April 2014

April 2014

Registration Now Open For Rejuvenation Biotechnology 2014


Where:  Hyatt Regency Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA

When:  August 21 – 23, 2014
To Register:  http://sens.org/rb2014

SENS Research Foundation is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the Rejuvenation Biotechnology 2014 Conference. The conference theme is Emerging Regenerative Medicine Solutions for the Diseases of Aging. The Rejuvenation Biotechnology Conference builds upon novel strategies being pioneered by the Alzheimer’s and cancer communities. By convening the foremost leaders from academia, industry, investment, policy, and disease advocacy, SRF seeks to inspire consideration of the wider potential of these strategies and evaluate the feasibility of preventative and combinatorial medicine applications to treat all aging-related diseases.


Confirmed speakers include:

  • Richard Barker, CASMI
  • Maria Blasco, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre
  • George Church, Harvard Medical School
  • Aubrey de Grey, SENS Research Foundation
  • Caleb Finch, USC Davis School of Gerontology
  • Jeanne Loring, Scripps Research Institute
  • Stephen Minger, GE Healthcare Life Sciences, UK
  • Brock Reeve, Harvard Stem Cell Institute
  • Matthias Steger, Hoffmann-La Roche
  • Michael West, Biotime, Inc.
Students and researchers are invited to submit poster abstracts for the Rejuvenation Biotechnology Conference Poster Session. Poster submissions will be evaluated by members of the SENS Research Foundation Team. The deadline for poster submissions is July 15, 2014.
We invite everyone in our community to register and participate in this new conference, our first in the US in over 6 years. 
Seating is limited so register today!


Dr. de Grey Featured at Israel's National Science Day Event


Israel's National Science Day was organized by the Science, Technology and Space Ministry to increase public awareness of science and encourage young people to pursue science careers. Commemorating the birth of famed physicist Albert Einstain, National Science Day celebrations spanned multiple events at different locations throughout Israel. 



Aubrey de Grey, SRF’s Chief Science Officer, was a guest at the opening Gala on March 25th along with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On the National Day of Science he gave a total of six presentations on SRF’s work including a lecture at the 'Pathways to Healthy Longevity' conference on March 26 at Bar Ilan University. Aging is a global issue and SRF appreciates the opportunity to discuss our work and learn from others the world over.


Question Of The Month #2: Aging and the Limits of Mitochondrial Restoration


Q: Why can't fixing mitochondrial mutations and restoring peak ATP levels in the majority of cells in older people fix everything? I understand there are several classes of accumulated age-related damage like plaque build-up and glycation, which is why it seems like we'd need more than one approach to reverse aging, but if we give cells enough energy, could it be possible that all of it will just take care of itself? In other words, if cells once again have enough energy to perform their jobs to full capacity, couldn't they then carry out functions/mechanisms crucial to getting rid of all the age-related damage? I mean it sounds odd if you think of it using the car analogy: if you give an old car a new battery it's not going to fix other things like rust accumulation or leaky pipes... but because cells all work as a system, I think it's more likely that they'd be able to help control age-related accumulations.


A: While mitochondrial DNA mutations are indeed important to address in the context of a comprehensive rejuvenation strategy like SENS, there are several reasons to think this alone would not be enough to deal with most other forms of aging damage.
First, it's actually not all that clear that the mitochondria in the great majority of an aging person's cells actually suffer much decline in capacity to produce ATP. Certainly many older cells do suffer energy deficits, related to insulin resistance and/or secondary to other age-related metabolic (mal)adaptations — but those are causes unrelated to mitochondrial mutations. 
True, the cells whose mitochondria we're most concerned about suffer a pretty drastic reduction in energy production: those are cells that have been taken over by mitochondria harboring large deletions. But remember that such cells constitute a tiny percentage of the cells in the body. If the goal is simply to restore the capacity of the mitochondria in the majority of aging people's cells to produce ATP to levels similar to young people, we're already there.
Also, while individual cells overtaken by mutant mitochondria certainly lack energy, such energy deficits don't do anything to hold back the great majority of the body's cells (since individual cells have their own mitochondrial power supply). Yet they still suffer aging damage. Furthermore, much aging damage accumulates because we lack the means to deal with it, meaning no amount of energy alone can prevent its accumulation.
Third, a lot of aging damage is extracellular, and such damage can't really be addressed in most cases by cells. This is especially true in the case of damage to extracellular matrix (glycation crosslinks and mechanical fatigue of arterial and other elastin lamellae, for instance), where typically there isn't even any ATP available, irrespective of a person's age.
Fourth: remember, we were all young once. At that point, few or none of our cells had been taken over by mutant mitochondrial DNA, and yet even at that point in our lives we were aging. Indeed, this is true of the two examples you cite in your question: we are all born with at least some aging damage, such as fraying of arterial elastin and early atherosclerotic lesions. If youthful mitochondrial energetics were enough to abrogate the accumulation of aging damage, the degenerative process wouldn't get going until a substantial number of our cells were occupied by mutant mitochondria (which, again, arguably doesn't even happen when people reach what are today rather advanced ages).
Most importantly: while it may one day be possible to begin administering rejuvenation therapies to people who are still in their youthful prime, at present we do not have the luxury to do this. Early recipients of rejuvenation biotechnologies will, by and large, be people whose bodies are already riddled with multiple kinds of cellular and molecular aging damage. Even if mitochondria capable of churning out ATP with the alacrity of Usain Bolt in his prime were enough to prevent other forms of aging damage from getting started (and again, the normal course of aging argues strongly otherwise), it seems far less plausible that it would be able to reverse the accumulation of aging lesions in people who have already been suffering such damage for six decades or more of life. 
In short: if we are to save the greatest possible number of people from the age-related slide into disease, disability, dependence, dementia, and eventual death, we are going to have to tackle the full spectrum of aging damage that has already riddled their bodies, and obviating mitochondrial mutations seems highly unlikely to achieve this key goal on its own.

