Human Longevity Inc. is a Personalized Medicine Company

Human Longevity Inc. (HLI) is a young company with a lot of funding that will be using genetics to produce a platform for personalized medicine and investigation of disease mechanisms, with a focus on age-related disease. Unfortunately, as I've noted in the past, this sort of use of genetics in the present research mainstream, which is to say the entirely correct scientific impetus towards building a comprehensive and complete map of human molecular biochemistry, is not the road towards effective extension of human life spans. Some of the Human Longevity principals have in the past talked a good game when it comes to the desire to meaningful extend human life span, but that simply isn't an outcome that is possible or plausible given what they are doing. What is plausible and possible is incremental progress in the expensive and futile approach of patching over age-related disease without addressing root causes, better diagnostics, and a great deal of new information about the details of the overlap of metabolism, genetics, and aging - how and why natural variations in longevity exist.

Understanding natural variations in longevity doesn't give researchers the ability to create radical life extension, people living to 150 and beyond in excellent health. Neither would even perfect diagnostic ability, a complete and transparent view of what is going on in our biochemistry. The only way to control, prevent, and reverse aging to fix the causes of aging, the molecular damage that accumulates to cause dysfunction, damage, and disease. The research community knows how to do this, and classes of potential therapies are outlined in great detail in the SENS research programs and elsewhere. For entirely cultural reasons, however, work on such rejuvenation treatments is a minority field and little funded. We can hope that as it produces results, as is the case for the senescent cell clearance component of SENS at the moment, and as the mainstream approach of tinkering and understanding metabolism continues to fail to produce results, SENS will take over the mainstream. It is a slow and frustrating process, however.

Now that a large funding round for Human Longevity Inc. has been completed, we are seeing more articles on their technology; VCs and founders tend to like to talk up their positions. This is one of the more informative pieces:

So far, HLI has amassed the sequences of around 20,000 whole genomes, says Craig Venter. But, of course, he wants even more. The company has room for more sequencing facilities on its third floor and is considering a second center in Singapore, planning to rapidly scale to sequencing the genomes of 100,000 people per year - whether children, adults or centenarians, and including both those with disease and those who are healthy. By 2020, Venter aims to have sequenced a million genomes. Despite the scale of its ambitions, HLI would be just another company offering DNA sequencing and testing if it were not for the fact that Venter is systematically linking DNA information to a diverse range of other medical data about each patient, gathered in what he calls a Health Nucleus. With this, Venter wants to move from basic genetics to impacting individual lives "very directly," he says. "The most important part of that is nothing to do with the genome directly, but measuring phenotype and physiology and understanding their medical risk. That is what the Health Nucleus is all about."

The Health Nucleus adds yet more data using non-invasive tests. My tour begins with the room where HLI conducts a total body scan to create the avatars that inhabit its app. We pass through a succession of white rooms. There's one where magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are shown, revealing visceral fat (which is linked to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease), muscle volume, grey matter, white matter and more. Venter is happy for his "age-related atrophy" report to be displayed here on a screen, given the good news about how young his brain looks.

So far, Venter and a handful of patients have passed through the Nucleus. Targeted initially at self-insured executives and athletes, a full health scan will be priced at $25,000. "We will be developing the evidence around this to make the case for preventive medicine." Criticisms of such extensive screening stem from the conservative nature of the medical community, notably when it comes to keeping the costs of screening under control. "That is the medical establishment saying: we want to keep doing what we do, we want to see people after they develop symptoms and have something wrong with them. The human longevity approach is the exact opposite."

Ray Kurzweil is one of HLI's advisors. Does Venter buy into his visions for radical life extension? No. Kurzweil's view is interesting but does not change a thing Venter does on a daily basis. Though Venter wants to see the kind of step change in health last witnessed between 1910 and 2010, when improvements in medicine and sanitation increased the average lifespan from around 50 to 75 years, life extension is not the primary objective, he stresses. As his 70th birthday approaches, Venter is only too aware of his own mortality. While his mother, aged 92, is "still pretty bright" despite a stroke, his father only lived to 59 as a result of sudden cardiac death. "I am now ten years beyond that," he says with a chuckle of satisfaction. But if you really want immortality, he adds, "do something meaningful with your life".

