Comments on Recent Research Relevant to Combating Aging

Commentary on various recently published research relevant to the SENS view of biotechnology to repair and reverse aging appears as an occasional feature at the journal Rejuvenation Research. The latest is open access, so take a look at the PDF format paper, containing commentaries such as this one on a method of wrapping enzymes in polymer nanocapsules to ensure their delivery to specific locations within cells or the body:

The accumulation of recalcitrant waste substances in cells' lysosomes is implicated in a wide spectrum of aging-related diseases, including atherosclerosis, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and many others. Being one of the clearest examples of the build-up of "junk" in aging bodies, it is expected that means to degrade lysosomal waste will be among the first rejuvenation biotechnologies to reach clinical application.

Indeed, the required development time before an effective therapy can be deployed is expected to be so brief that SENS Research Foundation devotes a substantial portion of its budget to identifying and refining enzymes for just this purpose. However, this tight schedule poses a specific problem; it is quite probable that hydrolases effective, for example, against 7-ketocholesterol (the dominant "junk" molecule in atherosclerotic plaque) or A2E18 (predominant in AMD) will be ready for clinical use before safe and effective somatic gene therapy becomes available.

It will therefore be necessary to introduce these garbage-clearing enzymes into patients directly, rather than by genetically engineering the recipient's cells to produce them - an approach termed enzyme replacement therapy, currently in widespread clinical use to treat congenital lysosomal disorders. Of course, enzymes introduced into the body by such methods cannot be replaced once degraded (a particularly rapid fate in the harsh conditions of the lysosome), necessitating regular infusions to maintain their function. The polymer-coating method described in this study enhances the hardiness of the enzymes thus treated, and might be reasonably expected to thus appreciably reduce the required frequency of reintroduction, and/or minimise the dosages required (and hence any side-effects).



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