A Failure for GDF11 to Extend Lifespan, but is it a Meaningful Failure?

The protein growth differentiation factor 11 (GDF11) has been in the news over the past couple of years. In the course of conducting parabiosis research, in which the circulatory systems of old and young mice are linked, researchers established that levels of GDF11 decline with age in that species. Restoring youthful levels of GDF11 has been shown in some studies to improve numerous measures of age-related decline, perhaps largely through signaling that instructs stem cells to increase their tissue maintenance activities. Not all of the evidence is positive, however. There is an ongoing debate over whether or not studies were correctly interpreted, as GDF11 is similar enough to myostatin to confound some tools, a range of other objections and opposing evidence, and a first pass at obtaining human data suggests that GDF11 doesn't decline with age in our species in the way it does in old mice.

Does raising the level of GDF11 in humans have any sort of future as the basis for a therapy? In theory anything that can put stem cells back to work, reversing some of the characteristic age-related decline in stem cell function, is worth chasing to the same extent that stem cell therapies are worth chasing. The likely best outcomes are in the same ballpark, and work through similar mechanisms. This doesn't fix any of a range of important cell and tissue damage that causes age-related disease, but benefits are benefits. The question is whether or not GDF11 research is on the right track. At this point the balance of evidence for and against, coupled with questions about the methodology in some of the studies, suggests it is too early to tell - and at the very least there are a number of points that need clarification.

The study linked below falls on the negative side of the fence, showing no benefit to life span resulting from increased levels of GDF11 in a lineage of mice engineered to suffer accelerated aging. Evaluating results in accelerated aging models is a challenge, however. It all depends on the fine details of what exactly is involved in that accelerated aging - which is never actually accelerated aging, but rather some form of runaway biological damage that doesn't play a significant role in normal aging. That is good enough for some investigations, in which the precise nature of the damage isn't all that important, because the age-related condition of interest is very similar despite the very different nature of the low-level cell and tissue damage. Still, it has to be said that for every study in which the use of an accelerated aging lineage produced clear and unambiguously useful results, as was the case for senescent cell clearance back in 2011, there are half a dozen more in which the waters remain muddy. The researchers are trying hard to prove relevance in this paper, but I have to say that it still looks pretty muddy to me; there are any number of ways we might connect the particular approach to accelerated aging and GDF11 activities.

GDF11 administration does not extend lifespan in a mouse model of premature aging

The existence of "rejuvenating" factors in young blood capable of improving the function of aging stem cells was first demonstrated in 2005. A decade after this seminal contribution, the new wave of studies has been on the search for those circulating regulatory molecules that can restore the regenerative function of old stem cells and reverse aging. Among several cell-extrinsic factors and metabolites identified to date, GDF11 has been found to be one of the most powerful anti-aging candidates. Thus, it has been shown that GDF11 levels in blood decline with age, and that its supplementation to reach young physiological range in old mice improved the features and function of a number of age-deteriorated tissues, including heart, skeletal muscle and brain. However, recent reports have shown contradictory data questioning the capacity of GDF11 to reverse age-related tissue dysfunction. The availability of the Zmpste24-/- mouse model of accelerated aging, which shares most of the features occurring in physiological aging, gives us an excellent opportunity to test in vivo therapies aimed at extending lifespan both in pathological and normal aging. On this basis, we wondered whether the proposed anti-aging functions of GDF11 would have an overall effect on longevity.

We first determined whether GDF11 levels decline in our mouse model of premature aging in the same manner as it has been reported in physiological aging. We performed western-blot analyses with plasma samples obtained from the same wild-type and Zmpste24-/- mice at the age of 1.5 months and 3 months, to monitor a possible decline over time, considering that average lifespan of these mutant mice is 4 months and that accelerated aging symptoms start to manifest around the age of 2 months. We used the same commercial antibody as the one previously reported in the original study in which GDF11 was first identified as an anti-aging factor. We observed a marked decrease in GDF11 plasma levels in Zmpste24-/- mice compared with wild-type littermates at the age of 3 months.

