How to Speed Up the Development of Rejuvenation Biotechnology?

While it certainly seems a long time - and that we have come a long way - since the years in which SENS rejuvenation research was only an idea, and the research community was generally hostile towards the idea of treating aging as a medical condition, these are really still the early stages of the upward curve in the bigger picture. That curve leads to a mainstream research community as consumed by the effort to bring aging under medical control as it is presently consumed by work on cancer and stem cell science - and a public at large who support an end to aging just as greatly as they presently support an end to cancer. We'd all like it to go faster.

As our community of scientists, advocates, and supporters grows, the diversity of opinions on what we should be doing in order to speed up progress towards working rejuvenation therapies will also grow. I think this to be a good thing. The more approaches out there being tried in earnest, the more likely that one or another group will find ways to effectively speed up the present phase of the bootstrapping process. There will be disagreements, of course, and I disagree with some of the details in the piece linked here, but so what? Each to their own. Proof of correctness lies in implementations that effectively move the needle, not in opinion. If you have an idea, get out there and try it.

We have made huge strides in the last decade or so and we know a great deal about the processes and damages aging causes, but sadly this does not mean we know enough. There is much more to be learned in order to develop effective interventions and therapies to address these processes, and this is where basic science comes in. The countdown to accessible therapies against aging will not start unless each mechanism of aging is well understood. If all of them were understood right now, you would still need to wait for another 17 years to get a full range of therapies against aging. If you add 17 years to your current age and don't like the resulting number and its relation to the onset of age-related diseases, then ask yourself this, is supporting basic research on aging now in your interest? You may not be very excited about life extension in mice, but remember, no results in mice equals no translation to humans.

It is true the government funds research institutions and awards research grants. But the idea of preventing age-related diseases by addressing its underlying mechanisms is relatively new. There are not many experts among the decision makers in the grant system who can assess the breakthrough projects aimed at the hallmarks of aging and truly understand their potential. This is why these kinds of projects have less support from the government than the mainstream studies of a single disease like Alzheimer's or cancer.

In the case of government funding, the money goes from the taxpayer to the government treasury, where its future allocation is decided, and then to specific research institutions whose plan of research falls within the mainstream priorities. This makes it very hard for our community to influence the direction of research, which is a serious limitation indeed. Crowdfunding does not have this limitation, because it allows the public to connect with the researchers directly and support only the projects they believe are important. The amount of money collected during a crowdfunding campaign can be as much as a government grant (often even bigger), plus there is no need for the excessive paperwork typical for a government grant. This means that the researchers can focus on what they do best of all: their studies.

The number of ardent supporters of aging and longevity studies is relatively small due to the slow dissemination of information from scientists to the public. Most people still believe there is nothing we can do about biological aging, and so they see these studies as researchers simply feeding their scientific curiosity. Education regarding the plausibility and desirability to defeat aging takes time, patience and a lot of effort. It cannot be done by the scientists themselves (as their job is to work in the lab, not to make shows), and here is where advocacy groups and science popularizers should step in. However, people tend to forget that the best results can only be achieved if a group is well-organized, disciplined and uses evidence-based practices in all activities, from planning and management to crowdfunding, educating and lobbying. Steady progress requires a mindful and responsible approach from each person joining an advocacy group - which is sadly rarely seen.

Many members of our community prefer to profess their desire for indefinite lifespans directly, shocking the public. It is important properly explain the connection between aging and age-related diseases, and the causal relationship between aging prevention, health improvement, and longevity - longevity being a side-effect of better health. Being patient and addressing concerns people may have in relation to longer lives (like overpopulation, unequal access, boredom and others) is another important job which is rarely done properly, with enough supporting data to hand. Despite the fact that most of the sociological studies on public attitudes regarding life extension are available to read and have even been summarized by different members of the community, many people still refuse to explain the basics, or insist on using counterproductive radical messages, provoking additional skepticism and closing doors that would otherwise be open. Before starting a conversation with someone who is not familiar with the idea of healthy life extension, it would be useful to take a look at the existing data regarding how to make such conversation productive.



