George Church on Genetics, Rejuvenation Research, and More

George Church is an important figure in the field of genetics, and in recent years has become more vocal in his support for rejuvenation research. He is presently on the advisory board of the SENS Research Foundation, and in this broad article on the near future of medical research you'll find some of his thoughts on aging research:

Aging reversal is a big project both in my lab and in one of our startup companies. This is not about wellness or drugs that affect diseases of aging, which are effects rather than causes; it's trying to get at the causes of aging and reverse them. And there are a fair number of precedents for this in animals, but the idea is to get it transferred to humans.

Reversal of aging: Some examples of this are if you take blood from a young mouse and exchange it with an old mouse. The small molecules, macromolecules, and cells in the blood result in a variety of biomarkers of aging being reversed. You can affect the vasculature, the blood vessels, the nerves, skeletal and cardiac muscles, and there are measures of these that indicate that it's not just prolonging a very aged state or going for longevity; you're actually reversing it.

This is a much better target, in any case, than prolonging longevity because, A, it takes years to decades to even prove that you have extended longevity. Also, if you've done it on somebody that's quite old, the economic consequences are dire; that's the part of your life where you spend huge amounts on medicine and don't improve the quality of life tremendously. If you can reverse it to an age where you essentially don't use any medicine, this will be much more cost effective.

Link: https://www.edge.org/conversation/george_church-the-augmented-human-being

Comments

Hey all ! Interesting.

''Aging reversal is a big project both in my lab and in one of our startup companies. This is not about wellness or drugs that affect diseases of aging, which are effects rather than causes; it's trying to get at the causes of aging and reverse them''

''Back to The Future of Where It Matters In The Very Long Run For Healthy People (Who Matter Too)''

Thank goodness, what I have been waiting for (and I hope this is For humans/translatable, not just in mouse or tiny insects). I don't want to put down the imperative of finding cures for diseases immediately to help (long) sick(ened) people who suffer immensely and which I can only imagine their indescribable afflicting pain, figurative or physical (or both) amputation, ill, hurt and decrepitude. The Perfect Health - for everyone - is crucial.

I was just afraid that George Church or other people working on aging were falling off the earth/radar to slowly spend all time of curing all diseases (though it is understandable and is an effort transfer). It really is what has happening as researchers realized they can't do sh..about Aging itself; except SENS and a few others. It is So Good that both (aging and curing diseases) can be worked on and that, while we cure diseases, we allow a certain amount of progress on aging (and that is other than SENS itself; SENS is the cornerstone driver of biorejuvenation, and the others, can find their own ways around that or emulate/make facsimile homologuous therapies with same end-result; if any company can make all SENS therapies even before SENS itself than all the better; the faster the better, who cares who it is; it's time that is of essence, we don't have an eternity in life - only in eternal death; and many are dying like right now as I write this - which is so surreal and freaky like - to know I can type this, healthily enough (lucky, I know it and always grateful to life, god, and everything for allowing me to live while others eat dust, spit and writhe in terrorizing deathly pain) and others are dying as I type one second after another. Of course, they mostly die of mutations and diseases; so thus yes, curing diseases is most important; but, intrinsical biological organismal aging is still extremelllly important - it's how we will defy death in healthy people who have, luckily, live long lives compared to most animals but, unluckily (compared to negligently-senescent immortal jellyfish or methuselah semi-eternal trees) die anyways,
one day or another at the MLSP limit; like most mammals). I seriously hope there is more 'getting back' to what made biogerontology it's true quest : searching to make the impossible possible - beating death once and for all. whether we coined that LEV'-EL- Me - Up!, Immortality is Sweet, Eternal Life, Repeated Rejuvenation, UnDying Me, DeAging 101, Living The Good Good Life,
High Fivin' on all Five each Day 4 Ever, See You Next Millennium; Live Fast Die Never,
Live Hard 2 : Live With a Vengeance Featuring Bruce WillToLive
or ''Like - a - boring - life - like - for - ever - is - like - worse - than - death - ;like (you won't, like,... Like that, like, at all... like. So get busy doing things, you Like, not just like, a little, but really Like Like!!)... like...get my drift ?''.

: D

I just hope that this particular aging research here is not misplaced, because George Church is talking about parabiosis; and studies on that were dead ends. GDF11 and a couple of young blood stem cell and growth factors were what rejuvenated the body of grafted 'siamesed' old mouse to a young one. This parabiosis cannot stop aging sadly, in both young or old mouse. It really is partial rejuvenation and it cannot stop LEV either. Showing damages win over everything.

What's more intriguing is his work on Mammoths babie cadavers and bring back
Jurassic Park/Mammoth Park soon; I await that he brings back extinct species like he said (Neanderthal could be next !!! Biology never ceases to amaze like a gift that keeps on giving; although sometimes that gift that can be less thrilling and come with unforeseen 'bad' surprises. But that's life, we must roll with the punches and evolve/adapt to new stuff; motto ''come what may'').
Still, it's ultra more important he dedicates time to totally reversing aging than making a T-Rex pettable at the local jurassic zoo (at your own risk).

Posted by: CANanonymity at April 11th, 2016 9:13 AM

Church's group modified more than 20 genes in pig embryos, including genes that encode proteins that sit on the surface of pig cells and are known to trigger a human immune response or cause blood clotting. This will, certainly, help to successfully grow young human organs in pigs or sheeps for transplantation. However, the remaining nonhuman animal cells in the transplanted organs may be harmful to the human body, and therefore all of animal cells must be removed. So, there is a great need in the creation of pigs and goats, whose cells can not survive unless given an unnatural amino acid or some drug harmless to humans. These animals are needed to grow in them young human organs for transplantation.
After (or before) transplantation of the desired organ all the cells of such an animal can be gradually removed by reduction in maintenance therapy of this noncanonical amino acid and replaced by the cells of the recipient of the transplant in vivo or in vitro.
Тechnology for these purposes similar to shown below,(reengineering TEM-1 β-lactamase to be dependent on a noncanonical amino acids), perhaps may be applied also to animals:
Drew S Tack et al., (2016). Addicting diverse bacteria to a noncanonical amino acid. Nature Chemical Biology 12, 138-140 doi:10.1038/nchembio.2002 http://www.nature.com/nchembio/journal/v12/n3/full/nchembio.2002.html

Posted by: Dmitry Dzhagarov at April 16th, 2016 3:03 PM

@Dimitry: I think you're losing track of the idea, which is to implant the embryos into sows' uteri and grow up a mature pig for use as a donor for organs into humans. Remember that this will mean that all of the cells in each and every organ of that pig will bear the same changes in them as were made in the original embryo. By inactivating endogenous retroviruses and proteins coding for the main potentially immunologically-reactive proteins from the embryos, the expectation is that if the ensuing pigs are viable, their organs would be immunologically at least as compatible with human hosts as transplanted organs from immunologically compatible blood groups, and potentially more so depending on how many immunoreactive proteins can be identified and modified while maintaining pig viability.

Posted by: Michael at April 16th, 2016 5:15 PM

Post a comment; thoughtful, considered opinions are valued. New comments can be edited for a few minutes following submission. Comments incorporating ad hominem attacks, advertising, and other forms of inappropriate behavior are likely to be deleted.

Note that there is a comment feed for those who like to keep up with conversations.