Anti-Aging Compound Will Move to Human Trials

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Anti-Aging Compound Will Move to Human Trials

Scientists plan to test an anti-aging compound that could be used to treat cancer, dementia, and diabetes.

After successful trials on two-year-old mice to make them appear six months old, scientists from the US and Australia could begin testing an anti-aging compounds on humans next year. This won't be any fountain of youth, but the theory of age reversal could help treat diseases such as cancer, dementia, and diabetes.

The study, published in Cell yesterday, focused on mitochondria, cells that produce energy. Aging occurs because the cells' nuclei degrade. The body also loses a chemical called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, known as NAD, so researchers injected this chemical in the mice. The result was a reverse in aging. Scientists compare the two-year-old mice appearing six months old to what it would be like for a 60-year-old to feel 20 years old. The mice reversed in age in a week in a process that a researcher described as "amazingly rapid."

"The aging process we discovered is like a married couple," David Sinclair, a professor based at Harvard Medical School, said. "When they are young, they communicate well, but over time, living in close quarters for many years, communication breaks down. And just like a couple, restoring communication solved the problem."

Trials for humans may begin as early as next year, and the researchers say side effects to the compound are minimal because it is a chemical that naturally occurs in the body. However, the compound is no fountain of youth. A "magic pill" used to make people live drastically longer is several years away, and it's not the point of this study. Even if it were, the cost of the compound per day would be about $50,000, Nigel Turner, co-author of the study, estimated.

"People think anti-aging research is about us wanting to make people live until they are 200," Turner said, "but the goal is really to help people be healthy longer into old age."

Source: Cell via The Guardian

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Like there aren't people out there who could and would pay $50,000.00 a day to stop aging?

Which reminds me, Elysium is out on DVD now. I need to finally watch that.

Forward, glorious science!

Every day is another holy shit day.

image

It won't be long, my friends. It won't be long.

I wonder what effects they aren't talking about, I get that this drug could make you feel invigorated but the degradation / damage of your body can not be undone with just that.

On the other hand as popular drugs go this could be a gold mine when they make it available to fat old wallets.

As long as this stays in the realm of treating disease, my response is a cautious "that's great".

But, much as I'd like to live a few hundred years, I have to concede that my mortality might be a fair price for certain other people being mortal as well.

Time wounds all heels...

Live forever - at $50,000/day. Sounds like a sci-fi dystopia!

That is pretty interesting. The human trials should at very least be amusing. I question the shear amount of NAD it would take to do the same to a human as it did to mice. Which is probably why it's not feasible and subjectively far too expensive unless a cheap alternative NAD is made.

double post somehow

Incredibly interesting. I will be watching this closely. But I don't get it though. He says it's not a "magic pill" but it still reduces a CRAPLOAD of aging. What's he trying to say?

Arnoxthe1:
Incredibly interesting. I will be watching this closely. But I don't get it though. He says it's not a "magic pill" but it still reduces a CRAPLOAD of aging. What's he trying to say?

He didnt mention how long that effect will last

You might be a 20 year old for one week before going back to being a 60 year old fart XD

So yeah.. someone like bill gates might be able to purchase himselfe some very long lifetime... but not many other people will be.

Well, this can't be abused in the least! Onwards, for Science!

Arnoxthe1:
Incredibly interesting. I will be watching this closely. But I don't get it though. He says it's not a "magic pill" but it still reduces a CRAPLOAD of aging. What's he trying to say?

What he's saying is it will give people a better chance at not spending roughly a third of their lives as near invalids. They are trying to improve the quality of life not quantity.

If it doesn't halt aging, it's not really an anti-aging compound, is it.

I'm not a biologist, so I can't state facts, but as far as I've understood, halting aging seems impossible, since there's a sort of half life to our cells. Cells without restrictions/half life are... well, cancer.

I'm sure there'll be a sort of genetic manipulation one day, that would be able to control cells to a degree that would let humans live far longer. However, I'm fairly certain every human that exists on earth today, will have to resign themselves to the fact that they will die long before humanity reaches this capability.