Link: http://qz.com/663528/biotechs-quest-to-put-a-new-spin-on-old-age/

Comments

HLI is confusing, because the people involved all say something different. You have Venter who says things like this: "The real goal is quality of old age, not quantity, he explains. The planet is struggling to support the human population as it is. When men can live to 200, "we might have to castrate all of them," Then you have Brad Perkins giving speeches on how people could potentially live to 200 via genetics.

I get a sinking feeling that whatever is going to come out of the longevity field in the foreseeable future will follow that "quality, not quantity" mantra, and not really look to actually extend lifespan(which being healthier for longer is still good...), just healthy years. We'll see I guess.

Posted by: Ham at April 18th, 2016 10:18 AM

Hey interesting! Thought-provoking,

"That is the medical establishment saying: we want to keep doing what we do, we want to see people after they develop symptoms and have something wrong with them. The human longevity approach is the exact opposite."

It's great there is a change in mindset, with even medical people realizing they are fooling themselves if they can keep on cashing on people/prescribing temporary quickfix to slow ills...

it's one good reason why longevity/lifespan extension is slow as a snail to progress and get more funding. Big pharma and a-pill-for-your-ill want to keep making cash from your (sick dying) body and keep you sick - enough, to sell you more pills when you get sick again and ask for another one, 'one more!...oops your dead...well, next.. we'll find another (poor sucker) 'victim' to extorq cash and soul, life-sucking from them' a vicious circle; so like you say, they just continue patching on and on diseases with pills in drugstores/pharmacies/hospitals (hospitals 'want' you to comeback (sick) visit them, keeps it rolling and filled), never adressing the problem (of aging causing all of this) at the source that would eliminate all these disease - and eliminate this 'stay ill we got a pill' big pharma money machine and doctor pill prescription trap. Billions off dollars by this industry would disappear as it would implode by the end of it, by healhy lifespan extension through rejuvenation or some other method of all types of damage strong reduction. They do not want that to happen, ever; thus, much like smoking cigarette makes who vanished or petrol companies who stole patents on electric cars, they will stay around to sell you a disease pill (a bit playing like 'devil's advocate'), while you get rejuvenated to never take that pill and so never step 1 foot in a hospital for your life.

"We will be developing the evidence around this to make the case for preventive medicine." Criticisms of such extensive screening stem from the conservative nature of the medical community''

It's about time it changes to that, advanced preventive health status medecine is better than quick-fix-pill medecine; but rejuvenative medecine is even better than all of that.

''...change in health last witnessed between 1910 and 2010, when improvements in medicine and sanitation increased the average lifespan from around 50 to 75 years,
life extension is not the primary objective, he stresses''

Darn...sigh. 'The health for you and do your duty and die like planned after' mentality; way to burst my bubble/kill my day, ok, for now I'll accept it. Life extension is at least one major objective of SENS so at least there is that. It should become a primary objective down the road (like it always was in reality...Babylonians 4000 years ago spoke of immortality with artistic hieroglyphs sculpted on their walls. Then it was a dream, a fantasy, today, it's a dream too, but not so much sci-fi fantasy hieroglyphs anymore. It's still very very much unlikely in our lifetime; but long life is the future; perhaps two or three centuries lifespans are within the hundred next years).

''As his 70th birthday approaches, Venter is only too aware of his own mortality. While his mother, aged 92, is "still pretty bright" despite a stroke, his father only lived to 59 as a result of sudden cardiac death. "I am now ten years beyond that," he says with a chuckle of satisfaction''

This gives me glimpse hope even if it's pure luck of the draw genetic russian roulette...that my genetics may make me live longer on father side...I'm basically in reverse one-parent-still-alive situation of this person. My mother died at 56 years old of cancer. My father is alive and is same Kurzweil's age (70). But, my paternal grand-ma, lived to the age of his
still-alive mother, 92 year old too, and died there (at 92) in 1998 (today, if alive, she would be supercentenarian 110 year old and could be the mother of his mother, the reason for that is because she had my father extremely late (at 41 years old), so was born at the start of the 20th century (1906)).

