that I am proud of even now. ... I believe that scientists can change fields easily and sometimes make a bigger impact in the new fields they enter. I think it's because people who move do not look at the same problem from the traditional point-of-view. This enables them to come up with unique solutions. We are not trapped by dogma and if we are bold we can rise quickly."
The irreverent Viceland interviews Aubrey de Grey: "Typically, today, the therapies [of regeneration] involve things like injecting stem cells into the spinal cord or the heart in the vicinity of a trauma, to stimulate rebuilding of the damaged tissue, or else wholesale surgical replacement of an organ such as the heart or bladder with one created in the laboratory by tissue engineering. But as we progress, it will broaden to include 'molecular-level' regeneration, such as injecting enzymes (or the genes encoding them, depending on the target tissue) that can break down unwanted molecular byproducts of metabolism that are accumulating in cells as 'garbage' and that eventually impair cell function. In the case of injecting genes, we're talking about the standard techniques being developed for somatic gene therapy for inherited diseases: packaging the new DNA in a virus that worms its way into cells and integrates into the chromosome. (In many cases it will be doable much more safely, however, by performing this manipulation on stem cells outside the body, which can be verified for the correct genetic alteration before being injected.) The type of damage we repair need not be restricted to sudden, trauma-derived damage either - the gradually progressive damage that comprises aging is just as legitimate a target for regenerative medicine."