To test our hypothesis about a possible role for GDF11 on lifespan extension, we did use the same commercial recombinant GDF11 (rGDF11) protein that has been used in those studies describing its anti-aging properties, and at a dosage capable of raising its levels in Zmpste24-/- plasma samples. However, rGDF11 daily treatment did not extend the lifespan of progeroid mice compared with vehicle-treated Zmpste24-/- littermates. It has been suggested that some of the original conclusions about GDF11 cardioprotective effects could be due to the decrease in body weight observed as a secondary effect of rGDF11 daily administration. Our results showed that rGDF11 treatment only caused a slightly reduction in the body weight of female Zmpste24-/- mice compared with vehicle-treated littermates during the first days of the experiment, whereas no significant differences were observed in the male cohort. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that circulating GDF11 levels are reduced in our mouse model of premature aging, which shares most of the symptoms that occur in normal aging. However, GDF11 protein administration is not sufficient to extend longevity in these progeroid mice. Although accelerated-aging mouse models can serve as powerful tools to test and develop anti-aging therapies common to both physiological and pathological aging, the existence of certain differences between the two processes implies that further investigation is still required to determine whether long-term GDF11 administration has a pro-survival effect on normal aged animals.

Comments

Looks like we're still very far away from extending lifespans. I've been criticized as being a troll for saying so, but it looks like the facts are on my side.

Posted by: MissKaioshin at August 12th, 2016 9:35 PM

You must be so happy.

Posted by: Ham at August 13th, 2016 2:20 AM

Weekends are boring for trolls, it seems.

Posted by: Antonio at August 13th, 2016 4:30 AM

For 6000 years of recorded history humans tried to fly. Usually if you tried to fly, instead you'd die. For 6000 years. Until after all that trial and fatal error, in 1903 it was accomplished - after 6000 years of trial and failure. 66 years later humans visited the moon.

Life is trying. Trying is life.

Posted by: David Gobel at August 13th, 2016 5:52 AM

@MissKaioshin the facts are not on your side at all. One experiment failing to return positive results means nothing. In mouse testing we test thousands of compounds and many do nothing, some decrease lifespan and some increase it and in some cases increase it considerably.

GDF-11 was never likely to be the "magic bullet" because aging is a complex process with a number of different things that must be addressed. With each experiment more is learnt and this also includes experiments where the results are not as expected. So you have proven nothing for every failed experiment I can give you others where we see lifespan increased Dont kid yourself that researchers are not gaining ground because I assure you they most certainly are.

I have seen you on Reddit talking like this and I know you are not a researcher. If you dont think it cannot be done that is of course fine, that is your opinion but the people here are interested in scientific research not hearsay and guesswork and so with all due respect your opinion isnt worth squat nor is it welcome here.

Posted by: Steve Hill at August 13th, 2016 6:13 AM

Sorry correction! I meant of course:

"I have seen you on Reddit talking like this and I know you are not a researcher. If you dont think it can be done that is of course fine, that is your opinion but the people here are interested in scientific research not hearsay and guesswork and so with all due respect your opinion isnt worth squat nor is it welcome here."

Posted by: Steve Hill at August 13th, 2016 6:15 AM

There's more than enough information on pubmed why GDF11 shouldn't do anything positive for an aged individual - starting from 2003 long before the questionable "rejuvenation" paper. At best we're looking at hormetic response and those are always hit or miss.

Quite honestly I think some people putting too much hope into a "drug" the better informed knew shouldn't work, is what's giving the trolls, even ones with no knowledge on the subject like the one posting here, ammunition to start flamewars.
If you want to keep trolls out of our community be more careful about what compounds and therapies you're enthusiastic about. You can't be sure which ones are going to be winners from the get go, sure, but when the research community starts jumping against something with increasing intensity with every following paper - well, then it probably doesn't work.

As for you MissKaioshin - http://geroprotectors.org/ - a little library with, oh, about 2500 instances of humanity expanding the lifespan of animals. Bare in mind this is considered primary school level education on the subject.

Posted by: Anonymoose at August 13th, 2016 3:07 PM

Yes as someone involved in mouse research I am always amused by MissKaioshin's ignorant comments, literally has no idea what they are talking about! I see them on reddit and they pretty much get downvoted in every single place they post making their voice about as useful as farting into a hurricane lol

GDF-11 was never going to work and the reasons why have been clearly explained by Irina Conboy here:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4637204/

Lots of progress happening all the time now, only today I see Stanford has a new way to kill off blood stem cells not using chemo or radiation so they can transplant organs with donor matched HSCs and implant them in the empty niches. This may be useful for RepleniSENS.

http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2016/08/researchers-devise-safer-method-for-bone-marrow-transplants.html

SENS has also recently successfully transfered two of the Mitochondrial genes to the nucleus too proving MitoSENS works only 11 more genes to go!