Any life extension possibilities within our time would be lab grown organs, leaving us to die from our brains giving out, rather than the heart, lungs, kidneys or liver.

Failing that, there might be a future in getting bitten by a radioactive turtle.

Proverbial Jon:
image

It won't be long, my friends. It won't be long.

Actually, I'm thinking of an SG-1 plot where an anti-aging formula rendered people sterile. Not saying THAT will happen, because I wouldn't want to panic people with no evidence, but...side effects. Gotta know what they'll be.

Smilomaniac:
If it doesn't halt aging, it's not really an anti-aging compound, is it.

I'm not a biologist, so I can't state facts, but as far as I've understood, halting aging seems impossible, since there's a sort of half life to our cells. Cells without restrictions/half life are... well, cancer.

Oh i LOVE this topic!

I wrote my essay on this for my university entry for medical biology so i can confirm youre basically correct and that its actually not impossible for an organism to be immortal. In fact some already are! We can already see mechanisms for immortality... they just dont apply well to creatures with brains and organs.

Ill give a little background science for anyone thats interested in the science behind this topic. Ill try and aim at at about entry university level.

Ill also spoiler the biology:

I greatly look forward to this advance. I dont see biological immortality for a long time due to the reasons mentioned above. Cancer seems inevitable even if you could be TECHNICALLY immortal. And thats generally not what these scientists were aiming to achieve. They did very well though, senescence is a very powerful force in biology and doing anything to further our understanding or manipulation of it will mean huge advances in many fields. Agriculture for one will be ROCKED if ideal plants/animals dont lose potency over time and remain high/consistant producers all the way till their death.

The point he makes at the end is the important one. The aim is NOT to live forever. But to make it so your current natural lifespan is spent as MUCH in your "prime" state as possible. Effectively the goal is to still live to around 100. But spend a greater % of that with the benefits of feeling and having the health of a younger person. Imagine living 100 years of JUST 25 year old you, with ALL the health and such. Thats the goal right now although its probably impossible to be PERFECT until death the idea is to extend healthy life rather than life. Which is probably required to make immortality worth while anyway. Who wants to live forever if after 100 you have the body of an ancient person.

This is really exciting- The main problem with living longer, which we're tending to do naturally anyway, is that you still get old at the same time. Too many people alive who can barely stand unassisted, which is dreadful for them and their families. A century of youth? That's awesome. Super cool stuff.

BiscuitTrouser:
The original jellyfish is now technically all of the jellyfish

I am as equally unnerved, amused and amazed by this sentence all at once.

Bring on my long healthy youth!

Please do science. I want to continue my research till forever.

Seems really interesting but of course it will be the rich who get it, and then once it's more advanced and mainstream I can see pensioners being dosed with it to stop their bodies deteriorating to maintain their quality of life, so we'll get people over one hundred who still feel like they're in their seventies.

And eventually we might even be able to fully control ones age in either direction; I can't see any reason why you'd want to make someone older but what about the other way? Would prisoners be rehabilitated by giving them a second childhood, one where their new upbringing would 'fix' their issues. Could we get a society where kids on the crust of adult life are frozen in place until they prove they're mature enough to become an adult? Could it be used for enhancing learning? Kids pick up new skills incredibly fast, so wouldn't it be beneficial to freeze their age for a few years whilst they absorbed everything like a sponge?

Of course that's a very long way off but we should be considering those that's of issues before we develop said technologies.

Jamieson 90:
Seems really interesting but of course it will be the rich who get it, and then once it's more advanced and mainstream I can see pensioners being dosed with it to stop their bodies deteriorating to maintain their quality of life, so we'll get people over one hundred who still feel like they're in their seventies.

