Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Progress on Two Important SENS Anti-Ageing Themes

Aging Damage Discovery SENS Solution
Cell loss, tissue atrophy 19551 Stem cells and tissue engineering (RepleniSENS)
Nuclear [epi]mutations

(only cancer matters)
19592, 19823 Removal of telomere-lengthening machinery (OncoSENS)
Mutant mitochondria 19724 Allotopic expression of 13 proteins (MitoSENS)
Death-resistant cells 19655 Targeted ablation (ApoptoSENS)
Tissue stiffening 19586, 19817 AGE-breaking molecules (GlycoSENS); tissue engineering
Extracellular aggregates 19078 Immunotherapeutic clearance (AmyloSENS)
Intracellular aggregates 19599 Novel lysosomal hydrolases (LysoSENS)
The "seven pillars of SENS anti-aging strategies" are shown in the table above, with a timeline of the discovery of their importance shown in the image below.
Important progress has recently been made on two of the pillars of SENS: Correcting for mutant mitochondria, and an improved clearing of cellular junk.

First, correcting human mitochondrial mutations:
Researchers at the UCLA stem cell center and the departments of chemistry and biochemistry and pathology and laboratory medicine have identified, for the first time, a generic way to correct mutations in human mitochondrial DNA by targeting corrective RNAs, a finding with implications for treating a host of mitochondrial diseases. Mutations in the human mitochondrial genome are implicated in neuromuscular diseases, metabolic defects and aging. There currently are no methods to successfully repair or compensate for these mutations, said study co-senior author Dr. Michael Teitell, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and a researcher with the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA.

Between 1,000 and 4,000 children per year in the United States are born with a mitochondrial disease and up to one in 4,000 children in the U.S. will develop a mitochondrial disease by the age of 10, according to Mito Action, a nonprofit organization supporting research into mitochondrial diseases. In adults, many diseases of aging have been associated with defects of mitochondrial function, including diabetes, Parkinson's disease, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer's disease and cancer.

"I think this is a finding that could change the field," Teitell said. "We've been looking to do this for a long time and we had a very reasoned approach, but some key steps were missing. Now we have developed this method and the next step is to show that what we can do in human cell lines with mutant mitochondria can translate into animal models and, ultimately, into humans."

The study appears March 12, 2012 in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. _esciencenews
More at the link.

Next, clearing cellular trash aggregates:
A University of Michigan cell biologist and his colleagues have identified a potential drug that speeds up trash removal from the cell's recycling center, the lysosome.

The finding suggests a new way to treat rare inherited metabolic disorders such as Niemann-Pick disease and mucolipidosis Type IV, as well as more common neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, said Haoxing Xu, who led a U-M team that reported its findings March 13 in the online, multidisciplinary journal Nature Communications.

"The implications are far-reaching," said Xu, an assistant professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology. "We have introduced a novel concept—a potential drug to increase clearance of cellular waste—that could have a big impact on medicine." _UMich News
More at the link.

Both of these developments will require a number of years to perfect and shape into useful therapies. But as noted, improved therapies in either domain would provide hope for slowing the ageing process, and for treating many of the degenerative scourges of human existence.

The SENS Foundation has worked to promote research in the seven areas pictured above. And at least partially due to the efforts of SENS, more researchers and funding agencies are picking up the same themes.

Cross-posted from Al Fin blog

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