We have senolytics via Unity/Ascentage entering human clinical trials shortly too. I also believe Oisin is making progress with senolytics too.

Lipofuscin clearing is going well at Ichor as well.

No lifespan increases and no progress? lol I just cannot stop laughing whenever these psychic "experts" make such idiotic predictions.

Posted by: Steve Hill at August 13th, 2016 3:46 PM

Ham:
I'm not sure if "happy" is the right word. Vindicated, maybe. Of course i would like to be wrong in this instance, but it doesn't look like I am.

Steve Hill:
Fair enough about GDF-11 never being a "magic bullet". I just remember hearing a lot about it and its promise, and it looks to be yet another dead end. Even a very optimistic person has to admit that it's not very encouraging.

Anonymoose:
No one has ever reversed all of the symptoms of aging and maintained a living mammal in a youthful state indefinitely. Certain experiments (like parabiosis) have made older mice more "youthful" in a couple of aspects, but not all. And the mice still died at a normal age. Until they can turn an old mouse into a physically young one, and keep it that way indefinitely and it ends up living dramatically longer than normal mice, we have no hope of seeing this performed in humans.

Posted by: MissKaioshin at August 13th, 2016 8:07 PM

I think you misunderstand what the goal of animal experimentation is.
All experimentation on animals is done to test a single drug or in the last 15 years transplanting cells.
It's evaluated for two things - whether the animal dies from a reaction to the therapy, and of course whether the therapy does enough good to outweigh the risks of medical intervention and warrant further investigation and potential further animal testing.
It's almost unheard off to test a combination of therapies.
It's also very rare to test anything on a healthy animal. And even more so to test it for a full animal lifespan. So every time a drug has significantly extended the life of an animal it's more of a miracle than the intended effect - and it goes to show, it's not hard at all to do it.

The Palo Alto prize is probably the closest we're going to get to an experiment aimed at specifically trying to lengthen the life of an animal in the next 5 years and even that competition has decided to just measure specific biometrics.

We're definitely close to anti aging therapies. That doesn't mean we're close to completely reversing aging - that's probably a good century away at this point maybe more, who knows. But if the next 40 to 50 years of medial progress increase your lifespan by 20 years you have the off-chance of reaching the next 50. And that's a sizable amount of time - the oldest woman alive right now is 116, when she was born the steam engine was the cutting edge method of transportation - to give you a perspective of how long 100 years actually is.

And as it has been pointed out, science moves faster now. Maybe not exponentially. But faster.

Posted by: Anonymoose at August 13th, 2016 8:59 PM

To correct myself a little - it's a miracle we've noticed some things extends animal lifespan, considering the tests are organized in a fashion best suited for such information to not be noted - this is what I meant, by a miracle.

Posted by: Anonymoose at August 13th, 2016 9:17 PM

Anonymoose:
"We're definitely close to anti aging therapies. That doesn't mean we're close to completely reversing aging - that's probably a good century away at this point maybe more, who knows. But if the next 40 to 50 years of medial progress increase your lifespan by 20 years you have the off-chance of reaching the next 50."

That sounds overly optimistic. But even if it's not, and you turn out to be right, that won't do most people alive today much good. No actual rejuvenation for another century? That means that if you're currently 20, you'll be 60 or 70 by the time medical science can extend your life by 20 years. Another 20 years pass and you're now 80 or 90 years old, and reverse aging is still 30 to 40 years away. You're not going to make it. Sure, maybe medical science will improve again to where it can keep you alive for the next few decades, but without actual rejuvenation you'll still be physically old and experiencing all of the ailments and symptoms of being old.

And this is all for someone who is currently 20 years old. What about today's 40 year olds? Or 50 year olds? Yeah, they're not going to make it. And that's with your aggressively optimistic timeline.

Posted by: MissKaioshin at August 13th, 2016 9:59 PM

Actually my timeline is realistic.
If not "rejuvenated", the next 50ish years of medical development will bring almost youthful fitness and health to the old. But I suspect cancer will remain a problem for the rest of the 21st century so lifespans increasing significantly over 100 probably won't happen in the next 80 or so years.

But again, I'm realistic. I can't account for breakthroughs. Who knows, maybe someone will come up with an almost perfect cancer therapy in a decade or two. Maybe clearance of senescent cells is actually the best prophylactic treatment against cancer - some scientists say it might be. It's not something you could predict. You have to try these things. And not just once.

