A Short Commentary by Reason from the Giant Health Conference in 2019

I had quite forgotten about the video of this short commentary I'd given last year at Giant Health in London. I was recently prompted for a transcript by someone, and so here it is. This conference was a mainstream health event, not normally a place that would have any great focus on longevity and aging. However, the Aikora Health principals had claimed one of the stages and put together a set of presentations from various people involved in the development of means to treat aging, myself included. All of us were ambushed by interviewers with cameras at some point in the proceedings, and hence this video.

Longevity research and gene therapy: where are we now?

Certainly this event is an example of some of the people in our longevity community coming in and just taking over a little bit of somebody else's conference to talk about longevity ... but really exposing the rest of the community to it. I'm finding that at every event I go to, I'd really love to have conference presentations where I get to talk about some interesting thing about the longevity industry, because there are a lot of really interesting things going on.

But every presentation turns out to be "hey, we exist, please notice us - because this is really, really important." Everything that you guys think that you are doing in medicine is about to be up-ended, because suddenly we're going to be actually able to stop people from getting sick and incapacitated and debilitated in old age. This is happening right now, the first rejuvenation therapies exist. But nobody notices.

It is that interesting, weird stage of development where a thing has happened, but not everybody yet realizes that it has happened, and there is an awful lot of advocacy still needed to shove this great idea down everyone's throats, make them pay attention. That in fact, actually, yes, 50% of everyone with arthritis in old age probably do not need to have arthritis. They could go take a $100 senolytic drug combination and it would go away. This is news to you, and it is news to most people here. It needs to not be news and people need to get on and do this.

Since I run a gene therapy company, it is nice to see a whole gene therapy stage talk about that topic. Gene therapy is very much a wave. When we started Repair Biotechnologies, before we even knew what we were going to do, we said "this will be a gene therapy company." This is because it is self-evidently the case that a lot of small molecule development is going to go away and be replaced by gene therapy. Gene therapy is more precise, you can do more with it, and it is definitely easier to evolve a gene therapy program than a small molecule program. So this part of the field is really important, and it is really important that more people get out and talk about this.

Comments

Thank you, @Reason! You are 1000% right as always !

Posted by: Ariel at March 26th, 2020 9:57 PM

What is this $100 senolytic drug combination that cures arthritis as a matter of interest?

Posted by: John S at March 27th, 2020 12:49 AM

What's the arthritis drug? Where is it available to purchase for ~$100?

Posted by: Laur at March 27th, 2020 3:53 AM

How do we even reverse aging in humans, now? Because whenever someone asks this on /r/longevity, the answer is: do sports, eat healthy!

Posted by: Laur at March 27th, 2020 3:55 AM

I think he refers to dasatinib+quercetin.

Posted by: Antonio at March 27th, 2020 4:41 AM

@John
Yes, senolytics.
dasatinb + quercetin combo. Or fisetin. No human arthritis study, though. And from unity Bio study or seems there is need for something else too. Senolytics alone don't cure it.

@Laur
Senolytics are the first approach that reverse some aspects of aging damage in model organisms. Not all, thought and seems the senescence stem burden in human starts to be too high after 55-65.

Much weaker results come from boosting autophagy pathways. Again, after 65 it seems there's shortage of Nicotinase and the right supplements help, and in some extreme cases b reverse some symptoms.

Doesn't sound that impressive but all these might buy you a few years all else being equal. Also there's rapamycin which seems to slow down aging by a few percents.

And until now, that want possible at all. If before the current, pandemic Senolytics were widely used the victim numbers cold have been shifted to a few years older

Posted by: Cuberat at March 27th, 2020 6:18 AM

@cuberat - the Unity study was only a phase 1 safety study with an injection into the knee. You probably need to remove senescent cells throughout the body to have an effect. It is very possible that inflammatory signaling from senescent cells elsewhere in the body is capable of suppressing cartilage growth in the knee.

Posted by: Jimofoz at March 27th, 2020 11:49 AM

@Jimofoz
Nevertheless it is the only published human study I can find about senolytic usage. For sure it shows that our understanding of both senescent cells impact, removal, damage and arthritis/cartilage regeneration is quite incomplete. For all the great potential there is for senolytic treatments i see very little research and excitement. If the promise actually works having mature senolytic therapies can easily make the 70s the new 60, if not 50s. That alone is huge even if it doesn't give much benefits for anyone below 50. For the last couple of years I was really enthusiastic and hopeful. Now, I am a bit disillusioned. If we take for , example e-ink, it had huge promises 15 years ago. We have a bunch of e-book readers but it doesn't replace price tags in the stores and such.Similarly, senolytics are very promising and the treatments seem quite simple and non-invasive yet we don't see a rush, just a general interest but much less papers than the mainstream topics..

Posted by: cuberat at March 27th, 2020 2:40 PM

What does Reason mean by "small molecules"? Pills or supplements?

Posted by: Zan at March 29th, 2020 12:36 AM

Post a comment; thoughtful, considered opinions are valued. New comments can be edited for a few minutes following submission. Comments incorporating ad hominem attacks, advertising, and other forms of inappropriate behavior are likely to be deleted.

Note that there is a comment feed for those who like to keep up with conversations.