Tag Archives: fight aging

Dave Sharp: Study shows Rapamycin extends life in mice

A year ago the Methuselah Foundation presented a special Mprize Lifespan Achievement Award to Dave Sharp for his work with rapamycin. Science, Nature and TIME magazines each featured rapamycin – an antibiotic used in transplant patients that extended the life span of aged mice – as a significant and exciting scientific breakthrough.

More recently, Dave Sharp has announced that a second replication of the life span study has been repeated with the same results.

The drug, called rapamycin or sirolimus and marketed under the brand name Rapamune by Wyeth, suppresses the immune system but also fights inflammation, which underlies cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and a range of other ills.

“Rapamycin may extend lifespan by postponing death from cancer, by retarding mechanisms of aging, or both,” David Harrison of The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine and colleagues wrote in their report, published in the journal Nature.

The researchers at several U.S. centers fed rapamycin capsules to the mice daily starting at the age of 600 days, an age equivalent to 60 years old in humans.

All the mice lived longer, they reported. Some lived as much as 55 per cent longer, but the effects varied.

“We believe this is the first convincing evidence that the aging process can be slowed and lifespan can be extended by a drug therapy starting at an advanced age,” said Randy Strong, of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, who worked on the study.

Read more about the findings that could help researchers find better ways to fight the diseases of aging and perhaps the process itself.

Here is a video presentation of Dave Sharp receiving his MPrize award for rapamycin.

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Filed under Drug design, Life Extension, Science

Researchers jumpstart nerve fibers to reverse stroke damage

A new technique that jumpstarts the growth of nerve fibers could reverse much of the damage caused by strokes, researchers reported recently.

“This therapy may be used to restore function even when it’s given long after ischemic brain damage has occurred,” senior author Gwendolyn Kartje, MD, PhD and colleagues write.

Kartje is director of the Neuroscience Institute of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and chief of neuroscience research at Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital.

There currently is little doctors can do to limit stroke damage after the first day following a stroke. Most strokes are ischemic (caused by blood clots). A drug called tPA can limit damage, but must be given within the first three hours for the greatest benefit — and most patients do not receive treatment within that time window.

Kartje and colleagues report on a treatment called anti-Nogo-A therapy. Nogo-A is a protein that inhibits the growth of nerve fibers called axons. It serves as a check on runaway nerve growth that could cause a patient to be overly sensitive to pain, or to experience involuntary movements. (The protein is called Nogo because it in effect says “No go” to axons.) In anti-Nogo therapy, an antibody disables the Nogo protein. This allows the growth of axons into the stroke-affected side of the body and the restoration of functions lost due to stroke.

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The FDA Needs to Rethink Aging

I wanted to share an interesting perspective by statistician Gary Liberson, PhD. He recently published some valid points on the present system of FDA licensing and the difficulty that companies face in finding an economic justification for longevity research without seeking a specific disease.

According to Liberson, the problem lies with the FDA approval system that requires a pharmaceutical company show three things: (1) a mechanism of action (i.e., identify why a drug works), (2) safety and (3) efficacy in managing a measurable biologic end point associated with a disease. This last condition, according to Liberson is a  problem.

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Filed under Biomarkers, Mechanisms of aging

The main question in Biogerontology

mechanisms of aging, white-footed mouse, lab mouse, mice, aging, fight aging, aging research, biogerontology, funding, stress resistance, oxidative stress, George Sacher, long-lived animals, negligible senescence, naked mole rat
There’s this quite simple idea: to take two species similar in size and basic biology, but having a substantial difference in longevity, and figure out what’s the reason for this difference. What are the distinctions in the mechnisms of aging and stress resistance? It’s desirable to carry out this work in various species. However, not a lot of people are excited about this simple idea. Even the genome of the famous naked mole rat has not been sequenced yet, although many people believe it’s got “negligible” senescence.

For now all that we have is negligible funding of evolutionary-comparative biology of aging. Moreover, previously obtained results are put into cold storage.

In 1962 George Sacher began laboratory breeding of wild-caught house mice (Mus musculus) and white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) trapped near the Argonne Laboratory site in northeast Illinois. The maximal lifespan of the white-footed mouse turned out to be more than 8 years, contrary to 3,5 years in either wild-caught or laboratory house mice. Sacher’s laboratory publiched about a dozen papers comparing house and white-footed mice, as did Ron Hart’s laboratory in the National Center for Toxicological Research.

There’s no need to say that George Sacher was given grants mostly for works in the area of radiological protection, and aging research was mostly funded by means of the lab’s own resources.

Since the beginning of the 1980s research was just middling, but still something was found out.

Below are some data from the works of Ungvary et al. and Labinskyy et al. Basicly this table shows the major known differences between the species. The autors claim that these data correspond with the oxidative stress theory of aging.

mechanisms of aging, white-footed mouse, lab mouse, mice, aging, fight aging, aging research, biogerontology, funding, stress resistance, oxidative stress, George Sacher, long-lived animals, negligible senescence, naked mole rat
Still a lot of questions can be addressed to the white-footed mouse. For example, what is the destinction in the stress resistance mechanisms? What’s with its regeneration capacity? What if we compare it with the naked mole rat? And here comes the main question in Biogerontology. Why is the research into the fundamental mechanisms of aging so scarcely funded?