The "Question of the Month" column is your opportunity to submit your research-related queries to SRF's expert science writer Michael Rae. Please send your questions to foundation@sens.org and they may be featured in a future newsletter.





Photo by Will Eckersley williameckersley.com

 Upcoming Events


May 6, 2014 - Regenerative Medicine Foundation Conference, San Francisco. Dr. de Grey to speak.


May 8, 2014 - St. Gallen Symposium, "The Clash of Generations", University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. Dr. de Grey invited, speaking.


May 17, 2014: TEDxOxbridge, Cambridge, UK. Dr. de Grey to speak.



Regenerative Medicine Foundation 2014 Conference, May 5 - 7


Hosted by Regenerative Medicine Foundation, REGMEDCON will be held May 5 - 7, 2014 in San Francisco, California. SENS Research Foundation's Chief Science Officer Dr. Aubrey de Grey will be speaking on  "How To Stop the Clock on Aging" at the Lunch With Expert Presentation Tuesday, May 6, 12:30 - 1:30 PM.


Download the Flyer:


REGMEDCON offers an unbiased and engaging program bringing the world's key academic and clinical research, health care policy, regulatory, reimbursement, venture investment, and biotechnology industry professionals together.


Our mission is to celebrate compatible, like-missioned organizations, each seeking to elevate all efforts aimed at bringing stem cell and regenerative medicine research into active medical practice for the direct benefit of patients.



Visit the Registration Page to learn more.

The Art of Science and Commitment to Awareness Gallery Opening Event
Where: Claremont Hotel, 41 Tunnel Road,
Berkeley, CA 94705
When: Monday, May 5th, 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Regenerative Medicine Foundation's Conference Gallery Opening Event will feature new exhibitions by Regenerative Medicine Foundation Artist, Kelly Milukas, and Under the Surface Photo Art Competition winners.
While artists and regnerative medicine scientists may be viewed as vastly different vocations, we find the opposite to be true. How can we communicate the mystery and promise of regenerative medicine in a way that speaks to our minds and soul? 
The mystery that lies behind the question of how to unlock the human body's innate capacity for health may lead artists and scientists down different paths, but in both cases, it calls to creative minds inspired by curiosity.
This Public Gallery Opening includes discussion with scientists, patient advocates and science and technology author and analysts.
For more information, visit the event website at:
Wake Forest Education Opportunity


Regenerative Medicine Essentials, an education course sponsored by Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, will be held July 21-25, 2014 in Winston-Salem, N.C. Often referred to as the next evolution of modern health care, regenerative medicine touches many disciplines – from clinical care and engineering to basic science and bioethics. 
This one-week course, taught by prominent experts, provides attendees a foundation in this exciting field. From the science behind groundbreaking discoveries to regulatory and commercialization challenges, the course provides a comprehensive look at progress to date as well as future applications. The course is designed for clinicians, early-career researchers, laboratory technicians, MD, MS and PhD students, and regenerative medicine companies and vendors.
The course will cover biomaterials; cell therapies; clinical trials and bioethics; commercialization; enabling technologies; regulatory, process development and manufacturing; stem cells and tissue engineering. For more information visit www.wakehealth.edu/RMEssentials or contact Joan Schanck at jschanck@wakehealth.edu


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