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Ending Age-Related Disease Conference Report

victorbjoerk leaf.bio conference new york 2019

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 10:25 PM

LongeCity lifetime member VictorBjoerk recently attended the LEAF Ending Age-Related Disease conference in New York and has the following report to share.



My experience of the Ending Agerelated Diseases conference

On 11-12 July I attended the Ending Agerelated Diseases conference organized by LEAF in a hot and sunny New York. The venue was the Cooper Union which is a convenient location on Manhattan where one of the conference organizers and LEAF co-founder Oliver Medvedik also works. I has been anticipating this event a lot myself being a molecular biologist with a very strong interest in aging for many years, I enjoy going to the type of conferences that are goal-oriented towards solving aging itself rather than just focusing on a specific disease. Every year brings a fresh update on the science going on that ultimately will lead to the full reversal of the biological aging process in humans.

The conference had sold out with approximately 200 people attending which is a very positive sign that the interest is growing, from being a fringe area it is now understood by more people than ever before that this really is the area to focus on to bring a maximal amount of impact on medicine.

There were many speakers, many of them I knew from before but also new ones, For example Dr Michael West of AgeX, Dr Maria Blasco, Reason with his new company Repair Biotechnologies and who runs the blog Fight Aging https://www.fightaging.org/ .

Furthermore there were several investors such as James Peyer and Michael Greve, of course Dr Aubrey de Grey was there giving new updates on the progress, the full list can be seen here: https://www.leafscie...NY-2019-DEF.pdf

I had the opportunity to interview a few of them, Dr Kelsey Moody, Dr Joao Pedro de Magalhaes, Dr Maria Blasco, Joe-Betts-Lacroix and Dr John Lewis among others , Interviews are being published on the LEAF website.

So what is actually going on in the rejuvenation biotechnology field?

Among the most surprising revelations was Greg Fahys project on reversing the involution of the thymus. Thymic involution occurs naturally with age and contributes to a decline in the immune system affecting the whole body, it is interesting that the data he shown suggested health benefits from using DHEA and growth hormone. A better immune system in old age would for example reduce the risk of multiple cancers and ameliorate immunosenescence. I a very much looking forward to more upcoming studies that are able to replicate this. Reason who writes the blog Fight Aging and has the company Repair Biotechnologies are trying to work on approaches for thymus regeneration which was presented afterwards.

Another interesting talk was te company Turn.bio with Jay Sarkar. They focus on epigenetically reprogramming cells to a more youthful state and achieving rejuvenation of tissues that way. The problem here is to avoid loss of cell identity and to safely target aged tissue with those young cells. I am looking forward to see over the next years how it develops to know if this is feasible for aged humans. So far the company a implemented the concept in mice by putting in reprogrammed human muscle stem cells in them and reporting clinical improvements in functionality.

I also went to Kelsey Moodys Biotech entrepreneurship workshop the day before the conference, it was an enlightening experience about how one actually can build a company specifically targeted towards the hallmarks of aging. Kelsey founded Ichor therapeutics which now holds a portfolio of different companies working on the aging process.

A follow up on building companies was Joe Betts-Lacroix talk where he pointed out that starting a company in the aging field is not so uncommon but that there needs to be a roadmap how to operate, this was followed up by a panel discussion about investment in te area.

Apart from that there were several talks on senolytics which were very interesting, there are several competing approaches how to best remove the different type of senecent cells which accumulate in aging bodies with time. To accomplish this one can use peptides or a small-molecule approach to obtain destruction of these cells while avoiding damaging normal cells. Quite a few companies have now emerged in this field such as Oisin who spoke at the conference which now have data on a mouse lifespan study, they showed that lifespan was significantly extented by applying their genetic suicide therapy for senescent cells expressing p16 and p53. Simply by targeting this single hallmark of aging life is already extended in mice to a significant extent with a reduction in pathologies (imaging then what would happen if targeting all hallmarks with the best known science of today in a single mouse!).



The difference I notice now compared to when going to conferences a few years ago is how many more people are attending and new companies that have sprung into existence targeting aging itself. Here advocacy organisations and online forums such as Longecity matter a lot to be able to get people into the area. Seeing results in animals and that interventions in aging are realistic enough to benefit currently living people is central to get people to work towards speeding up the research.

My overall impression is that the conference was a great success and I strongly recommend going to the LEAF conference next year which will also be in New York!

For upcoming conference videos of all the interesting speakers please visit: https://www.leafscience.org/



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Edited by caliban, 01 September 2019 - 05:54 PM.

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#2 Rocket

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 01:17 AM

Good post. I've been supplementing with hgh secretogogues (good blood tests) and dhea for a while... About a year. Wonder how my thymus is doing? I got sick 3 times this year and each time it was over in a week. Previous seasons "colds" could take weeks to recoup. Would be nice to think some rejuvenation occurring.
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