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Regenerative Medicine Roadmap 1.1


Here is the updated edition of the Roadmap to Regenerative Medicine; the first one can be found here. Cell therapy and tissue engineering are described in more detail, than the rest of the scientific issues. I welcome everybody to take a look and add what’s missing and/or change what’s wrong. I’d also like to note that the organizational issues aren’t described at all, but this is probably the most important part of the roadmap. There should be an implementational plan of how exactly the Roadmap should work included in the organizational part. To do that, we need to address the specialists in the given fields.

But at least for now the question is – what’s missing in the scientific part?

Here you can download the Roadmap Poster-REG-MED_ENG_04-2011_new.

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Bubonic plague

bubonic plague, aging, fight aging, arguments against fighting aging, overpoppulation, argue with fate, boring to live, cosmetology, ulcer, cure, plague Almost every time the conversation drifts to fighting aging, the majority of people lose their common sense. Here’s how a typical dialog about aging looks like, but the word “aging” is substituted with “bubonic plague”. This takes place in the city of “N.”

Bubonic plague fighter: There’s a huge problem in our city – we’ve got an epidemic of bubonic plague. If we do nothing, everybody will die in the throes of bubonic plague.

Inhabitant of the city: Let’s take a look at the problem from another point of view: if nobody dies from bubonic plague, our city will be overpopulated.

Bubonic plague fighter: We don’t have a problem with overpopulation right now, but we do have one with bubonic plague. If the people are healthy and sane, they will be able to stop overpopulation from happening – we can domesticate new land, limit child birth, and build really big houses. I’m telling you, we don’t have the problem with overpopulation now, but half of the inhabitants have fever, and they are dying from bubonic plague. We need to spend resources on finding a vaccine.

Inhabitant of the city: People don’t only die from bubonic plague. For example, the butcher was driven over by a cart yesterday, and on Third street a boy died from pneumonia. What do we do about that?

Bubonic plague fighter: But still, the great majority are dying from bubonic plague. Their bodies are covered with ulcers, and their inner organs are affected. This is a major issue. It needs to solved in the first place.

Inhabitant of the city: People have always been dying from bubonic plague. Millions of people died from it in our town and in other cities. This is natural. You shouldn’t argue with your fate.

Bubonic plague fighter: Then why do we try to conquer other diseases, but not the bubonic plague? If there were a vaccine, people would not refuse it! People have always tried to do what’s best for them. Now that’s natural.

Inhabitant of the city
: But bubonic plague cannot be defined as a disease, because nobody is trying to overcome it, and there’s no cure for it. This is what nature gave us. It cannot be cured.

Bubonic plague fighter
: Scientists have some positive results, but they haven’t got enough money to enlarge the scope of research. More labs need to be built.

Inhabitant of the city: Isn’t it going to be that only the wealthy people would be able to afford the drug?

Bubonic plague fighter
: Let’s first create the drug and then think how we can make it affordable for everybody. By the way, look, you have some kind of a strange ulcer yourself.

Inhabitant of the city
: Now all the people that live in our city are extremely active, because they know they will soon die from bubonic plague. We are very successful at different crafts; we built a theater; we have big plans for organizing a sports championship. The progress would stop if there had been no bubonic plague. We wouldn’t need to rush – it would be boring to live.

Bubonic plague fighter
: If you are covered with ulcers and spit blood all the time, you’ll be bored to live for sure. When a person is healthy, it’s obviously much more interesting and joyful for him to live.

Inhabitant of the city: You’re saying this because you’re afraid of bubonic plague yourself. And I’m not!

Bubonic plague fighter: It takes a lot of courage to try to solve the problem, but not to say there is none.

Inhabitant of the city: But what can I do? Nothing depends on me.

Bubonic plague fighter: You can persuade other people, and you can show a good example – give your own money to the scientists. The mayor needs to be persuaded. You have to act, do something. But you must want to act in the first place.

Inhabitant of the city
: I killed a couple of rats in my house and I don’t eat meat. I’ve always been telling other people that rodents have to be destroyed because they spread infection.

Bubonic plague fighter
: It’s not enough. We can chase rodents until the end of time, however a vaccine has to be developed in the first place.

Inhabitant of the city
: There are frauds who sell cure from bubonic plague. One can also use make up for the ulcers, so they won’t be seen.

Bubonic plague fighter
: The fact that there are swindlers and cosmetology does not cancel the need to fight bubonic plague. Are you ready to make the effort to do it?

Inhabitant of the city
: You are doing such a great job. But I can’t deal with fighting the bubonic plague. I have lots of my personal problems. I must build a house for me and my kids to live in.

Bubonic plague fighter
: I won’t be able to fight bubonic plague on my own. Everyone has their own goals, problems and tasks, but bubonic plague is going to knock on everybody’s door and everybody is going to rot alive. The problem will not be solved until we unite.


Filed under Immortalism, Life Extension