Can't agree more!

SENS is one way to skin a cat. I'm betting there are more. Granted Aubrey and Crew do more than good science, they spread the word and have done the most to promote the movement.

However, they aren't alone and that is a VERY good thing.

George Church has a few tricks up his sleeve as does Michael West.

The Buck released a paper around Christmas time manipulating Yamanaka factors to make younger mice.

David Sinclair's work with NAD+ and NMN all help to move the needle. In fact, if you have had the chance to listen to Lindsay's talk at this years Master Investor, you'll soon put 2+2 together and realize, most of these researchers have more tech in the wings that they are developing. Here... Linky...

Its important to realize that things like Master Investor are for the 1%. Big money looking to get into private equity. They are taking it seriously. Regular pleebs like us can't pony up the coin to play at this level, but that's fine. There is clearly interest from the moneyed class.

In fact...

Aubrey made mention that in the last few months, there have been a number of people who have donated 100K+ to SENS. You can bet that it was Jim Mellon's influence and promotion that pushed several of his friends to drop a few bucks Aubrey's way. With his book due next month, that is going to really help get the word out and help drive funding. You can also bet the Ichor and Osin are going to see some cash from that crew as well.

The goal is to create a rejuvenation industry. With multiple platforms and technologies.

These are first gen therapies. I'm willing to bet that right now, even better ones are being worked on. The science moves forward every day, and we out here in the public don't know everything. Behind NDAs, and in private labs, there is work going on we don't have any insight into. For example Samumed. Interesting platform and interesting ideas... All we see is the data from their clinicals... and they are on to something. It may not be much, but its SOMETHING.

What's more, looking at the press releases and media coming out from several researchers, they seem to be getting out and ahead of the demographic "age wave". All of our Stars, like Aubrey, Church, West, and Sinclair are all talking about disrupting the aging process to save the economy. Its gaining traction in places like China and Japan. We can even see traces of it here in Canada. The coming boomer wave will tank economies if we can't get a handle on aging. This is the right angle to market our movement.

Posted by: mborbely at June 19th, 2017 12:51 PM

I think the whole 17 years thing is a bit of an exaggeration. I think I saw Elena clarify somewhere else (reddit?) that it would take 17 years to go from pursuing basic science into a potential treatment to having an FDA approved treatment. But given the way in which some good ideas can be neglected or held up by a missing technological took, it could well take longer than 17 years. The SENS foundation have been banging on about glucosepane since 2003 yet it was only around 2015 that one of their partner labs synthesized this cheaply and in large amounts.

With regard to how to speed things up, I know the article is about ways to reach a larger number of people. But I can't help but wonder what would happen if some treatments became available overseas al la Bioviva/Liz Parish and her telomerase gene therapy (of course that is not expected to do anything from a SENS 7 categories of damage view of what aging is).

I think the treatment(s) would have to make the patients look visibly younger to have an impact on public opinion (a picture is worth 10 million words these days). But would a single treatment such as removing senescent cells or glucosepane be enough to achieve this?

Posted by: Jim at June 20th, 2017 1:01 AM

@Jim No the 17 years global average isnt an exaggeration we pulled the data on this. It is essentially to be straight on such important matters hence we always investigate. That is not to say it takes every project 17 years but this is the average.

However we believe the essence of the article is right here and we know there must be some truth to this because this is what a number of scientists are telling us :)

Thanks to everyone for reading it, this was published a while back but its Forever content anyway. We will be published shortly Elenas talk at the Madrid conference which builds on this so keep an eye on our website.

Reason is also totally right, he might not agree with all the points but we are out there, we are getting shit done and we are finding out what works and what doesnt. We dont claim to know all the answers of course but we are working to find them.