Watch Nathalia Holt's TED talk : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnSQIPD3lB4
It's very easy to make a parallel between what she's talking about and aging. And what happened to the diseases she talks about in the period of about half a century.

And finally, I like to point out - this isn't a religion or a cult. No one will tell you - if you're so and so years old you'll make it - maybe you will, maybe you won't, you could still get hit by a bus tomorrow, but that doesn't stop you from going out for a stroll, does it? Same goes for supporting biogerontology, maybe you will live to 200 and beyond maybe you won't, you're still better off donating and advocating for it rather than not.

Posted by: Anonymoose at August 13th, 2016 11:13 PM

I was just doing my morning reading, and I found that Irina Conboy has released a new paper. And boy oh boy. Forget GDF11. Seems like Folistatin isn't going to help either.
Good news is - we seem to be getting nearer to the real culprit according to her.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v454/n7203/full/nature07034.html

Posted by: Anonymoose at August 13th, 2016 11:39 PM

I should really look more carefully at the dates. It's a 2008 paper with a 2016 correction. Ironically it raises a lot of questions about GDF11 and TGF-beta... years before the GDF11 hype.
Goes to show even someone like me with an intense interest in this pathway hasn't read all the papers. Neither had the scientists as it happens. Wouldn't have raised the ruckus in the first place if they had.

Posted by: Anonymoose at August 14th, 2016 12:25 AM

Curing cancer is pretty easy (when compared to aging). Just kill ill cells, let immune system to clean their remains and let healthy cell to replace them. The "only" problem is selectively targeting them. Fortunately they emits specific signals. Aging is harder to solve because it happens in all cells at the same time. You can't just remove old cell and let other to replace it. At least I do not believe that senescent cells are as occasional as cancer cells.

Posted by: Martin S. at August 14th, 2016 12:34 AM

Of course you can remove old cells. Your body does it very effectively when you're young - in fact cellular senescence is extremely important for the developing of an adult body.
Senescent cells express the same signals cancer cells do. That's why cancer therapeutic drugs clear senescent cells as well.

The thing is you don't need to clear all senescent cells. Cancer cells on the other hand you do. And there's never a guarantee you've succeeded.

The actual problem is - once you clear senescent cells then what? This is where GDF11 was supposed to help. Well, either way there's at least 5 universities in my knowledge working on the TGF-beta and related pathways and some of them are already working with research drugs. So GDF11 failing isn't a significant hitch.

Posted by: Anonymoose at August 14th, 2016 3:23 AM

If you want the new Conboy paper this is it and it reviews all the work to date and explains why GDF-11 is not the magic bullet.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4637204/

Also see her work here with TGF-beta and how it rejuvenates:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4494916/

Also the aim in Senolytics is not to remove ALL the senescent cells as these are needed in wound healing. There was an article on Fightaging about this issue and the balance between removing the cells and not doing it too fast and too much.

Regards people trying to predict the future of rejuvenation biotechnology. If you are a researcher with a background in the field your opinion carries more weight. If you are a layman as MissKaioshin admits with no qualifications or background in a relevant field or at least scientific knowledge through lots of research their predictions are meaningless, it would be just as easy to ask your postman what will happen to medicine in a decade. So unless your postman is George Church or Aubrey de Grey dont put much stead in it.

That said sure its fun to spitball and speculate and whilst one should be grounded one should also not assume to be an authority on the subject when one does not work in it! MissKaioshin is guilty of doing this where they comment with great authority on robotics, AI, Biomedical rejuvenation, tissue engineering, genetics and regenerative medicine. So either they are an idiot savant or just an idiot who speaks from wrongly assumed authority whilst feigning optimism and claims they can predict the future. I will leave it to you dear readers to decide.

TLDR: try using tealeaves they are better at predicting the future much beyond five years.

Posted by: Steve Hill at August 14th, 2016 3:45 PM

In 5 years time, senescent cell clearing, transthyretin amyloid clearing, telomere lengthening or other stem cell stimulating interventions, gene therapy to silence oncogenes and enhance the immune system will be available through medical tourism. Add to these significantly reduced cancer mortality rates due to lower incidence rates (consequent to senescent cell clearing and perhaps metformin) and "cures" / long term remissions (consequent to mature immunotherapy and perhaps emerging nanomedicine), and I can't see why we couldn't already add 10-15 years to the remaining lifespan of an aged person.