''...What is plausible and possible is incremental progress in the expensive and futile approach of patching over age-related disease without addressing root causes.''

Exactly put. : )

''We can hope that as it produces results, as is the case for the senescent cell clearance component of SENS at the moment, and as the mainstream approach of tinkering and understanding metabolism continues to fail to produce results''

I have a hope in senescence cell clearance but only as mediator of health improvement for that therapy, like queretin and dasatinib do, they slow stress/replicative senescence....

after much research (yesterday and this weekend) I made a strong realization, biological aging is important, but not as important, in isolation (like per cell basis, many cells die and are replaced doesn't mean we die either...what is important is continuous repair and division, and maintenance) i mean. Organismal aging (the organs in your body) is far more important, as such replicative senescence bears mild impact on the most important factor :

Chronological aging. Chronological aging, in mammals, is far easier too witness and predict, to predict mortality, disease-mortality and year of death.
That is very strong correlation to determine intrinsic aging, which is based on the fact that as we age we get diseases; the period of aging, after adult onset is where they mostly show up as the system is compromised. Chronological aging is more powerful because it is affected by both diseases and 'Aging' mechanism. The reason for that is because we can infer 'where' the damage matters to chronological aging - and that is the mitochondrias. They emanate/propagate the oxidative species that put a downward/intra/to-extra-cellular cascade of macro-molecular damage.

''Neither would even perfect diagnostic ability, a complete and transparent view of what is going on in our biochemistry''.

The most important is mitochondria's, they create the energy, if we lack it we die. If they become damaged we die too. They are the 'heart' of this damage to chronological lifespan in all mammals. Mitochondrias produce lipofuscin (which clogs lysosomes) after destroying their own membranes through lipoperoxidation of highly susceptible oxidizing-polyunsaturated fatty acids (DHA, EPA, ARA) in their phospholipids (it,s the basis for homeoviscous membrane and membrane pacemaker theories, which alter metabolism speed (through lipid reodering affecting membrane kinetics) that is also in correlation to chronological aging). In fact, I discovered that mitochondrial H2O2 in their Complex I,II, III of ETC, is the most crucial and important predictor of chronological lifespan in many mammals with varying MLSPs. It's 'the food' that activates the entire 'damage/aging' cascade that makes us age. And more importantly, mtH2O2 *rises* with age because of a feedback where the mitochondrias 'hurt themselves' through producing hydrogen peroxide (not hydroxyls, oxide, superoxide anions only hydrogen peroxide, it's also why catalase (H2O2 enzyme quencher is strongly related to MLSP since it curtails mitochondrial dysfunction with age). What drives this production is :
- mitochondrial (mt) membrane peroxidizability index (unsaturation)
- mt membrane potential (energy and ROS produced by the membrane
- mt NAD+/NAD(P)H redox coupling which is used to quench cell in reduced state
increasing redox GSH:GSSG couple
- enzyme quenchers (MnSOD, CATALASE)
Cytosol is also immportant in that but studies have showed something weird:
increased ROS in cytosol and decreased ROS in mitochondria paradox. Showig that certain ROS themselves act to signal and 'reduce' other ROS depending on sub-mitochondrial and sub-cellular compartment, weird indeed. bUt that's chemistry quenching for another day. Aging is more complex and clsterfk than we thought. It's better to act on 'one master switch' that will untangle this giant gene labyrinth.

Mitochondrial and Cytoplasmic ROS Have Opposing Effects on Lifespan ...
1. http://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1004972

Reactive oxygen species and redox compartmentalization ...
2. http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fphys.2014.00285/full

Posted by: CANanonymity at April 18th, 2016 11:18 AM

Hi Ham !

