Sunday, June 29, 2008

Update on "Understanding Aging" at UCLA

After working in obscurity and semi-respectability for almost a decade, Aubrey de Grey is finally getting the recognition he deserves. The Understanding Aging conference at UCLA is wrapping up after a full weekend of presentations.

Probably the most famous presentation of the weekend to hit the news so far, is the potential "cancer cure" being studied by Wake Forest researcher Zheng Cui, who gave a presentation yesterday at the meetings. Zheng's study involves screening 500 healthy young (under 50) adult volunteers for cancer resistance, then selecting the 100 volunteers with the strongest measured cancer resistance and taking white blood cell (WBC) donations from the 100. These WBC's would then be transfused into cancer patients to determine safety and efficacy of the treatment. The approach has proved very successful in mice. More information here and here.

Another interesting presentation was given by Trevor Marshall reporting on studies linking stem cells, cancer, and bacterial infection.

This comprehensive overview from Brian Wang allows a busy non-attendee to briefly sample the research fare of the busy weekend conference. By doing an internet search using a science search engine, you can often find full text articles by participating authors, which should give considerable background on their current research.

Aubrey de Grey's excellent introduction to SENS anti-aging research, Ending Aging, was published in 2007, but the information in parts of the book is already becoming obsolete by the rapid progress in research labs. Thanks to the energy, ideas, and fund-raising by de Grey and his colleagues, anti-aging research is finally coming out of the closet into the daylight.



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