Actually I saw a youtube video where scientist/theoretician Aubrey de Grey explains why it would be economically in the government's best interest to provide anti-aging treatment to all working class citizens for free as it would boost the nation's GDP to not have people retiring due to illness. Essentially any country that wants to remain economically competitive will have to provide all it's employed citizens with the treatment. I'll embed the video if I can find it.

I was not expecting to hear news like that for the next decades. Makes me wonder how anti-aging treatments would look like in the next 30 years.

OlasDAlmighty:

Jamieson 90:
Seems really interesting but of course it will be the rich who get it, and then once it's more advanced and mainstream I can see pensioners being dosed with it to stop their bodies deteriorating to maintain their quality of life, so we'll get people over one hundred who still feel like they're in their seventies.

Actually I saw a youtube video where scientist/theoretician Aubrey de Grey explains why it would be economically in the government's best interest to provide anti-aging treatment to all working class citizens for free as it would boost the nation's GDP to not have people retiring due to illness. Essentially any country that wants to remain economically competitive will have to provide all it's employed citizens with the treatment. I'll embed the video if I can find it.

That actually makes sense so we might see a world where people are kept at their peaks, say aged 25, and that way you wouldn't have to deal with all these problems brought about by old age, so the answer might not be finding a cure for Dementia etc, it might actually be preventing the person getting old enough in the first place, but then that brings about questions of retirement and could be quite cruel in the right circumstances; imagine working a dead end job on a minimum wage for the next 150 years of your life.

Captcha: I think so - okay that's creepy.

Stories like this are why I fucking love science.

But seriously, functional immortality is certainly a long way away for the reasons already discussed. But stuff like this is certainly a step toward more comfortable lives for as many people as possible.

BiscuitTrouser:

I could talk about this for hours. Someone stop me.

Some people actually want to listen to this for hours. wink wink

But yeah what you said sounds very reasonable, though personally i woul definatelly take 100 years young than 1000 years bedridden.
Another factor which may mess this up though is bionics and robotics. While we do live up to 100 years not all our organs can live the same. Do correct me if im wrong but the papers i read said something like Digestion being one of the shortest lifespan organs and if the other conditions are perfect the brain could technically live over 300 years before becoming too old. So if we combine this drug that removes aging symptoms with mechanical replacement of the "shortlived" parts (think heart-pacers but better) we could do well to live to the age of the limitatino of parts we cant replace - mainly the brain.
Another aspect is, well, identity transfer. If we could find a way to transfer our identity into a robot body, i would surely be up for it (provided its not some exprimental thing that will crash in a year ect) And i woul certainly be more willing to take the chance as i get closer to death (assuming i dont die prematurely ofc).

Strazdas:
Do correct me if im wrong but the papers i read said something like Digestion being one of the shortest lifespan organs and if the other conditions are perfect the brain could technically live over 300 years before becoming too old. So if we combine this drug that removes aging symptoms with mechanical replacement of the "shortlived" parts (think heart-pacers but better) we could do well to live to the age of the limitatino of parts we cant replace - mainly the brain.
Another aspect is, well, identity transfer. If we could find a way to transfer our identity into a robot body, i would surely be up for it (provided its not some exprimental thing that will crash in a year ect) And i would certainly be more willing to take the chance as i get closer to death (assuming i dont die prematurely ofc).

Im not sure about the true lifespan of brains but in general about different organ lifespans youre totally correct. I neglected another interesting part in what ive written already so ill include it here.

Hayflicks limit is the amount of divisions a cell can make before the telomeres run out. In humans its about 60 divisions once we exit the embreonic stage where we have telomerase to enable us to grow so quickly in the womb. Human embryos and tumors produce telomerase but this (hopefully) ceases when the tumour is removed or the embryo develops.