'' I get a sinking feeling that whatever is going to come out of the longevity field in the foreseeable future will follow that "quality, not quantity" mantra, and not really look to actually extend lifespan(which being healthier for longer is still good...), just healthy years. We'll see I guess.''

Exactly, I feel you man and feel the sammme way; I fear that but let's hope. If LEV can be beaten and, most likely will (Michael told me it's most important to remove all types of damages - to a comprehensive leve...so enough - of all the types of damages - and yes now you increase maximum lifespan..so this Will happen...that we can remove all types of damages - enough (comprehesive robust human rejuvenation RMR RHR) that we will extend healthy lifespan - or put another chronological lifespan too - and thus increase the human maximum lifespan.

Posted by: CANanonymity at April 18th, 2016 11:23 AM

Ps: one more thing on which there is ambiguity still, Chronological lifespan shows more apoptosis than senescence (for example in drosophila flies, maximal chronological lifespan shows cell apoptosis, not cell replicative senescence to correlate with end of life); which shows that apoptosis is more the decider in the species' max. lifespan limit. Making senescence cell clearance SENS will improve health and average life but not (so sure) on maximal specie lifespan extension. Still, this is just one therapy, and health must be safe-guarded as part of all the therapies' goal. As for mitochondrial mutations that do not reduce chronological lifespan (like mitochondrial DNa deletions or certain lesions), it may mean that the system 'can live with it' and it is not enough to tip the balance towards total unstability/catastrope but it will have health complications on the person's life, just less on chronological lifespan (because chronological lifespan is bound by diseases showing up and suddenly 'limiting lifespan potential' too).

''Mitochondria are known to play an important role in chronological lifespan and apoptosis''

Mitochondrial dysfunction leads to reduced chronological lifespan and increased apoptosis in yeast.
3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19059240

Posted by: CANanonymity at April 18th, 2016 12:12 PM

Hi Dmitry !

This one is one of the best ones (blood telomeres ultra-short in supercentenarian woman 115 years old, although it does show telomeres are a limiting factor - but if you increase chronological lifespan, telomere rate of loss/shortening drastically reduces too - because mitochondrias produce rising H2O2 which increases telomere shortening) :

4. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2611440/Unlocking-ageing-code-Scientists-uncover-clues-limits-human-life-studying-mutations-blood-115-year-old.html

Posted by: CANanonymity at April 18th, 2016 12:18 PM

To be clear, I'm not necessarily talking about maximum lifespan, per se. It would be great of course, but if that's not in the cards for the foreseeable future, I'd be somewhat content for the time being if I actually had decent chances of seeing 120 in functioning health, instead of lets say 85 or 90 if extremely lucky. Will the "quality, not quantity" method push expectancy up a bit past 80ish to 100, but not over 120? Maybe, since you'd likely be healthier longer, but who knows?

Posted by: Ham at April 18th, 2016 12:25 PM

@Dmitry Dzhagarov

Thanks for the link ! Wow, 120 years old woman, Babuwka is born 1896...basically she is born 10 years earlier than my grand-ma ,1906 (like an old sister)! lol and she is still alive !.. She may beat Jeanne Calment, the French lady with record 122 year old and 164 days 'verified' MLSP human specie max. Just 2 year away!

Cicilia Laurent is another one 120 years old, she lives here, she is from Haïti.

5. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/oldest-living-person-cicilia-laurent-1.3428108

Posted by: CANanonymity at April 18th, 2016 12:31 PM

Susannah Mushatt Jones American supercentenarian from NY 116 years old
she never smokes and drinks, she eats bacon every day (that would have killed me so long ago, and I don't smome or drink either..proof is it's all luck of the genetics inheritance...because Jeanne Calment smoked 100 years from 20 to a 100 and made it a 122 oldest human ever...family genes precedence in late life and early life is deterministic over environment and lifechoices).

6. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/susannah-mushatt-jones-worlds-oldest-person-says-that-she-eats-bacon-every-day-a6709751.html

Posted by: CANanonymity at April 18th, 2016 12:39 PM

If Human Longevity can extend a middle age person an extra 10 years within 10 years so we can make it to LEV, I am for it. I realize it is not the end all solution but if it is a company extending out a hand to help us older people to make it to rejuvenation, I don't see any other options other than Cryonics and I hope not to take that route.

Posted by: Robert Church at April 18th, 2016 1:42 PM

@Ham

If the 'quality over quantity' method cannot cover all the types of damages, no matter how strong it is it will not allow humans to live above their specie maximum of 120-130 years. If it cover them all - and enough that most of these damages are reduced enough too (no need for Total Removal/Repair...Partial Removal/Repair is Sufficient enough to induce RHR robust human rejuvenation by a comprehensive (sufficient enough) all types of damage-level reduction/repair).

Maximum lifespan is in fact an anomaly. Varying Chronological lifespans in individuals of the "same" specie demonstrate that.
What I mean by that is that earlier dying individuals burn the candles faster and, thus, longer lived in-specie individuals conserve organ resources 'spreading them slowly over a longer span, allowing a longer life than other short-lived individuals'.

Now, with that said, maximum lifespan and, more precisely chronological lifespan, is dictated by these resources conservation to maintain organ function. Chronological lifespan, and also maximum lifespan, is modulated by mitochondrial hydrogen peroxide release. Making a case against 'a limit' or human 'maximum'. When you alter mitochondrial hydrogen peroxide release you alter maximum lifespan, making any individual surpass average span, healthspan, chronological lifespan and maximum lifespan too. It is not a'fixed' number where at 123 you drop dead. A.Islandica clam lives 508 years and a house fly lives 60 days '"maximum lifespan''. Mitochondrial hydrogen peroxide release is 300 times higher in fly thorax and head mitochondrias. It thus lives a chronological lifespan thousand folds less than a oyster clam. Demonstrating you do the mileage with what you got and push it as much as you can. Thus, maximum lifespan does not really exist, a good thing if we wish to reach a half-millenia lifespan like a clam.

Posted by: CANanonymity at April 18th, 2016 4:07 PM

Yes, I know 122 isn't an absolute number, it's just the highest that we know of. I wasn't expecting the 'quality over quantity' method to really enable people to live past 120ish. What I was getting at was... if that route is going to allow people to be healthier, for longer that means it's probably slowing down some of the processes of aging (not reversing), so I wonder how much longer that health would be, and if it would enable you to be healthier into your 90s, for example. I would assume even slowing of the processes would allow for a longer expectancy (not lifespan). Or would it just be 'compression of morbidity' and you're relatively healthy until 80, then drop dead around 81 or 82 without 10 years of chronic illness?

Posted by: Ham at April 18th, 2016 4:39 PM

@Robert Church

Hi Robert !

I can imagine and sympathize with you... I don't know what to say,
chronological lifespan can be altered mid-way too; middle-aged or elderly-aged people puzzle me since we damage accrual game wins this, if we get to LEV we can save them. 10 years is a short time to such a revolution change, LEV could in theory allow near eternal life as it would 'rig' chronological lifespan, creating a clever loop 'backdoor' 'non-true' 'rewind to past-repeat' solution in the aging/death riddle. AdG and everyone seemed to put that at 50/50 chance in 20 or so years; without progress slippage and enough funds. It's sadly a bargain and luck proposal, we can only talk about it to make the rich private individuals decide it's worth investing in SENS LEV RHR. And ,as some said, for investors to risk their money, they need tangible results to convince them to lend their cash (words and theories are 'risk' and don't convince them they will make profit (ROI, return on investment), if SENS just creates one single working testable therapy as proof/validity to their (SENS) Strategies Engineered for Negligent Senescence to be true; the doors to their pockets will now be wide open. We can only hold on to hope and, like you said, if all else fails in the window of time remaining; go with cryonics, we die anyways, so what's worse than trying it and maybe being revived in year 2500.

