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The Society for the Rescue of our Elders is Running Trials of Potential Rejuvenation Therapies: We Should Support This

Nearly a decade ago ago I hopefully envisaged the Vegas Group as a fictional, near-future, informal association of like-minded people coming together to organize and fund trials of early rejuvenation therapies, a natural outgrowth of longevity-focused conferences and progress in the underlying science. I put the founding date for the Vegas Group as 2016. That might be close, as it turns out. On balance, I think that the Society for the Rescue of our Elders, established this year in the wake of the Revolution Against Aging and Death (RAAD) Festival, has a shot at becoming this association in reality. A number of quite sensible people in our community are apparently involved, and the Society for the Rescue of our Elders is in a position to harness the raw enthusiasm of two generations of longevity advocates and potential trial participants: those who started in the 1970s, tried and failed to make anti-aging medicine work, but who still have the enthusiasm for the cause, and those of today who are focused on senolytics, gene therapies, and other modern techniques that may well produce actual, functional, first generation rejuvenation therapies. The evidence to date looks good.

Individuals associated with the Society for the Rescue of our Elders are coordinating and organizing a small variety of human trials at this point, covering a number of approaches to treating aging as a medical condition. I think some of these are worth the effort and we should be cautiously enthused: primarily senolytics to remove the contribution of senescent cells to the aging process, but also other items with varying degrees of support. The important point here is that this is happening at all, that our broader community has generated an association that can potentially act as a seed, a nucleus, a rallying point for all additional efforts. Many hands can make light work, and once there exists an informal network with experience in running the trials that we want to see take place, then future trials and larger trials and clinical availability all become that much easier to organize. Once the relationships with laboratories and university groups and all the other important groups are there - well, that is the hurdle that would stop most people from proceeding, not the funds. What use money when you are corroding?

I have in the past suggested that at some point the "anti-aging" marketplace, whose participants have built an industry and pipeline and customer base on the basis of selling things that don't work, will gravitate to the first potential approaches that do in fact work. A significant fraction of those involved are still believers in the original goal - to meaningfully turn back aging. The Society for the Rescue of our Elders, like the RAAD Festival, emerges from the Life Extension Foundation crowd. They have always had the burden of being supplement and "anti-aging" focused, but their initiatives have been incrementally stepping towards engagement with the most promising new medical technology, and I suppose that the current explosion of interest in senolytics has finally tipped things over the edge. Rejuvenation therapies are almost here, cheap candidate drugs exist, and it would be foolish to think that the "anti-aging" community would ignore this development. In the present environment, an alliance between those who can bring funding and a broad base of interested participants and those who know the presently most promising science and medical initiatives could go a long way. That is exactly what may be happening here.

I can say that had I the funds to pay for organizing a trial of one of the more promising senolytic drug candidates, I'd certainly be interested in coordinating with the people who are already running a small senolytic trial with the Society for the Rescue of our Elders. There are, I think, any number of individuals ten or twenty years my senior with the resources to do just that, were they aware of the opportunity. One of them already has. In my hypothetical had-I-the-funds trial, I'd collar a dozen volunteers in their late 40s, a selection of the assays I suggested would be good for a single-person experiment, and look for significant effects in the demographic who are just starting to see the first declines of aging. It would be an interesting counterpoint to the current - and quite sensible - strategy of restricting trials to people in their late 60s and older, possessed obvious manifestations of aging. Larger and more pressing problems make it easier to quantify the results of treatments like clearance of senescent cells. But aging doesn't start at 60, and the ideal time to begin rejuvenation therapies is earlier in life. Therefore we want to be able to prove that the first senolytic drugs are or are not capable of producing meaningful outcomes at those earlier ages.

The Society for the Rescue of our Elders is still at the stage of understanding how to best manage the self-assembly of a community, and how to channel help. But they have a contact form, they have an email address. If you can help to make things happen, given a network of connections to laboratories, clinics, and research groups, let them know. Tell them what you can bring to the table and ask for their contacts, then see what can be made to happen. It is a much better path that sitting around waiting for someone else to do the work of bringing therapies to the clinic.