ANYWAY different organs replace tissue at different rates. Nervous tissue in the brain and spinal chord have MANY failsafes in place to make sure that the neurones are only destroyed and replaced in dire situations. Your skin cells are more likely to undergo apoptosis (intentional destruction so a new healthy cell can replace it) than your brain cells. This means that Hayflicks limit is reached first by organs and tissues that often need replacing. Stomach/intestinal lining is a good example. However tissues that DONT divide so often are probably going to reach Hayflicks limit much later. The most fragile organs are probably the kidneys and stomach/intestine lining in later life for this reason (or the liver in alcoholics because the upkeep pushes the division number toward hayflicks limit faster). They become frail sooner. However the brain is still subject to these risks. Some parts of the brain remain pretty constant even till death in very elderly people while other parts shrink and become damaged far more easily. Its an unavoidable truth that whenever a cell divides DNA damage occurs and eventually adds up even in more conservative organs such as the brain.

Unfortunately due to the prevalence of dementia and alzheimer's ageing brains do succumb to damage and error. Im unsure if its telomere related and as such not entirely inevitable but its well understood that dopamine and serotonin receptors decrease in number on ageing brains. The brain is a conservative organ but it does reach a point where errors stack and mistakes are made. Its far from the largest killer of the elderly though and kidney/other organ failure/cancer is the biggest problem for people over the age of 80. Brains can and do undergo age damage but in a smaller number of people than other general tissue damage. I'd say, and dont quote me on this academically, 300 is pushing it. Some people remain quite lucid to 106 so its undeniably a hardy organ in a lot of people.

BiscuitTrouser:
I wrote my essay on this for my university entry for medical biology so i can confirm youre basically correct and that its actually not impossible for an organism to be immortal. In fact some already are! We can already see mechanisms for immortality... they just dont apply well to creatures with brains and organs.

Do you also have any insight into what this NAD chemical actually does?
Articles really don't make it clear what the physical effects are, as far as I understand it ageing comes with loss of DNA data which couldn't really be recovered once at an advanced age. So the claim that this drug alone will make a 60 year old feel 20 seems more then a little unreal.

Mr.K.:

Do you also have any insight into what this NAD chemical actually does?
Articles really don't make it clear what the physical effects are, as far as I understand it ageing comes with loss of DNA data which couldn't really be recovered once at an advanced age. So the claim that this drug alone will make a 60 year old feel 20 seems more then a little unreal.

Well NAD is a co enzyme that serves many functions. It has roles in respiration in the mitochondria, it directly allows you to convert glucose into ATP (by acting as a "carrier" for hydrogen). Its actually a relatively "minor" role but it IS essential. ATP is an energy storage that you use in your cells to do practically anything of value from engulfing bacteria in your blood to moving your muscles. My understanding from reading the trial is that since the metabolic processes in the mitochondria, including respiration, all require NAD and this co enzyme apparently is produced at lower rates when mitochondrial DNA is damaged the mitochondria fail earlier and the cell dies.

To clarify the mitochondria is VERY important in ageing because it is often the organelle that decides its time for the current cell to commit controlled suicide to be replaced with a new healthy cell. It does this by basically voiding its contents into the cell when the processes within it stop working properly and the cell "detects" its basically doomed. A compound in the mitochondria, cytochrome C, starts the self destruct sequence once it is allowed out of the mitochondria. Your cell dies and is replaced via division of a neighbour, DNA damage occurs during this division and voila, aging. If you can make it so mitochondrial error have less of an impact you can produce ATP as efficiently as you do in your prime later in life. More ATP means youre more energetic in pretty much anything. Better immune response, better muscle action, endurance generally. Better metabolism. It wouldnt make you LOOK young. But the ability to be more energetic is good for quality of life.

ANYWAY as you may or may not know the mitochondria is, practically, a different organism than your regular cells. It has its own DNA and is probably a result of our VERY early multicellular ancestors "capturing" an energy producing smaller cell to form a symbiotic relationship. This means that the mitochondria has its own DNA, its own protein synthesis and its own production line. When glucose is used to produce ATP it requires different subunits from both the mitochondria's DNA code AND our actual DNA code to come together to form a finished product. They need to work together to produce the two smaller parts of a larger protein. This protein, if not formed correctly due to mitochondrial DNA damage results in lower NAD thus lower respiration rates and THUS less ATP. Less ATP means every action that requires ATP is more taxing, muscle movement, immune response ect.