Posted by: CANanonymity at April 18th, 2016 4:52 PM

@Ham

Good question ! Many studies show compression of morbidity is what is in store. Chronological aging responds to
that by showing the 'period of health decline' is generally after natural selection specie survival procreation has been accomplished and the individual can be disposed of; which is age at sexual maturation (puberty is about it as teens have made children). Your health decline is still acceptable upwards to 40-50, then you can start suffering some light complications that you adapt to; by 70, things accelerate dramatically in terms of health quality degradation...till you die fully unhealthy at 80-90.
CR studies showed morbidity compression allowing the animal - not only reduced mortality, improved health, post-poning of disease onset and - also, maximum lifespan increase in some species, not all though because of different specie incompatibility and non-translatability (because of different evolutionary specie survival strategies). Still, CR works its magic in part through mitochondrial hydrogen peroxide release reduction. Thus, alters chronological lifespan too.

What this essentially means to your question is that to go above maximum lifespan for a human, s/he must maintain a sufficiently organismal function of whole body and organs, aka 'health'. The window of morbidity will be post-poned/happen later and beyond (anomalous) ''maximum lifespan''. And, morbidity compression may happen but I don't believe in morbidity compression above MLSP. For example, that clam who lived 500 years proves beyond a doubt that there is ...stretching, and Stretching it realllllllly long. It showed obvious wear and tear in its mantle,pedal foot, heart and breathing gills which led to its death 500 years later : its health was compromised but not the point of dying; up until that moment. How long was its health dowfall span ? It already showed protein carbonyls (which cause pathologies) by 192 years old, was it 'that bad' ? No, otherwise it would not have reached 500. Healthily Incompatible with extremely long term survival aka you die at same point from some disease. But we can safely bet that window is 'healthily enough' to survive, which I know most people would hate and prefer dying than suffer some mild degree decrepitude/frailty/pain/illness..I mean 500 years, it's normal if it is a 'bit' rusty 'around the knees'...

Posted by: CANanonymity at April 18th, 2016 6:13 PM

@Ham

And, more precisely, there is no 'healthy' supercentenarian, they all show organ damage leading to dysfunction/organ failure. They simply adapt to failing health 'to make it liveable/tolerable' (less bothering/ignore their decrepit state as such block brain pain channels). And then, one day, they drop dead suddenly (some organ failure), fully 'unhealthy' (incompatible with further survival) after organ diagnostic inspection. So, to your question, you will drop dead in your sleep after quality method and have 'bearable health' at 80-90, which will continue to deterioate past 100, it's going to go really fast that at that point 'tolerable enough' decrepitude will sadly take over for a few months or short 2-3 years window of ultra-accelerated deterioration.

Posted by: CANanonymity at April 18th, 2016 6:51 PM

I'm constantly surprised to hear people say that they expect advances will only result in compression of morbidity. Granted, an awful lot of our current advancement exactly matches that, but I think there's good reason to believe that some of the SENS style treatments will show improvement even at the upper limits.

Take for example the problem of TTR/SSA in the extremely elderly. Having an effective treatment for SSA alone may very well result in a dramatic uptick in the number and health of super-centenarians, and it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect one or two additional years of maximum lifespan. Glucosepane is another significant problem at advanced ages, where systemic treatment may directly result in a (small) increase of maximum lifespan.

The effect of treatments that may extend the maximum lifespan also do not add linearly. Consider the totally made-up example where SSA treatment increases the maximum lifespan by 12 months, and glucosepane clearance increases maximum lifespan by 6 months. When used together, we may only get a 13 month increase - but it's also possible that we get a 24 month increase if those two problems are the major causes of death.

At any rate, this is why I prefer to have my donations go toward glucosepane and SSA therapies: I feel those two have the most potential for maximum lifespan extension at this time. It would also be a massive PR boost to the longevity community to be able to show forward progress on what was previously believed to be a very solid brick wall.

Posted by: Dennis Towne at April 21st, 2016 2:44 PM

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