Longevity: Where Technology Meets Precision Health — Scientific Breakthroughs, Frontier Technologies, and Longevity Economy
Research from the Stanford Center on Longevity suggests that people born between 1965 and 1980 (Generation X) are expected to live 20–30 years longer than previous generations. A 45-year-old woman living today in excellent health has a 20% chance of living to 100 and a 45-year-old man in excellent health has an 11% chance of living to 100.
My interest in aging research stems from an interest in science and technology and the possibility of using scientific and technological advances to slow down aging and extend human life. Slowing down aging will delay and possibly prevent age-related diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and dementia. Scientists already understand the pathways that are the primary drivers of aging and a number of companies are working on developing treatments that target aging. Some of these treatments could enable people to live decades longer than 100 years.
“Aging and disease stem from common mechanisms. Delaying disease by delaying the aging process is a real proposition.”
Gordon Lithgow, PhD, Professor and Vice President, Buck Institute for Research on Aging
In 2020 MIT Technology Review selected Anti-Aging Drugs as one of 10 Top Breakthrough Technologies expected to make the biggest impact toward solving the most important problems facing humanity. Although no Longevity therapeutics have gained regulatory approval yet, promising potential drugs have passed phase I and II clinical trials and some are in phase III clinical trials. Some of these therapeutics may be granted approval and become available within five years.
Image source Insilico Medicine
Aging without illness could become a reality in our lifetime. Although the full impact is probably more than a decade away, research is underway in many areas of aging and we expect a series of near-term breakthroughs. Current progress in aging research, complemented by increases in funding, could deliver significant near-term treatments. Over the coming months, in my Longevity Readiness Series, I will explore important advances in the Longevity Industry. These are ten companies and organisations that I’m looking forward to writing about in 2021.
The Buck Institute for Research on Aging
The Buck Institute for Research in Aging is the epicenter of Longevity research. Over 250 scientists at the Buck are conducting the most advanced Longevity research in many areas including the mechanisms of aging, neurodegeneration, senescence and inflammation, stem cells and regenerative medicine, cellular stress and disease, cancer associated with aging, mitochondria and bioenergetics, and female reproductive Longevity.
Juvenescence is a bio-pharma development company developing therapies focused on allowing people worldwide to live longer, healthier lives. The company has four divisions that drive innovation for advancements in age-related research. JuvRx targets the fundamental molecular, cellular and tissue pathways of aging, identifies pharmacotherapies and manages their development. JuvLife is focused on high quality, science-based consumer products. JuvDataScience makes strategic investments in innovative ML/AI and data science companies. JuvRegeneration focuses on organ regeneration and the unlimited regenerative capacity of cells.
Telocyte focuses on curing Alzheimer’s disease by reversing Alzheimer’s pathology at the cellular level. The company hopes to deliver a successful human trial of a telomerase gene therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. Telocyte is committed to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s and to reversing the disease process, not to treating the symptoms. Telocyte’s paper published in the Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association explaining how Alzheimer’s works and how Telocyte plans to cure it was described as “the most important paper ever published” on Alzheimer’s disease.
Oisin develops programmable gene therapy to destroy senescent cells based on the DNA expression of the cell. Oisín’s technology precisely targets senescent cells without harming other cells. The company plans to create drugs to combat a variety of age-related diseases by reducing senescent cells. Oisín’s proprietary platform has shown significant median lifespan extension in mice and has selectively and efficiently eliminated senescent cells body-wide in multiple animal models. Oisín has demonstrated therapeutic benefit in both disease burden and lifespan.
NaNotics builds subtractive nanoparticles called NaNots that can be biochemically programmed to deplete specific targets that drive different diseases. NaNots can be programmed to capture immune inhibitors that protect senescent cells, potentially leading to their clearance from the body. NaNots can also be programmed to deplete inflammatory molecules secreted by senescent cells which are central to inflammaging. To treat Alzheimer’s, NaNots can be programmed to deplete the harmful form of amyloid beta, or to deplete pro-inflammatory molecules known to trigger or exacerbate Alzheimer’s.
Insilico Medicine generates novel drug candidates with specified molecular properties for precise disease targets. The company accelerates drug discovery and drug development by continuously inventing and deploying new AI technologies. The company provides AI solutions to top pharma and biotechnology companies to enable streamlined R&D efforts and transform the way therapeutics and materials are discovered. The company strives to accelerate three areas of drug discovery and development: disease target identification, generation of synthetic biology and predicting clinical trial outcomes.
LyGenesis is a biotechnology company whose organ regeneration technology platform enables a patient’s lymph nodes to be used as bioreactors to regrow functioning ectopic organs. LyGenesis’s lead allogeneic cell therapy program is focused on liver regeneration for patients with end-stage liver disease. Other therapeutic targets for organ regeneration include the thymus, pancreas and kidney. LyGenesis recently received FDA clearance to begin phase 2a trial of its cell therapy for patients with end-stage liver disease.
Leucadia Therapeutics uses deep learning to develop a non-invasive method to predict who will get Alzheimer’s years before cognitive impairment develops. Leucadia has also developed a treatment to correct this condition at the cribriform plate, a porous bony structure that becomes occluded as we age. An implantable device, called Arethusa®, fixes the root cause of this pathology and clears toxic metabolites from intercellular spaces in the brain — similar to the way the lymphatic system clears toxins from the rest of the body. Doug Ethell, Ph.D., CEO Leucadia Therapeutics
Life Biosciences is focused on the pathology and underlying biology of aging. The company is pursuing clinical therapies across multiple molecular pathways that regulate the biology of aging in distinct ways and is hoping to develop treatments to treat multiple diseases simultaneously. Areas of focus include epigenetic reprogramming, rejuvenation and replacement of tissues, removal of cellular waste associated with aging and disease, and enhancing mitochondrial health to improve how human bodies burn fuel.
Elevian is developing medicines to treat and prevent age-related diseases. Elevian has acquired exclusive, worldwide rights to Harvard’s patent portfolio concerning circulating factors that regulate aging. The company is developing new medicines that target the GDF11 pathway. Elevian’s lead drug candidate (recombinant human GDF11) has demonstrated efficacy in preclinical models of stroke, heart failure, Alzheimer’s disease, Type 2 diabetes, and age-related muscle dysfunction. The company has also established additional programs focused on the discovery and development of novel proteins, antibodies and small molecule drugs that target the GDF11 pathway.
This article was published in Longevity.Technology on January 4. 2021.
This article was written by Margaretta Colangelo. Margaretta is Managing Editor of Longevity.Technology. She is also Co-founder and CEO of Jthereum, an enterprise Blockchain technology company. Margaretta serves on the Advisory Boards of the AI Precision Health Institute at the University of Hawai’i Cancer Center and Ageing Research AI at King’s College London. She is based in San Francisco.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.