SENS Research Foundation 2015 Annual Report

The SENS Research Foundation staff have released their annual report for 2015, and as you can no doubt see it marks the beginning of a new phase for the organization, as well as for the field of rejuvenation research as a whole. Everyday people such as you and I have materially supported SENS research programs over the past decade, initially at the Methuselah Foundation and later at the SENS Research Foundation. The most advanced of these lines of research are now beginning to transfer out to startup companies for development of the first round of therapies. Over the next five to ten years we will see at least a few examples make it into trials and clinical practice, and the data on effectiveness will start to roll in.

This is the first of many steps that will see the SENS approach of periodic repair of cell and tissue damage broaden far beyond the SENS Research Foundation and its present allies. The prevention of age-related frailty and disease via these means will eventually become one of the principal pillars of medicine. As this year's Fight Aging! SENS fundraiser nears its launch, it is important to remember that we helped to make this happen: all of us together, over the years. Take a long look at the progress reported by the SENS Research Foundation and see what you have helped to create: meaningful steps towards a world without frailty and suffering.

SENS Research Foundation 2015 Annual Report (PDF)

Creating partnerships and collaborations to accelerate research

As the landscape of rejuvenation biotechnology broadens, we are seeing increasing opportunities for technology transfer and infrastructure-building efforts, across several categories of transaction.

1) We provide small seed funds - alone or with other funding sources - to companies able to perform mission-related research and development, saving costs against expanding our internal programs. Our research program on Advanced Macular Degeneration has been transferred using this approach, allowing further investigation whilst freeing up our own resources to focus on our next priority.

2) We have supplied small amounts of loan funding to private companies that are developing infrastructure for the rejuvenation biotechnology industry. This includes a loan to assist in the establishment of a tissue cryopreservation company that is working towards the creation of a supply chain for artificial organs.

3) We transfer appropriately mature research to well funded start-up companies pursuing specific disease fields, in return for a stake in those companies.

Case study: technology transfer to Human Rejuvenation Technologies, Inc.

SENS Research Foundation's LysoSENS program had been investigating methods of removal of unwanted intracellular aggregates since 2009. One project focused on aggregates that are the key drivers of the damage underlying plaque formation in atherosclerosis. Removing these aggregates from the immune cells that they disable would reduce plaque formation and dramatically lower the prevalence of heart disease. The project had successfully identified a non-human enzyme that was effective at eliminating some of these aggregates. It became clear that the research was at a stage where significant further investment could greatly accelerate progress, and that such investment could be achieved by transferring the research into a private company. This was done in 2014, when Jason Hope - himself a longterm supporter of the Foundation - formed Human Rejuvenation Technologies, Inc. (HRT). The technologies developed by the Foundation were transferred to HRT in return for a 10% stake in the company.

Case study: seed funding for Oisin Biotech

SENS Research Foundation was considering the creation of an internal project to investigate novel rejuvenation biotechnology solutions to the ablation of senescent cells. Instead we helped in the creation of Oisin Biotech, providing seed funding along with the Methuselah Foundation. Oisin is using licensed liposome technology matched with their own patent-pending DNA construct to perform apoptosis-induced eradication of senescent cells. They have demonstrated that their construct can selectively target senescent cells in vitro.

Delivering a mature and engaged research program

SENS Research Foundation supports a global research effort. Our own scientists are based in our Mountain View, California facility and we fund researchers at field-leading institutions around the world. As we age, we accumulate decades of unrepaired damage to the cellular and molecular structures of our bodies. The types of damage are few in number - we count seven, currently - but cause a great many diseases of aging, including cancer, Alzheimer's and atherosclerosis. Rejuvenation biotechnologies target this underlying damage, restoring the normal functioning of our bodies' cells and essential biomolecules. As preventative interventions they halt the harmful accumulation of damage, stopping disease before it ever starts. Damage and disease have a many-to-many relationship. That simply means that sometimes one type of damage can cause multiple diseases and sometimes one disease is caused by multiple types of damage.

Foundation-funded research includes teams which are:

1) Developing a regenerative medicine approach to treating inflammatory bowel disease, creating underlying technologies vital for future approaches to cancer.

2) Creating therapeutic approaches to intracellular aggregates which build up over time and compromise the functioning of cells in the brain, heart, and muscles.

3) Engineering healthy new tissue for the thymus, helping to restore the vigorous immune response of youth.

4) Engineering new mitochondrial genes to restore function to damaged mitochondria - a source of age-related disease and currently incurable inherited disorders.

5) Exploring non-invasive approaches to the diagnosis and monitoring of certain underdiagnosed forms of heart disease - avoiding the need for cardiac biopsy - and identifying.

6) Ways to remove aggregates which lead to impaired heart function.

7) Understanding the genetic basis of certain cancers which rely on a mechanism called ALT (alternative lengthening of telomeres), to pave the way for new cancer treatments.

8) Developing the tools needed to create therapies which reduce hypertension, stroke and
kidney disease by breaking molecular crosslinks which cause arteries to stiffen with age.

The report contains much longer summaries of current research programs, which are well worth reading. These are exciting times we live in, and it is very welcome to see the work and support of past years beginning to pay off today. As we gear up for this year's fundraiser, starting on October 1st, bear this all in mind. Donating to the SENS Research Foundation this year helps to build the foundation for tomorrows' advances in treating aging. There is no better way I know of to put money to good use.

Comments

Insightful summary. It's always good to remember that the SRF is focused on their mission, and to that end, engaged into a diversification strategy.

Diversification not only of the research areas, but also of the research efforts and funding efforts. Externalising, offloading, exchanging IP for stakes, etc. with the goal of accelerating research, translating it into treatments and getting additional revenue streams.

