The LongLongLife team here reports briefly on their time at the recent Undoing Aging conference. This was the first in a series of conferences, hosted jointly by the SENS Research Foundation and Forever Healthy Foundation, that will mix the scientific and academic focus of the SENS rejuvenation research conferences with the biotechnology industry focus of the Rejuvenation Biotechnology conferences. By all accounts the initial Undoing Aging event was well received.
The very first Undoing Aging Congress was held in March 2018 in Berlin, and was attended by 350 people from a total of 36 countries. Initiated by Aubrey de Grey, co-founder of the SENS Research Foundation, and Michael Greve, founder and CEO of the Forever Healthy Foundation, the conference focused on the most promising advances in anti-aging research. The congress, which lasted for three days, was divided into different sessions, each of which dealt with a specific theme of anti-aging research. Among the major issues were regenerative medicine, the elimination of senescent cells, cancer therapies, and biomarkers of aging.
Dr. Doug Ethell, founder and director of Leucadia Therapeutics, linked the site of the development of Alzheimer's disease in the brain to the presence of a porous bone plate at the same site that drains the cerebrospinal fluid (fluid that cleanses the intercellular space of the brain). With age, this bone plate becomes blocked, no longer allowing the toxic metabolites carried by the cerebrospinal fluid to pass. The accumulation of these wastes would lead to the formation of plaques, at the origin of the development of the disease. Leucadia Therapeutics has developed a therapeutic device which restores the flow of cerebrospinal fluid and the elimination of toxic metabolites. Dr. Ethell hopes clinical trials can begin in 2019.
Transthyrethin amyloidosis is a rare disease in two forms (cardiomyopathy and polyneuropathy) and develops with age. It is caused by the accumulation of transthyretin protein (TTR) incorrectly folded into amyloid plaques. There is currently no FDA approved treatment for this disease. Dr. Isabella Graef, co-founder of Eidos Therapeutics, explained how her laboratory discovered a drug candidate that could work on both forms of the disease. It is a small molecule that can bind and stabilize TTR, preventing the formation of amyloid plaque, and which could stop the progression of the disease. This molecule has been in phase 1 clinical trials (trials on healthy subjects) since 2017.
Regenerative medicine aims to create new tissues or organs to replace defective ones. This medicine is booming and the technological processes that allow its development are constantly progressing. Dr. Eric Lagasse of the University of Pittsburgh presented at the congress the work of his LyGenesis laboratory, which has developed a technology to generate the liver from lymph nodes. The goal of the method is to transplant healthy hepatocyte cells into the lymph nodes, resulting in the generation functional liver tissue. This technology has already shown its effectiveness in mice and pigs.
Dr. Steve Horvath, a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, has a long history of working on biomarkers of aging. He is behind Horvath's epigenetic clock, which predicts biological age as a function of genome methylation. Predicting biological age using methylation is now the most accurate way, says Dr. Horvath. He proposes that DNA methylation should be measured in clinical trials as part of the fight against aging. Finally, his goal by 2021 is to develop an epigenetic clock that applies to all mammals.