Comments

The model is great, if done right.

But lately it seems that projects are getting fouled up long before they have a chance to reach their potential.

One look at the recent fiascos on the island of St Kitts, which actualy created an excellent system in the 1990s for pharma offshoring, and primate research, makes one question why do these billionaires keep messing things up so bad?

Peter Nygard foul up - http://www.thenassauguardian.com/bahamas-business/40-bahamas-business/65795-nygard-skn-stem-cell-project-in-trouble

Peter Thiel foul up - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/st-kitts-launches-probe-of-herpes-vaccine-tests-on-us-patients_us_59a84e6ce4b07e81d35624ee

Hopefully Bill Faloon and the folks invovled will structure things better with these projects

Posted by: Philip Dablin at September 2nd, 2017 10:19 AM

Actually if I read the acticles thoroughly then Peter Nygard and Peter Thiel didn't really mess up that much. If "some press reports [..] label the project illegal" that translates to: no charges were made and the press writes loads of garbage every day. The FDA can complain all day long, but St Kitts is not under US legislation and they know it. That's why they make a lot of noise.

But I agree: Hopefully Bill Faloon and the other folks can do better than that. After all he wrestles with the FDA for 40 years now. If you need a man for that job then it's him.

Posted by: Matthias F at September 2nd, 2017 1:08 PM

First, media is extraordinarily dishonest, so I don't think they screwed up. In case you didn't know, Bahamas, St Kitts and other island countries are somewhat "pay to play" in many cases. They specifically went offshore to get expedited approval so a bit of controversial clickbait doesn't necessarily indicate

Second, I'm amazed at how some of the best supporters of longevity are poorly covered just because the left is so sad their corrupt supporting candidate Clinton lost (I'm surprised how few people acknowledge she cheated Bernie & how they profited heavily from Haitian donations). Read the article from biased Huffington post and how they described Mr. T instead of Facebook's first investor, Paypal co-founder etc.

I've always been amazed about how this industry is not more supportive of its biggest philanthropists and financiers. I'm also surprised about how gullible people are in believing heavily biased media from bad journalists.

Posted by: anon_financier at September 2nd, 2017 1:18 PM

I still think there is a serious problems with people paying to be on the actual trial. Reason mentioned that a large positive effect would be evident even without a control group. But what if someone on the trial gets sick? How do you prove that it wasn't related to the treatment? This is the reason why companies are not keen on giving sick and dying patients access to their in development medicines, even on a compassionate basis. If that patient gets sick with no control group to prove that it was unrelated to the treatment then the company and its investors could be serverly financially damaged. Labs don't have backers, but they do have reputations, so they won't likely be keen to get involved either.

I still think the model where a wealthy individual pays to get the treatment, and is not part of the trial group, but also pays for individuals to go on the trial with a control group is much better. This would cost more, but if these trials are being run to advance science, surely the people running them shouldn't care that they are making fewer sales. In fact it would be best if the group running the trials was set up as a non profit. Otherwise they'll just seem like all those dodgy stem cell clinics that claim to be helping people, but are really preying on desperation.

Posted by: Jim at September 2nd, 2017 7:51 PM

It sounds like an interesting organization, but I don't think I'm going to fill out their form. I don't have much money to donate or self-fund and I wouldn't want to be a test subject for something terribly risky. I could make a small donation, but I've found that most organizations reward my small contributions by pestering me incessantly for more donations (one exception was The Innocence Project).

That said, I hope they look into ovarian PRP injections or other ovarian rejuvenation techniques.

Posted by: CD at September 2nd, 2017 8:10 PM

"But aging doesn't start at 60, and the ideal time to begin rejuvenation therapies is earlier in life. Therefore we want to be able to prove that the first senolytic drugs are or are not capable of producing meaningful outcomes at those earlier ages. "

How early do you think it's recommended to start? By 40 or 50? Even if something for senolytics went to trial right now, we probably wouldn't see it for at least 10 years, and whatever it was would be for 1 indication most likely. I know Aubrey always says middle age, just wanted your opinion on it.

