An Interview with Aubrey de Grey at Longevity.Technology

It is always pleasant to see new efforts to produce longevity-focused interest sites and publications; Longevity.Technology is a recent example, here publishing an interview with Aubrey de Grey of the SENS Research Foundation that touches on recent developments in the field of rejuvenation research. There have been many such news organization initiatives over the past ten to fifteen years, and all too few of them lasted. Hopefully that will change now that an industry of rejuvenation is forming, beginning with the development of senolytic therapies, and ever greater degrees of funding and attention are directed towards this part of the life science field. If we look at larger fields, enough of that funding and attention can spill over to support a community focused on analysis, reporting, and other such work. That should happen here as well.

We've read a lot of very compelling reasons from you as to why we as a society should care about aging, but we're very curious what made you care about it?

Nothing really made me care about it. It was always obvious to me that it was the number one most important problem in the world. It's the thing that causes by far the greatest amount of suffering and everyone gets it. The astonishing thing was that other people didn't think that way. In fact, I only discovered that others didn't in my late 20s. I had gone through my entire life presuming that it was as obvious as the colour of the sky. It wasn't something I would even have conversations about, so I'd never done the experiment to determine whether anyone else agreed. Then I met my ex-wife, who was quite a senior biologist at the time. And I began to discover that, actually, people didn't think that way, not even in biology. And hardly any work was being done to deal with this problem. So I thought "Well, that won't do."

What is the SENS platform and why did you need to create it?

SENS stands for Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence. It's a formal name for the way my organisation, the SENS Research Foundation, develops therapies for the diseases and disabilities of aging. I was able to see that there was indeed a very different, and entirely overlooked, approach to dealing with aging. And it was something the people who were studying it weren't doing: that we should essentially be trying to repair damage in the body. When I'm feeling frivolous, I like to compare gerontologists of that era to seismologists. What they studied was bad for you, but they had no idea whatsoever how they could actually do anything about it. I stuck to my guns, stood my ground and people have gradually caught up and understood the kinds of things I've been saying all the time. Now it's totally mainstream - orthodox - and people are reinventing the idea in slightly different language. So that's all very nice.

What undeveloped areas are you working on at the moments?

One that really is a centrepiece project in-house (and has been for quite some time) is to put back-up copies of the mitochondrial DNA in the cell nucleus. For non-biologists who are reading, mitochondria are very essential parts of each cell that perform the chemistry of breathing. They combine oxygen with nutrients in order to extract energy from those nutrients. And, unlike any other part of the cell, the mitochondria have their own DNA - separate from the DNA of the nucleus.

But the process of extracting energy from nutrients using oxygen is chemically hairy, producing a load of by-products (in particular free radicals) that can damage the mitochondrial DNA and give it a really bad day. So the idea that we've taken, that was put forward in the mid 80s, is to essentially put copies of the mitochondrial DNA inside the nucleus, modified so that it still works in there, to shield it from this damage. It's not as hard as it sounds, but it still is very hard! People gave up on it ... they thought it was too hard. I thought that they'd given up a bit too easily. And it turns out I was right - we had to work about ten years or so before we eventually got to the point of being able to publish a single paper on this. But we eventually got there a couple of years ago, and now we have a second paper in the works demonstrating that we have done most of the job.

Link: https://www.longevity.technology/and-it-turns-out-i-was-right/

Comments

If you read the small print and disclosures on this site you will find it is run by an investors relation / ad agency (PERGALI Limited)

This is an advertising site

Not legitimate longevity news

Posted by: Quinn Binnembaum at September 16th, 2019 9:35 AM

@Quinn Binnembaum
What exactly is being advertised?

Posted by: Person1234 at September 16th, 2019 10:33 AM

The more well-informed sites about rejuvenation biotechnology, and other advanced medical technologies that will lead to indefinite health in general, the better.

Posted by: Quinn at September 16th, 2019 11:11 AM

@Person1234

Read what the holding company does - https://www.pergali.com/#about-pergali

It's not really legit as you can't see who is paying for these "Ad articles"

Posted by: Quinn Binnembaum at September 16th, 2019 2:58 PM

@Quinn

Can you show me a better news outlet with more reliable resources?

Posted by: Person1234 at September 16th, 2019 3:04 PM

@Person1234

Any where there is a firewall between the two sides of the business

Posted by: Quinn Binnembaum at September 16th, 2019 3:29 PM

@Person1234
Re: "Can you show me a better news outlet with more reliable resources?"

Web: FightAging (of course), LEAF Blog/Newsfeed
Podcasts: LEAF's Rejuvenation Roundup, Longecity Interviews

But probably even better is to follow aging companies & aging researchers on LinkedIn and then just read your feed there.

More sites talking about aging is generally a good thing, but if anyone is looking for something more than another "blob of text" site, I just finished making a site that is primarily concise structured info rather than interviews or bits of text wrapped around recent announcements or papers. Primarily it is currently a list of companies in the aging/longevity space with info & links on each. You can find it at: agingbiotech.info

It is currently un-promoted, but I will announce it more publicly later this week.
It is not flashy, preferring a simple style (like Google). The focus is on content and basic operations like ability to sort & restrict. It is offered purely as a public service for the community.

In service of the above idea of using LinkedIn feed as news source, one could easily click the LinkedIn column of the companies table for all companies of interest and click Follow for each in order to nudge one's feed to follow new developments on the way to commercialization of aging biotechnologies.

Posted by: Karl Pfleger at September 17th, 2019 9:52 AM

Wow Karl, you have put a lot of time and effort into listing the anti aging biotech's, what they do, and the stage they are at. Fantastic information!

Posted by: August at September 17th, 2019 7:39 PM

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