Two Months Left Until the SENS5 Conference

The fifth Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS) Conference, SENS5, draws closer. It will be held from 31st August to 4th September at Queens' College in Cambridge - so there's still time to register.

The purpose of the SENS conference series, like all the SENS initiatives (such as the journal Rejuvenation Research), is to expedite the development of truly effective therapies to postpone and treat human aging by tackling it as an engineering problem: not seeking elusive and probably illusory magic bullets, but instead enumerating the accumulating molecular and cellular changes that eventually kill us and identifying ways to repair - to reverse - those changes, rather than merely to slow down their further accumulation. This broadly defined regenerative medicine - which includes the repair of living cells and extracellular material in situ - applied to damage of aging, is what we refer to as rejuvenation biotechnologies.

The program of presentations links to a range of interesting abstracts describing some of the important work that has taken place in the couple of years since SENS4, such as:

Tissue engineering of the liver using decellularised scaffolds

Here, we describe the fabrication of three-dimensional, naturally derived scaffolds with an intact vascular tree. ... The vascular network was used to reseed the scaffolds with human fetal liver and endothelial cells. These cells engrafted in their putative native locations within the decellularized organ and displayed typical endothelial, hepatic and biliary epithelial markers, thus creating a liver-like tissue in vitro.

MitoSENS: Allotopic expression of mitochondrial genes using a co-translational import strategy

The mitochondrion contains its own genome and encodes 13 proteins that are essential for the respiratory chain to function properly, [but] somatic mutations also accumulate in the mitochondria with normal aging. ... Thus far, we have stably transfected 5 of the 13 mitochondrial genes into the nuclear genome of human cell lines and are characterizing the expression and function of these exogenously expressed genes.

I also note that the group in Florida who are running a trial of granulocyte transplant therapy for cancer - based on the impressive results achieved by Zheng Cui - will also be presenting. On the whole, the program is well worth browsing. If you are interested in this field of science and biotechnology and you are not yet signed up for the conference, you should give some thought to attending.

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