Posted by: Ham at September 3rd, 2017 7:38 AM

@Ham: Somewhere in the 40s seems a safe bet. Calcification of arteries starts to show up in scans, as does wear and tear on the spine and joints, hair is greying, and skin begins to show more obvious signs of loss of elasticity. My suspicion is that the current state of therapies and assays would have a hard time proving that anything useful happened for people any younger than that, even if it was the case that something useful was happening.

Posted by: Reason at September 3rd, 2017 8:33 AM

@Reason: Just to clarify, you believe that rejuv therapies would be mostly useful only for those under 50, and have little impact/effectiveness over that 50, I.E, it is too late to repair the damage?

Posted by: Robert at September 3rd, 2017 1:34 PM

@Robert: No. I mean that the earlier you start, the better, as the less secondary damage will accumulate over time. The older an individual is before interventions start, the more brain lesions, cardiac hypertrophy, and other structural damage that will require additional forms of therapy to repair.

Taken on an individual treatment basis, a rejuvenation therapy after the SENS model should have a larger effect on an older person because they have more damage. The younger person should benefit more over time from the same therapy applied repeatedly due to a lower average burden of damage.

Posted by: Reason at September 3rd, 2017 1:55 PM

@Robert I can't answer for Reason but I can give you a basic example of why I think the earlier the better:

Let's say you're 70 and you have arthritis.
Taking senolytics can halt the inflammation probably but the damage done to your bones - the bone spur formations and so on, those are another type of damage secondary to arthritis and removing the senescent cells will do nothing to revert it.

This should hold true for any type of "primary" damage. One thing leads to another - removing the progenitor doesn't mean what followed will fix itself.

So by that logic - the earlier the better, less problems to solve, less complexity, less procedures, better outcomes.

Posted by: Anonymoose at September 3rd, 2017 2:04 PM

Thanks Reason/Anonymoose,

So, it makes sense to do the medical tourism ASAP (but after a few years to work out the kinks) but not wait for FDA for those over 50. Ideally, it would be great to wait for FDA just to be safe, but probable not worth the wait for us older people.

I would think (and hope) that in 30 to 40 years, there would be therapies for even those whose damage was too late (that Reason mentioned), for the more sophisticated (nano-bots?)therapies to completely do the repair. Or, maybe it is too far out in time to speculate or I am biased/too optimistic:)

Posted by: Robert at September 3rd, 2017 2:15 PM

Looking at things from the perspective of someone in their 50s rather than someone in their 30s I can see how you could get frustrated with the FDA taking 10 years and covering their butts while secondary damage piles up in your body.

Posted by: Jim at September 3rd, 2017 3:06 PM

Jim,

Not to mention likely a few years on top of that so it can come down in price. As someone who is 31 now, I still think it would be at least 20 years or so before potentially being able to use/afford any therapies. Unless of course there is some serious regulatory fast tracking. But even then, I'm still concerned that things will be single indication only.

Posted by: Ham at September 3rd, 2017 4:07 PM

Hi there !

