Starting a company is a sizable commitment, made in order to produce a better future. With this in mind I have founded Repair Biotechnologies, a new venture that will focus on the development of gene therapies relevant to human rejuvenation. My partner in this, Bill Cherman, is an investor in our rejuvenation research community. He has supported a number of interesting startup biotechnology companies in the past few years, including several that I've also helped in one way or another. Together we intend to carry forward some of the most promising advances produced by the scientific community, picking the best of the many lines of research relevant to human rejuvenation undertaken in recent years. Given even a cursory glance through the Fight Aging! archives, you'll see that we are spoiled for choice: it is a great time to be working in this field.
We are in search of a Chief Scientist! If you have a scientific background in gene therapy, experience in the field, and a taste for the biotechnology startup life, then give some thought to joining our team. The role is a hands-on Chief Scientist: someone with an interest in building new gene therapies for the treatment of aging as a medical condition, and capable of running an ambitious biotechnology program from its earliest stages onward. A history of working through the US or European regulatory system of clinical trials would also be helpful, but is not required. If you are an entrepreneurially minded scientist who knows the ins and outs of modern gene therapy, then we would very much like to hear from you.
The many variants of gene therapy, alongside other novel, long-lasting methods of delivering proteins into cells, collectively form a technology platform that will power much of the future of medicine. This is particularly true for rejuvenation therapies. Just look at the SENS research portfolio: gene therapies are fundamental to, for example, the LysoSENS efforts to deliver enzymes capable of breaking down metabolic waste, or the MitoSENS project to copy mitochondrial genes into the cell nucleus. These are far from the only broad areas of development that are or can be built atop gene therapy, of course.
Out of the gate, our initial focus is on the development of gene therapies to spur regeneration of the thymus. This has the potential to restore production of T cells in older individuals, or other cases in which patients suffer from immunodeficiency and its consequences. The thymus is where T cells mature after their creation in the bone marrow, and its capacity places a limit on the rate at which new T cells take up their duties in the body. The thymus atrophies quite profoundly at the end of childhood, in a process called involution, cutting the rate of T cell creation dramatically. It then declines further over the course of adult life. This loss of function, and falling rate of T cell creation, is an important contribution to the age-related loss of immune function that makes old people frail and vulnerable in comparison to their younger counterparts. This isn't just a matter of defending against pathogens or responding to the yearly influenza vaccination: the immune system is also responsible for suppressing cancerous and senescent cells. All of these functions falter alongside the loss of active thymic tissue.
This can be reversed! It has been reversed in mice, and must now be brought to human medicine. We are embarking upon our first program of work in partnership with the team at Ichor Therapeutics, one of the success stories in the transition of our broader community of scientists and advocates from research to commercial development. Later, other lines of development are planned. Looking at the broader field, as defined in the SENS rejuvenation research proposals, there is a certainly a great deal to accomplish on the road ahead - from where we stand today, all the way to the advent of a comprehensive suite of first generation rejuvenation therapies. We aim to do our part and more in pushing the present state of the art towards that goal. Even in our starting point, consider that there is considerable promise in any meaningful degree of restoration of the aged immune system.
For now, the grand vision of what can be achieved through widespread availability of thymic regeneration therapies lies ahead, past many initial steps: pre-clinical development, clinical trials, validation. We are very excited to embark on this journey, towards the goal of bringing benefits to patients, the goal of turning back aspects of aging and age-related disease. Bill and I look forward to future success in this endeavor.
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