Posted by: Steve Hill at June 20th, 2017 4:35 AM

We know aging progresses through a bunch of different factors, which also have some interplay. We might disagree on which is the most important, pressing factor, but it is unlikely to be necessary to have a complete understanding of the underlying mechanisms of aging to make a start in treating it. For example, senescent cell clearance and stem cell infusions might address a number of the underlying factors and increase health and maybe lifespan out beyond its current limits. We might even be able to add decades to life with an incomplete understanding. The only way to find out is to try.

Posted by: Mark Williams at June 20th, 2017 11:39 AM


Hi Jim ! Just my 2 cents.

''But I can't help but wonder what would happen if some treatments became available overseas al la Bioviva/Liz Parish and her telomerase gene therapy (of course that is not expected to do anything from a SENS 7 categories of damage view of what aging is).

I think the treatment(s) would have to make the patients look visibly younger to have an impact on public opinion (a picture is worth 10 million words these days). But would a single treatment such as removing senescent cells or glucosepane be enough to achieve this?''

I think it would give the same result as what happened with Mrs.Parish : mostly went under the radar and most people don't have the money or care (unlike us here he who care a lot about it and we don't have the money too, but we see the potential and support it). Anything done 'outside' the host country can be seen in many ways (from shady to expensive, to 'but what about here ?', to traveling 'co$ts', etc, etc...) I'm not saying that doing it overseas or another country 'around the (continent) corner' is bad - it offers that possibility; it's just the 'remoteness' of it is evident (most figuratively, physically, logistically, financially, etc). Of course, doing outside the country speeds things up and bypasses regulatory bodies; so it is good, but it also has its downsides. I'm actually shocked that Mrs.Parrish's telomerase-self experiment Patient all but that; a patient 0...with no patient 1 yet...
This tells me a couple of things : it's LonGggg slow-mo snailpace (that's the scary part, we could die waiting (too long) for it), even outside country, it takes way too much 'resources' to put in place (it's so funny/sad, it's a bitter-sweetness - it's - Right - There and we can't even Deliver it : I call this the filmmaker's Ah-Ha moment wherein the filmmaker makes a film (took years) and then, once done/proud and happy, wants to show The film to People Around The World - he/she hits a stumbling dead end when he/she realizes no one will ever watch his/her film (because of no distribution deal)). He/she thinks, perhaps, he/she should not have made it in the first place; if he/she had known No One Could watch it/or only grand-ma, he/she, family and friends Could watch it - Because No Distributor would Distribute/Publish It to the Public at Large. SENS and many other ventures basically face that day on and day out. Mrs.Parrish's thing is just another homological example.
It can stay a 'dormant thing' (or like the analogy, a 'filmmaker film' - made for People Around The World - But ends up Shown To Your Family and Friends 'home thing'' (No one will ever know about this film except family and friends, which amounts to about less a 100 people)).

SENS has done a great job of 'spreading the word/high P&A marketing and exposing themselves everywhere in the medical field, science and anti-aging fields' but to answer your 2nd question :
''I think the treatment(s) would have to make the patients look visibly younger to have an impact on public opinion (a picture is worth 10 million words these days). But would a single treatment such as removing senescent cells or glucosepane be enough to achieve this?''

True. But this kind of effect is mostly done by oxidative stress reduction/CR effect (mTOR control) since many of these elements alter cell cycle dynamics and senescence entry.
For sure that removing senescent cells and glucosepane would have a visible effect on the skin and thus would be 'visible' enough as 'rejuvenating effect' - but not necessarily a True Reversal of Aging - but only of Health. Mrs. Parrish Had a True Reversal of Aging because her chromosomes were directly touched (the telomeres/Telomeric DNA/telomerase therapy); telomeres have proven to be a cell cycle counter mechanism (to allow continous replicative rounds) - yet replicative rounds are Directly connected to the Intrinsic aging process (not the Health process which is dependent on Spontaneous Senescence (caused by overexcess of DNA damage/mTOR activation) rather than Replicative Senescence (caused by reaching the Leonard Hayflick Limit replication-end problem 'barrier', then reach M1 crisis (a few more rounds and senescence), if not they overcome M1 barrier and continue to M2 (for a few more replcative rounds, then its M2 crisis immortalization happens and cells transform, most of them become cancerous through this immortalizing. No cell goes beyond M2, its completely unstable and thus, means transformation/and/or immortalization (the cells take the form of 'stem cell-like' form and behave as cancer cells). As such, there is a Limit.

