Some of the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation folk were at the recent Longevity Leaders conference in London, and wrote up a report on the event. The conference split up into three streams later in the day, one of which is followed here. Being focused on the pensions and life insurance industries as much as biotechnology, there were a lot of people present with minimal exposure to the prospects for rejuvenation and slowing of aging. It was noteworthy to see so many there being newly interested in the topic of treating aging as a medical condition, and motivated to learn more because it is important to their work in other areas of endeavor.
The conference was quite broad in scope and included people from the aging research community, the pharmaceutical industry, general healthcare, and the business and insurance fields. Speaking of insurance companies, it was interesting that the large insurance companies Prudential and Legal & General were both sponsoring the event; Prudential had even produced an interesting booklet for guests with the title "Prepare for 100" boldly on the cover. The book went on to talk about the changes coming to medicine and how people could soon be living longer than ever before thanks to the new medical approaches that are currently being developed.
Dr. Aubrey de Grey was in fine form as usual during the keynote panel discussion at the start of the event, just as he was when, later that day, I had the opportunity to interview him about progress with SENS. While we will be publishing the interview I did with Aubrey later, it's a good time to share the interesting concept of damage crosstalk now. It turns out that Aubrey has become more optimistic about the medical control of age-related damage and has moved his prediction of longevity escape velocity down from 20 years to 18. Quite simply, there is increasing evidence that the different aging processes have a lot more influence and interaction with each other (crosstalk) than previously thought.
Lynne Cox, a biochemist from the University of Oxford, chaired a discussion panel with Brian Delaney, president of the Age Reversal Network and who serves on our Industry Advisory Board, and Tristan Edwards, the CEO of Life Biosciences. The discussion topics were "What's at the cutting edge of aging research and development?" and "How can we accelerate research and development and the advancement of new therapies to address aging and age-related disease?" The panel was in a round table format, and attendees were also able to directly join the discussion, which proved lively and interesting. Lynne Cox, in particular, provided some very informative details about aging research.
There was considerable discussion about senescent cell clearing therapies as well as touching upon the topic of biohacking. The general feeling was that biohacking had the potential to set the field back if people conduct it in an unscientific manner and harm themselves in the process. Indeed, this echoes our sentiment that people who self-test at home should be very careful and apply a science-based approach to what they are doing. The bottom line is that if you are not recording your biomarkers and doing things scientifically, you risk hurting yourself and are taking things on faith rather than evidence; this also has potential to harm the field and set research back, so please hack responsibly.
On a more positive note, the panel was in favor about science doing something about aging and age-related diseases, and discussion of senolytics, senomorphics (therapies that block senescent cell inflammation), and cellular reprogramming were all enthusiastically discussed, especially by the academics present. This is very welcome, and it was great to see so many academics being frank about the potential of medicine to bring aging under medical control in order to prevent age-related diseases, which is in stark contrast to a decade ago, when suggesting the idea could harm your career and get you mocked by your peers. Times have certainly changed, as more and more researchers are now focusing on how we can rise to the challenge that aging presents.