Given that the other SENS interventions are not too far behind (there are lots of funds for finding ways to clear beta amyloid, glucosepane was finally synthesized last year, allotopic expression of mithocondrial genes has already been done for two of the required 13 genes), saying that it will take a century to control aging seems extremely pessimistic.

It will take a century, at least, for the whole world to benefit from rejuvenation therapies for sure, but that will be because of the same societal factors (e.g. huge inequalities, predatory economic imperialism etc.) that deny poor people from poor countries basic cancer care like radiotherapy today. As sad as it is, anti-aging therapies will be available for the rich decades before they manage to make even the tiniest impact on the life expectancy of the majority of the world's population.

So, will it take a century for most of the world to fully reap the benefits of SENS-like therapies? For sure. Will it take more than 30-50 years for large swathes of the well-off to be returned to and kept in a biologically youthful state? Nah.

Posted by: Barbara T. at August 14th, 2016 3:56 PM

I've read Conboys 2015 paper. I though the 2016 correction was a new paper, my mistake there.
That paper even though it's from 2008 it's actually quite informative. It gives one reason why Follistatin isn't the perfect choice for muscle rejuvenation - something I hadn't found an explanation for in other more recent papers, they rarely explain anything beside their experimental context as you know.

Posted by: Anonymoose at August 14th, 2016 5:47 PM

Barbara T said:

"It will take a century, at least, for the whole world to benefit from rejuvenation therapies for sure, but that will be because of the same societal factors (e.g. huge inequalities, predatory economic imperialism etc.) that deny poor people from poor countries basic cancer care like radiotherapy today. As sad as it is, anti-aging therapies will be available for the rich decades before they manage to make even the tiniest impact on the life expectancy of the majority of the world's population."

I totally disagree. You only have to look at the evolution of life expectancy in the Third World to see that that picture is simply not true. See for example http://www.who.int/gho/publications/world_health_statistics/2015/en/ (p. 52)

Posted by: Antonio at August 15th, 2016 2:55 AM

The nature paper pointed out by Carlson and al, is about cellular mechanisms. To imagine that just feeding an animal with a protein would create a somewhat similar effect at physiological level is, IMO, wishful thinking.
One important challenge for this community seems to me to clearly separate our desires from what is really science. Yes it is important to advocate for healthy and (much) longer ageing, but is is harmful to advocate about sci-fi science/technologies.

Posted by: Jean-Pierre Le Rouzic at August 15th, 2016 4:20 AM

Yes what Antonio said! The majority of readers here were not convinced by GDF-11 and yes healthy aging is an oxymoron!

Posted by: Steve Hill at August 15th, 2016 12:58 PM

Jean-Pierre:
Wisely said. People get angry at me because I am simply stating unfortunate truths. It might be possible to develop some drugs or treatments that modestly reduce one or two symptoms of aging, and which give elderly people some better relief and quality of life. But the popular idea of outright rejuvenating ourselves and turning 80-year olds into 20-year olds is sheer fantasy. And extending the human lifespan to beyond 120 years is likely to be impossible.

Anonymoose:
It seems like you are agreeing that significant life extension and rejuvenation, if it ever proves to be possible for humans, is beyond the distant future. You think modest treatments that can somewhat extend life are possible in the next few decades, but that true reverse aging is a good century or more away. That's a fine belief, if a bit too optimistic. If more futurists and dreamers admitted that they themselves will not live to see longevity escape velocity, "eternal youth", etc., then that would be fine. I have no problem with people idly speculating about what future generations will get to see and experience. It's when people try to argue that such wondrous futures are immanent and that people living today will get to see it happen, that I have a problem.

Posted by: MissKaioshin at August 16th, 2016 12:43 AM

No, I'm not agreeing to that. What ever made you think that?
Rejuvenating a human is definitely possible and will happen eventually.

I'm saying one drug can't do it.
And this protein cannot do it for certain. It was never a good candidate for any therapy, and you building some sort of an argument on it, is quite honestly moronic. When you have no context and no knowledge to build an opinion on it's better that you do not - I think that was already pointed out to you.