I believe it's not making much difference because it is really a long-term project and as such, means most likely any of us whom are 30-50 years old, will most likely reap the benefits of these therapies in at least 10 or more years. So add at least 10 years to your current age before you seen anything substantial (within reach $...and in available in your own country, otherwise you will have to (be rich/make savings) and use medical tourism). Some previous comments hinted that therapies were in the 20,000$-30,000$ prices, if you are a full year's worth of salary great but I have feeling that SENS will be priced about the same or More. AdG just says nothing about pricing (for obvious reasons that it will be Unaffordable (at the start) for anyone but the rich people (whom themselves pay (for themselves and the Patients - they paying for Everybody) for these trials to happen (as they pay for the poor patients whom can't afford it - to access it). They can, but if you depend on these rich people - don't hold your breath. The merefact that it is so expensive and that you need a rich individual to pay for himself/herself - and everyobdy else just to access the drug/therapy is a testament that SENS will co$t huge, it's almost sure (at the start at least). If SENS lacks money - to make these therapies, they cannot sell them for pennies (much like anything in USA medical wise is very expensive), SENS will be the Hottest Thing, as such, the most Expensive Thing. I'm 75% sure of that, just like any new cool hip thing, is medecine or rejuvenation = $$$$ pricey. I think SENS will be available for less than 10% of the population globally.90% of the rest just will not have the money to access it. Especially, the poor people or midlow-income working class (which represent the large mass). Rich people will have an advance and be able to obtain it quicker. Though, this might be a good thing, because these wealthy people will become the first people to 'been tested on', as such we will know if there are more potential dangers; and it'S sad ( in a sense) because they will be the first to feel any side effects (since, only they, could afford it). Maybe it's a karma thing, I haev nothing against people making money, more against the money concept (capitalism (economy euphemism) driving societies) which has good (allowing companies and certain things to happen/huge projects to be built (all depending on Single Thing : Cash) but so far, more bad as a (financial) resource : poor get poorer, rich get richer 'Get Rich (quick) or Die Trying'. It's a bit like recessive and bad genes, eliminated from the gene pool; it's as if this 'economy of cash' evolution is saying : make money or I eliminate you. - Compete - or you are removed (compete to obtain the resources/monetary resources: competes means make money, big pay job, become a Big Rich thing or don't compete (or just not have the chance to (tough luck), and it'S too bad you are out of the competition and vowed from extinction).
Money decides if you live or die, that's the crux of it in urban/industrial societies. And that'S our self-made demise (humanity is very good at auto-destruction, it is unfolding right now).

If SENS cost total 25,000+ (like a mortgage, or Life Studies Loan Debt (check the amount of people whom will borrow/be in debt to pay for this), or getting a heart transplant, you could wait until your dead on the 'transplant waiting list') I will rethink it's worth. It could take 10-20 years before it goes down from 20,000 to 2,000$.

Posted by: CANanonymity at September 3rd, 2017 5:43 PM

@Robert

Hi Robert ! Just a 2 cent

''I would think (and hope) that in 30 to 40 years, there would be therapies for even those whose damage was too late (that Reason mentioned), for the more sophisticated (nano-bots?)''

In 30 years, that's a long time, I think there should be something and though it may be less than expected, or simply, ignored (very likely, same as what happened with antiaging supplements, they exist, no one cares and/or they were debunked; it may be the same thing with these obscure therapies - for many they will not be obscure and for many others they will (still) be obscure. Analogy : Twitter or Facebook - not obscure to US population, obscure to many outside US population).

I want to believe in nano-bots but seeing a recent study showed nano-bacterias delivering a load to a tumor in its hypox region with certain success demonstrates - it's not really the problem of it existing, it's the problem of it being 'available' 'accessible' 'monetarily' speaking, analogy: building a super fast electric car - in 1950s...still no one has a electric car like that one (except now it is 'starting' to change with petroleum companies patents on crude oil/electric egine cars/to keep motors functioning with gazoline (to prevent from their disparition when they get replaced by electric cars), not holding anything anymore). The same thing with SENS or other new therapies. There is bodies (FDA) and many others whom make this a bureaucratic mountain the size of mount Everest, which means unsurmountable (except the 'occasional' adventurer 'once' every 25 years..whom dies reaching the peak).
It's made so that every barrier (And New Ones) are made to make sure it doesn't 'reach' the public and be 'available/accessible'; the public being the low-class mass payers (who through taxes indirectly pay for this or at least contribute, it can't be entirely funded privately by private wealthy people).

If nano'bacterias' are already there, and that's about it, why would nanobots be so much more better when they come; it is showcase that it's not nanobots themselves the bad (they are good) it's that you will not 'get them'; because they are not 'out there' available as therapies offered to the public. It can be long before' finally beign available. I think why scientists are not optimistic (yet holding on) is not so much the 'creation' of that novelty is unfeasible - it's the accessibility of it to 'become' something available for the public (after test trials in humans etc...). THat's why they are skeptic.
That's just my 2 cents.