Posted by: Nico at September 8th, 2015 12:14 PM

Great stuff. It would be nice if the HRT website had a bit more info on it, at the moment its as plain as a Bulgarian pin up! Is delivery AAV for example?

There is another contender for amyloid clearing on in testing at the moment too, GAIM technology by neurophage under testing at MJ Fox which can clear a number of plaques. Has SENS consdred using this?

Posted by: Steve H at September 8th, 2015 12:41 PM

Great and encouraging report. Nice to see how the list of donors grew from last year's.

Posted by: Antonio at September 8th, 2015 1:13 PM

Hi Steve,

(First, to be clear, MJFF is not itself testing the GAIM antibody: their role, for which we should all be very grateful, has been to provide a substantial amount of the funding to NeuroPhage to help developing it, as it shows promise (along with several other rejuvenation biotechnologies targeting alpha-synuclein, a key form of extracellular as well as intracellular aggregate involved in Parkinson's and contributing to the degenerative aging of the brain in all of us).

To answer your question: happily, SENS Research Foundation doesn't have to place its limited chips on any one horse: there are, right now, a remarkably high number of rejuvenation biotechnologies targeting the major neurological intracellular and extracellular aggregates (including beta-amyloid, α-synuclein, and malformed tau) that are now in human clinical trials, and several others at various stages of animal testing: we can let the science play itself out, and focus our still-limited resources on therapies in the SENS platform that haven't yet attracted such strong investment from other actors, such as rendering mitochondrial mutations harmless, catalytic antibodies targeting senile cardiac (TTR) amyloid, etc, along with projects to help guide such investments such as our heterochronic isolated-plasma-exhchange project and our work on epimutations at AECOM (see the new 2015 SENS Research Foundation Annual Report, to which Reason has just directed everyone, for brief summaries, and look for more details later this year).

Posted by: Michael at September 8th, 2015 1:26 PM

Hi Michael. Do you know when there will be a SENS7 conference? Or was it substituted for the one-day conference referred to in the report?

Posted by: Antonio at September 8th, 2015 2:56 PM

@Michael yeah sorry I meant MJF is funding GAIM not testing, I don't know why I said testing considering I just finished a grant proposal to MJF for PD! I share your optimism for neurological conditions it is really making strides. I do wonder if the GAIM technology may translate into plaque clearing in arteries too.

I would very much like to hear more about HRT and the plaque clearing, is this something that perhaps we should crowd fund on lifespan.io? Maybe you or Jason could comment on helping fast track this?

Posted by: Steve H at September 9th, 2015 6:50 AM

@Antonio: note that the one-day summit mentioned in the report is said to be happening "this year" in conjunction with RB2015. It did ;) , and was even more productive than expected: we would've been happy if it had just gotten the Research Advisory Board members to interact with each other more and start thinking about how their work fits into the larger SENS platform of rejuvenation biotechnologies when evaluating research proposals, how they could be doing more interdisciplinary work within the platform, and how this should affect the direction of their own work. It generated a quite remarkable and entirely unexpected depth of quality ideas for the Foundation and for each of them, which we'll be mining for some time.

That said, I don't know if there will be a SENS7 in 2016: we have decided we definitely will be doing RB2016, that certainly makes it harder to organize something in the SENS Biomedical Conference series next year on top of that — but not impossible.

@Steve H:

• If you don't mind my asking, what was your MJFF grant proposal about?

• GAIM really can't be applied to clearing the aggregates from foam cells in atherosclerotic lesions: GAIM's beauty is that it quite specifically targets amyloid proteins, which the aggregates in the foam cell lysosome are not (which is not to say there are no amyloid proteins therein — just that they aren't the main actors and are probably well down the list of targets), and its power is as a targeting system, which isn't a problem in the lysosome: they're already either trapped inside the lysosome or embedded in its membrane, which is exactly the problem.

• Human Rejuvenation Technologies: Cf. my previous comments about HRT: Jason Hope and they will be making their own press releases, not issuing them through me ;) . I don't know his mind on this, but my guess would be that since he has plenty of money to pursue research at this stage, and since crowdfunding would probably entail some disclosure and (since he's a for-profit) some share of the eventual IPO, I would expect that he's more likely to want to hold the full investment himself until he absolutely requires a lot more funding — and then to go for a small number of large investors, not the reverse.

I emphasize, again, that this is a guess: I honestly haven't asked him and haven't heard anything through the grapevine, and I am not even a fellow Silicon Valley millionaire biotech startup venture capitalist ;) .

Posted by: Michael at September 10th, 2015 12:37 PM

Thanks Michael appreciate the reply. Mjff grant is for treating Parkinson's using msc modified by gene therapy to express more factor h.

Posted by: Steve h at September 11th, 2015 12:14 AM

I read that interview earlier Adrian. I don't think it was anything special... Most of the interviews lately sound like the same thing, just on a different site. My main concern/criticism with one part of is about the social consequences. Aubrey de Grey seems to kind of understates them I think. I LOVE the idea that he wants therapies to be available to everyone. I think everyone should be entitled to a long, healthy life without disease. It's pretty much what science has been working and spending billions upon billions of dollars on. But I don't think that will happen, given that there are plenty of people in this world that don't have access to basic vaccines and care that most of us seem to take for granted. At least not at the same time as others get it. I'd love to be wrong though. I don't think this is a reason to stop research or anything like that, I just think it could be a bumpy ride for a while depending on where you live.

I fear that might be a big problem, but I've talked to Michael about this, and he didn't seem to be as worried due to how SENS will likely be administered. I just worry about public opinion holding things back longer than necessary.

Posted by: Ham at September 11th, 2015 3:06 PM

I posted a plug in the comments section of the above de Grey interview to attract people to the crowdfunding campaign. Hopefully more people will see it and join in.

Posted by: Morpheus at September 11th, 2015 3:40 PM

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