Posted by: Anonymoose at August 16th, 2016 1:03 AM

@Antonio and Steve Hill.
First what I said about the study which is the subject of Reason's post, is probably different that what you understood. I am questioning the conceptual jump from cellular mechanisms to wide range physiological effects that motivated this study. I certainly did not state any opinion about any such treatment, which would have removed credibility to my reasoning. BTW what I said is perfectly in line with what Reason's usually post here, including what's in the first link that you provided Antonio.

Second, life, biology and languages are complicated. If healthy aging is indeed an oxymoron I have seen people around me who are ageing (more than 80 and still without any health problems) in a quite attractive way for me. On contrary I have seen people who did developed cancer while being under 10 years old. I am only 60 but statistically two in ten people that were born at the same time that me, have already died.
So being young never meant that one should be in good health. "Young" "old" "healthy" are just word tools that are used to communicate high level concepts, they have no more meaning than what people usually agree to.
In addition saying that "healthy aging" does not exist and is not interesting to research, seems a bit odd on this site. Except if what you are only interested in sci-fi concepts and not science. Which was the subject of the second part of my post.

Posted by: Jean-Pierre Le Rouzic at August 16th, 2016 1:35 AM

Jean-Pierre:

Well, you said:

"The nature paper pointed out by Carlson and al, is about cellular mechanisms. To imagine that just feeding an animal with a protein would create a somewhat similar effect at physiological level is, IMO, wishful thinking.
One important challenge for this community seems to me to clearly separate our desires from what is really science. Yes it is important to advocate for healthy and (much) longer ageing, but is is harmful to advocate about sci-fi science/technologies."

I thought the second paragraph was referring to the first one. If not, what are you thinking about when you say "separate our desires from what is really science" and "sci-fi science/technologies". Can you provide any examples?

You said:

"If healthy aging is indeed an oxymoron I have seen people around me who are ageing (more than 80 and still without any health problems) in a quite attractive way for me."

That they don't have a named disease doesn't mean that they are healthy. Ask them to run some meters or take a cold shower and you will see how healthy they are.

"So being young never meant that one should be in good health. "Young" "old" "healthy" are just word tools that are used to communicate high level concepts, they have no more meaning than what people usually agree to."

Nope. 'Young' and 'old' have a statistical meaning, the increase in death rates with age. They can also be defined by the degeneration and fraility associated with old age, but this depends on each species, the first definition is more general. Anyway, they never meant 'healthy' and 'sick'.

"In addition saying that "healthy aging" does not exist and is not interesting to research, seems a bit odd on this site. Except if what you are only interested in sci-fi concepts and not science."

Well, I think that the "sci-fi and not science" concept is "healthy aging". It negates basic facts about aging that science already knows.

Posted by: Antonio at August 16th, 2016 2:20 AM

Let's grant some attention to the troll, if only to debunk a small part of her lies:

"People get angry at me because I am simply stating unfortunate truths."

Nope, people get upset at you because you never provide any proof of your statements and dismiss people's arguments without any sensible reply. Also, it's quite disturbing that you try to reply to things that we never said or thought, like having any hope in GDF11 treatments. But hey, those are basic troll techniques, it isn't? Will we see more advanced techniques?

Posted by: Antonio at August 16th, 2016 2:33 AM

@Jean-Pierre Le Rouzic
"If healthy aging is indeed an oxymoron I have seen people around me who are ageing (more than 80 and still without any health problems) in a quite attractive way for me."

Attractive aging is a good definition - your health is still deteriorating but not in a visible manner.

The whole drive behind "healthy aging" is replacing symptomatic disease with asymptomatic disease as the main causes of death in the aging population. Since most of medicine today is concerned with managing symptoms it only makes sense, it will minimize the costs the aging population is putting on the healthcare system... it does make sense in a dystopian kind of way when you considered it's basically a legalized death panel.

Really what I'm getting at is - it's semantics.
Instead of treating disease let's make people die in a socially acceptable manner! Problem solved.

Signed - your Health Ministry.

Posted by: Anonymoose at August 16th, 2016 2:52 AM

Antonio,

Yeah, she thinks she brings some valuable insight to the discussion or something, I don't get it. It's nice though to see others pick apart her "arguments" though. As she admitted and which Steve rightly points out, she has no background in any science so her opinions are meaningless. But she's self important enough to let everyone know her "truths" and that she has a problem when people think they might actually see some of these therapies.

And MissK, Newsflash: your opinion is meaningless and has nothing behind it. This has been pointed out before. Why people who don't work in relevant fields comment with authority is beyond me. No one cares what you have a problem with. Does it bother you what people think, or affect you in any way?