Posted by: CANanonymity at September 3rd, 2017 8:08 PM

@CANanonymity,

Thanks for your thoughts.

I would think that once we have some bonefide rejuv treatments, then over a short period of time, the masses may demand these lacking treatments Reason mentioned that is not yet available in the main countries (U.S. Europe). If so, medical tourism may supply this outside of the heavily regulated countries (for a price), though cheaper than if it was available in the above mentioned countries. I think the critical issue here is once the general public knows and uses the coming basic rejuv treatments, the more restrictive or sophisticated rejuv will be known and demanded by the public.

Maybe this could be compared to stem cells and to a less extent, cosmetic surgery in the medical tourism envrionment.

And, if Ray K is correct about medical technology moving into exponential speed, yes, it would be great (possible?) to see nano-bots changing nearly anything within 20 years in the human body. That would be awesome.

Posted by: Robert at September 3rd, 2017 11:17 PM

@CANonymity: Agree on your thoughts on capitalism without regulations. I support Universal Basic Income (UBI) as a solution:

https://futurism.com/?s=UBI

Posted by: Norse at September 4th, 2017 6:20 AM

Lots of interesting stuff here. Excellent comments.

What a lot of people forget is the societal costs of aging. Back to Alex Z's comment about aging being very bad for the global economy, and also back to the talk from the Milken Institute hosted by Jim Mellon.

It is likely that we will see governments subsidize rejuvenation therapies for several reasons. (Maybe not in the US, but in Canada, Oz, and the EU we will likely see this)
1) As Aubrey has stated, the electorate will demand it.

2) The hordes of elderly that are coming will absolutely break economies. We have a lot less time to fix this than people realize. (Less than 10 years)

3) The 1% are coming around to the idea that longer lifespans = more profits, new business models and the simple conclusion that rejuvenation technology is going to be the BIGGEST industry on the planet. Its going to make the Internet and mobile tiny by comparison.

4) Aubrey stated this before but it bears mentioning again. Lets use two countries that are very similar and yet very different. The US and Canada. Here's the likely situation (And I'm saying this as a Canadian). Rejuvenation technology is paid for by our social system in Canada, and we have a healthy vibrant workforce and a very low cost of healthcare because we stay healthy longer. The treatments pay for themselves by reducing the healthcare burden as well as adding millions of people into the productive workforce. Thereby increasing the tax base, reducing pension obligations and sparking new industries that can provide economic growth. The US does its thing and allows the market to charge what the market will bear. The US has staggering societal costs of elderly upkeep while Canada eats its lunch. Even in the US, where socialized healthcare is verboten, I see them coming around. Any country that eliminates the cost of aging will pull FAR ahead of any country that perpetuates sickness. Japan and China are already looking that far ahead. Expect more to jump on that wagon.

One more thing..

What I see going on right now with these plans like Rescue and Theil's herpies vaccine are CHALLENGES to the FDA. Biotech has come a long way since the days these regulations were passed and truth be told, the regulations are now doing more to kill us than help us. Expect to see more of these as the technology progresses and investors assets are stranded in red tape. Also expect to see other countries really opening up to medical tourism and heavy advertising as well as peer-backed journals of successful treatments available overseas for a fraction of the cost you would see in any G7 country.

Think about it.

Do Theil, Faloon, Aubrey, Mellon et all want to die?

Of course not.

Do you think for an instant that these people will allow themselves to shuffle off their mortal coil if they have the tech to prevent it? I think not.

Those that are in this fight know that its a matter of life and death. Expect them to treat it as such. Expect a fight. We are seeing right now the opening shots of that fight. Expect challenges, lobbying, technological progress and threat of all out societal collapse to FINALLY make the FDA budge.

It's now September and the FDA is going to be releasing its new regulations for Regenerative Medicine. Lets see what kind of stance they will take. Scott Gottlieb is Trump's man... and considering the media circus around every other aspect of Trump's administration, the FDA has remained largely unscathed. People = policy and Gottlieb has been very vocal of the FDA's regulation for some time. I anticipate his policy will be moving in that direction.