''But would a single treatment such as removing senescent cells or glucosepane be enough to achieve this?''

It would have a somewhat visible effect, but a Reversal of aging; I'm not sure about that - it could reverse it 'in part' (for it would surely affect the epigenome/epigenetics whom are affected by AGEs and other oxidative lesions); but how much, I'm not so sure - it could very well only affect the 'health' of the human - but the epigenetic DNA clock of that human will have barely changed - same for his/her Telomeres : meaning, indeed, that person is the same 'biological' age - minus less of these lesions (thus more Healthy - but not Younger Biologically, Chrosomoally (like have more compacted chromosomes/gain of histones), Telomerically and Epigenetically). So that's why I think it's too early to say, but with Combination of multiple ones there is Far more chances that the effect will now be substantial (again, I'm not so sure about Full Reversal - but if Partiall Reversal is Sufficient Enough (to be repeated on and on (that's a very hypothetical case)) then 'it would work'' and we reverse aging)).

I think AgD must answer one thing : costs, how much is this going to cost at the start and later on, what are the studies about that; like say 7 therapies = 250$, 1000$, 10000$, 100,000$...what is it, that will be the 'nail' in the coffin if it is expensive. They receive 4 million dollars to fund their research, I'm guessing when they make these therapies available they will be very 'unavailable' (pricy/costly) and rich-privelege for a certain amount of time.
The Financial cost aspect of these therapies will be a strong determinant of its inception, adoption or complete failure after many many tries/and time going (I hope to see this happening before I'm 60...that leaves me less than 25-30 years; I sometimes think that's too optimistic even).

Still, Anything is better than Nothing. So we can only watch this unfold (but as AdG says the public, at large, does not even want to live longer - and when told aging is a disease (which is an anomaly (diseases are the byproduct of aging creating dysfunction/loss of homeostasis/what aging is (more) is a 'process of many processes/reactions/actions/a 'whole host of things' but if we mean of Maximal specie Lifespan than Aging is Intrinsic Aging and is controlled (as a imposed 'limit') by Replicative Aging mechanism in humans)'; but who cares if it goes through it works - people will 'connect' and realize that aging = disease, disease = aging; perfect it works and we get people who want to cure the diseases that happen young or old; but that aging contributes to their arrival. Aging will not be taboo anymore.
I think it's more the fatalistic/fatalist/Deathists who make drag on forever (and it could be until we die becaise of them and the ehtical concerns that will be talked about in 30 years too).

Posted by: CANanonymity at June 21st, 2017 1:03 AM

I think CANanonymity is right at the end of his post. That's been my biggest fear in regards to longevity - a bunch of people protesting it and holding up progress on it because of their "ethical" concerns, while everyone dies as the subject gets debated endlessly.

That being said, if things are introduced one at a time, which seems to be what's going to happen (senolytics, for example), then perhaps that won't be the case. I could be wrong, but I don't think people are going to be up in arms over something like senolytics. At least not if it's being used for specific things like inflammation in joints, and whatever other specific 'non aging only' targets people are developing senolytics for.

Posted by: Ham at June 21st, 2017 6:21 AM

Well, GMO production has been banned for decades in the EU, and still is, on the basis of "ethical" concerns and nothing more, without any people "going up in arms", but anyway I don't think antiaging will be banned. After all, Europe can survive with unproductive agriculture, we don't depend on it, we are mainly importers. OTOH, we can't survive without antiaging, not only individually, but as a society that has to pay pensions, etc.

Posted by: Antonio at June 21st, 2017 8:55 AM
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