Posted by: Ham at August 16th, 2016 7:48 AM

@Antonio

1. According to the SENS proponents, it will take 20-30 years to have a complete suite of effective rejuvenation therapies.

2. After that, it will be another decade or two before the health systems of industrialized countries will start offering these therapies with the purpose of rejuvenating people - as opposed to ameliorating specific conditions - since the political landscape will be swept by raging debates about the ethics of rejuvenation, its impact on the pension system etc. For example: can you rejuvenate 80 year olds en masse without the certainty that they will go back to being productive members of our society? How long will it take before these rejuvenated octuagenarians are up to scratch with the technological developments that came to pass since they left the workforce? Will there even be a large, flexible, and open-minded enough job market for these human curiosities? These problems will be solved, eventually, but not overnight and not in a few years. In fact, one decade is way too optimistic.

3. Because of patents and the necessity for some sort of delivery system, it will take another couple of decades before these rejuvenation therapies become, at least theoretically, affordable to the health systems of developing countries. That is, for those few developing countries that do have some semblance of a health system. Countries like the DRC where even basic healthcare is unaffordable for the vast majority of the population, will surely look at reducing maternal mortality (879/100000 in 1990 and still as high as 693/100000 in 2015) and vaccinate against, say, HPV, before rejuvenating the elderly. In this context, age reversal is simply not a priority.

4. Developing countries don't have the social, economic, or institutional infrastructure to deal with rejuvenated people, since they do not even have the social, economic, or institutional infrastructure to deal with existing young people. There is a dearth of employment opportunities, if not abject poverty, across most of Africa, as well as large swathes of Asia and Latin America. Rejuvenating old people would only add to the throngs of the dispossessed clogging mushrooming slums or ending up as shark baits on ramshackle migrant boats.

5. While the western world, and especially the futurist community, have long done away with superstition, magic, and religion, these beliefs are still widespread in the developing world. For example, even after three decades of aggressive HIV education, millions of people still refuse to use condoms because they "contain worms" and "cause HIV".
 
In other words, societal trends cannot be extrapolated as easily as scientific ones. The science itself may be here in a couple of decades, its affordability could arrive a few more years further down the line, but societies, and especially resource-less economic systems, change at a much, much slower pace than technology.

In fact, I think that even 100 years for the worldwide diffusion of rejuvenation therapies, with high coverage and penetration, is probably an optimistic estimate.

http://www.who.int/gho/maternal_health/countries/cod.pdf
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3432708/
http://www.phcfm.org/index.php/phcfm/article/view/79/101

Posted by: Barbara T. at August 16th, 2016 11:03 AM

@MissKaioshin people get angry with you because you are a no nothing with no authority to speak on the subject and you you present yourself as if you are. If you dont think it can be done just bugger off and let those working on the problem get on with it instead of bringing down the tone.

Posted by: Steve Hill at August 16th, 2016 2:51 PM

@MissKaioshin

Are you borrowing "Kaioshin" from the Dragon Ball manga? So you're a Dragon Ball god.

good grief.

Posted by: Eric at August 16th, 2016 4:42 PM

Seriously everyone.

You should all ignore MissKaioshin.

Either she has social issues or really ignorant. I managed to be quiet but you all keep adding to her enjoyment. I think she loves the attention but adds nothing POSITIVE or useful to the blog. Thus, just ignore and she will eventually go away.

Posted by: Robert Church at August 16th, 2016 6:47 PM

@Barbara T

2. I think it will be the opposite. These therapies will be approved and distributed almost freely of charge very soon after they are developed. Non-working old people are a huge burden on developed countries right now, and even more so in 20-30 years. Many European countries are in danger of collapse of their pension systems, and pensions aren't the only problem associated with an aging population.

3. For the same reasons than 2 above, patents will not be a problem. DRC is one of the more extreme cases of poor country, having experienced many years of civil war. You should consider the whole set of developing countries. For example, a country like India, with its huge population, is a more representative third world country. And, indeed, India has no drug patents.

4. Again, it's the opposite, rejuvenated people are easier to manage than old people. Maybe a rejuvenated person can have problems finding a job, but an old person not only can't work but he/she has much more expensive medical needs.