For all our hand-wringing remember one thing... we have less than 10 years to fix this.

Plan accordingly.

Posted by: Mark Borbely at September 4th, 2017 11:57 AM

Mark Borbely,

I hope you're right on the FDA, and general support for rejuvenation therapies. That said, I have a bad feeling that the most support you're going to see anytime soon is something along the lines of the longevity dividend nonsense... especially in the US. I don't think it's far fetched that the government/FDA could look at the figures proposed (I think 7 trillion by 2050 in health care savings? Please correct me if i'm wrong) by the longevity dividend group while just adding an additional 2 years or so in life expectancy and call it a day, and not go out of their way to accelerate rejuvenation research.

I say this for a variety of reasons, especially with how religious the US (and it's bureaucrats) is. I'm sure people would complain that living longer than 120 would be unnatural, along with the other typical objections such as how we need to open up new jobs for younger people, the pensions!!!, resources, etc. Basically the Leon Kass-esque objections.

Posted by: Ham at September 4th, 2017 8:30 PM

Hi Ham

"I'm sure people would complain that living longer than 120 would be unnatural, along with the other typical objections such as how we need to open up new jobs for younger people, the pensions!!!, resources, etc. Basically the Leon Kass-esque objections."

yes, all these arguments will be played out in the media (and we are already sick of them!), but I suspect enough important people have already been convinced by the importance of true rejuv tech that it will be more of an argument over whether we should do it rather than whether we should support the research to make it possible. As soon as the masses realise this is possible and they can have it all the pseudo-intellectual objections will disappear and we will look back on the diseases of aging like we now do for diseases like polio, once terrifying, now barely remembered.

Posted by: Mark at September 5th, 2017 3:21 AM

@HAM: I'm going with Mark on this one. We just have to let greed take its course. Now I'm normally one of the most left-leaning individuals out there. I'm one of those super-rare left-libertarians. However in this case, I'm not just pulling for greed, I'm counting on it. We just have to take a look at the money entering the field now, and its only going to grow.

Even if Google and Calico pursue the same metabolic dead end we are used to seeing, the money they are sinking into it is enough to garner attention from competitors, and in fact, that is happening.

The 1% are going to embrace this. They are going to push and lobby for it, and the Kass-types will be silenced pretty quickly if we market and spin this correctly.

This is actually a good topic and if we can get ahead of the messaging now, we can make this happen.

How do we frame this?

What approach are the deathists going to take, and what is the best counter? They tend to take the traditionalist approach and use very authoritarian, condescending language that waxes in factless drivel. Facts don't seem to work much anymore. But the world is getting VERY sick of authoritarian lies.

Do we treat it like a life and death struggle?
- Who made these people God and what gives them the right to kill me?
- Now that we have the technology to save lives and ease suffering there are sick people in the world who want you to die. Kass is one of them.
- If Kass is so in love with death, he should go first, take notes and come back and report his findings like a good scientist.

As you can probably tell, I prefer the rational economic approach with just a hint of fear. The old will kill economic growth so we really have two choices... kill them off or rejuvenate them. I really don't see the Logan's Run scenario as working out politically. No one wants to stuff Grandma in the woodchipper.

We should communicate with LEAF, SENS etc and work on a message and perpetuate it.

Hoping Steve can weigh in here... probably plans and ideas floating wound already. We need to get on board.

Posted by: Mark Borbely at September 5th, 2017 11:08 AM

Colorectal screening, prostate screening and other medical interventions usually start at 50, unless those diseases have a strong genetic basis in your family. Thus, 50 would seem like a round number half way to maximum lifespan now of around 100, to begin the new rejuvenation therapies.

Posted by: Biotechy at September 5th, 2017 12:32 PM

Talking about the 1% taking action... Michael Greeve will sponsor a SENS conference next year in Berlin. That could energyze antiaging R&D in Europe. I mean, the real rejuvenation R&D, not the slowing-aging stuff.

Posted by: Antonio at September 5th, 2017 4:03 PM

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