The issue seems to be that the mitochondrial part of the protein and the "human" part of the protein need to be produced and combined together via the use of signals between the two. This communication breaks down with age due to errors in mitochondrial DNA as cells divide. So NAD levels are lower and we get the knock on chain above. If you correct that you increase
cell efficiency despite the fact its damaged DNA should make you more sluggish and "aged". Which is what these researchers did. Hopefully i explained that well.

EDITED due to my understanding changing after studying the article more in depth.

I found the original article. To clarify one important fact to everyone: this would not make a 60 year old person look like a 20 year old again. Nor will it increase the lifespan of a person.

What it does in a nutshell: cells have a limited amount of divisions they can make (as stated before by BiscuitTrouser). As cells divide and become older, some of their internal systems (organels) become damaged. In this specific case we are talking about our cells' powerplants (mitochondria). The molecule NAD is a sort of intermediary power molecule.

To put it in an analogy: In a nuclear powerplant we use fission of uranium to make electricity. Let's say that glucose (sugar) is uranium for our cells. When the uranium gets spliced it generates heat. This heat is absorbed by water to form steam. The water is our NAD molecule. For NAD this would mean it binds a hydrogen and becomes NADH thanks to the breakdown of sugar. The steam in the powerplant is used to rotate turbines. This generates the electricity. Well, the NADH loses its H+ and gives off 2 electrons to the mitochondria. This will create ATP. ATP is basically the electricity of the cell. This is a very simplistic description of NAD in the cell. It has other functions but it is most known for this one.

The gene encoding NAD is located in the mitochondria. Mitochondria however are more prone to damage over time (compared to DNA in the nucleus). So when people age they lose some mitochondral fucntion, resulting in cell aging. By reintroducing NAD they can 'reverse' this aging process. Cells would work better and faster again. Increasing the life quality of the patient.

The application trowards cancer is to counteract the Warburg effect. Using nuclear energy has side effects (radio-active waste). The same can be said of the mitochondria. They make oxygen radicals which can damage DNA and/or proteins. Normally this is no problem because the cells have mechanisms in place to remove these radicals. If the cell is to damaged it will commit suicide (apoptosis). These mechanisms are very strongly connected to tumor suppressor genes. If you deactivate one, you deactivate the other as well. For this reason, cancers usually deactivate their mitochondria and survive completely on glycolysis (aka: the warburg effect). Introducing NAD will increase and/or (maybe) reactivate mitochondrial function, reducing the formation of malignent tumors (and MAYBE even be useful in cancer therapy).

Smilomaniac:
If it doesn't halt aging, it's not really an anti-aging compound, is it.

I'm not a biologist, so I can't state facts, but as far as I've understood, halting aging seems impossible, since there's a sort of half life to our cells. Cells without restrictions/half life are... well, cancer.

It doesn't halt aging but it repairs some of the damage caused by metabolic processes involved in aging. It's a little bit more like being rejuvenated.

roseofbattle:

The study, published in Cell yesterday, focused on mitochondria, cells that produce energy.

Mitochondria aren't cells. They're cell organelles. I guess you could call them cells, if you use the term "cell" to mean "a part of something", but in the technical sense they're not what a biologist would call a cell.

This is nit-picking and I apologise. It's an occupational hazard.

Just another step towards eventual immortality.

Come on science! Make it happen in my lifetime!

Its great they are fixing those diseases. Dying of old age is fine, but living with those diseases just isnt living.

Their assumption that the treatment requires a pill per day is just making me think this is another medical miracle which requires you to pay on a consistent basis to have it keep working.

Mind you, I think they're not being literal. But the idea of you having to balance the monthly checkbook to include the cost of heating, power, water, gas, and anti-aging medication seemed funny to me. :3

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