5. Your statement was about availability of therapies, not wheter people will take them or not. Anyway, I don't think your example is so common. A vast majority of developing countries use modern medicine. Also, some developed countries have had the same not-so-common problems related to superstition and medicine (for example, stem cells in the US during the Bush administration).

"6." Life expectancy has grown faster for example in Africa than Europe (see http://www.who.int/gho/publications/world_health_statistics/2016/en/ p. 8). In 2015, global life expectancy was 71.4 years (p. 9 above) and around 70% of deaths in the world are due to old age ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1hlLM-LTmU ).

Posted by: Antonio at August 16th, 2016 7:51 PM

Robert Church: Totally agree. Me too tried not to reply, but finally did.

Barbara T: Sorry, last percentage was 75%, not 70%.

Posted by: Antonio at August 16th, 2016 8:00 PM

@Antonio,

I think that robotics and society overall will very much change in 20 to 30 years. If necessary, Robots can take care of the elderly if we have not been rejuvenated yet. Keep in mind, we will have advanced nanotechnology that will greatly change society in the world. Also, I believe there will be too few jobs available for everyone. Governments and/or companies will need to realize this down the road. It should be interesting and I hope to be around at that time:) I believe Peter Diamandis put out a book that reflects these predictions.

Posted by: Robert Church at August 16th, 2016 9:18 PM

I don't think nanotechnology (of the complexity needed) will arrive so fast. But who knows.

Posted by: Antonio at August 17th, 2016 1:46 AM

I believe that when a technology is introduced, it is improved upon often with other technologies plus what has been learned about that technology in the past. Electronics (silicon) has been building upon what was learned in decades before.

In the past decade or two, they have been studying how materials behave at such microscopic sized. So, (IMHO) once they get the basics down, the researchers will be able to speed up processes and complexities of nanotechnologies, exponentuially if you will. I am hoping for very interesting results even within a decade.

Or not:)

Posted by: Robert Church at August 17th, 2016 2:41 PM

I think a lot of developments are imminent and the last three years have shown vast progress so my feeling is that a lot will happen in the near term. You only need to look at the list below and Aubrey de Grey's video within the last few days regarding MitoSENS to see the rapid rate of progress toward effective first generation life extension technologies. I tend to think some therapies could be available in 5 to 10 years such as senescent cell removal although it is likely you would need to go to Japan, Thailand or another offshore location to avail yourself of it because the FDA in the US and organizations such as the MHRA Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/medicines-and-healthcare-products-regulatory-agency) in the UK are certainly going to want endless trials which won't help you much if you are 80 years old when the treatments become available.

As far a comprehensive intervention as foreseen by Aubrey de Grey I consider it likely we are 15-20 years out based on the last three years progress but we must keep in mind 2 or 3 further breakthroughs like CRISPR-Cas9 (see 10 in the list), Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Stem Cell Information (http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/pages/basics10.aspx) and the work with the removal of senescent cells (7) plus work like that described in the video below and things might change very fast.
https://youtu.be/-teTeyUPsJM

1. SRF Home (http://www.sens.org/)
2. Telomere extension turns back aging clock in cultured human cells, study finds (https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2015/01/telomere-extension-turns-back-aging-clock-in-cultured-cells.html)
3. Sierra Sciences/telomere (http://www.sierrasci.com/telomere/index.html)
4. Anti-ageing pill pushed as bona fide drug (http://www.nature.com/news/anti-ageing-pill-pushed-as-bona-fide-drug-1.17769)
5. GMC (http://arep.med.harvard.edu/gmc/)
6. A Harvard professor says he can cure aging, but is that a good idea? (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/achenblog/wp/2015/12/02/professor-george-church-says-he-can-reverse-the-aging-process/)
7. Destroying worn-out cells makes mice live longer (http://www.nature.com/news/destroying-worn-out-cells-makes-mice-live-longer-1.19287)
8. Surgeon proposes human head transplant operation as soon as 2017 (https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn27703-surgeon-proposes-human-head-transplant-operation-as-soon-as-2017/)
9. Parabiosis in aging research: Enigmatic youth factor versus ordinary stem cell transfusion effect (https://thewinnower.com/papers/38-parabiosis-in-aging-research-enigmatic-youth-factor-versus-ordinary-stem-cell-transfusion-effect#_ENREF_7)
10. If it works, CRISPR gene editing will change our lives (http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/30/health/pioneers-crispr-dna-genome-editing/)

Posted by: John Andersen at August 23rd, 2016 6:13 AM

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