Longer live or slower aging: a technological approach to old age
Aging concerns every person in the world - without exceptions. At the same time, modern science is still rather poorly aware of the very mechanism of aging, and still can not clearly answer even the simple question - what exactly does a person die of, from "old age" as such, or still from age-related illnesses?
The traditional biology with genetics, the giants of the pharmacological industry, technological visionaries-innovators and socially-oriented start-ups that try to improve the quality of life of an aging population approach the problem of aging from different angles. About some theories and approaches, and also about where to run with their decisions related to the aging of social problems, today we will speak.
active forms of oxygen (ROS) - the so-called free radicals. This is a byproduct of normal cellular metabolism, but over time, the ROS accumulate, begin to massively damage cells and provoke mutations.
Naked excavator (photo: National Geographic Creative /Alamy Stock)
Nowadays, this theory is refuted by a number of experimental observations on birds and small rodents - it was found out that the lifespan of related species with the same level of production of the AFC differs by orders of magnitude. Most of all, it was naked digger ( telomeres - end sections of chromosomes, which are shortened with each cell division. This is due to the fact that DNA polymerase (an enzyme involved in DNA replication) can not synthesize a copy of DNA from the very end, but must add nucleotides to an already existing hydroxyl group. This phenomenon was first observed in the early 1960s by Leonard Hayflick, a professor of microbiology and anatomy from the University of California at San Francisco, in honor of which he was named " the Hayflick limit "- the maximum number of divisions that one cell can survive (for the human body, the limit was determined in 52 divisions).
Original picture: wiki-user Azmistowski17 (license CC BY-SA 4.0)
But she did not survive the test of time. In the last two decades, biologists have observed in the body of some seabirds the reverse process, when with age telomeres, on the contrary, are lengthened.
Epigenetics is a fairly new branch in science that studies inherited changes in the function of genes. The term was first proposed in the middle of the 20th century, but the modern definition of epigenetics was formulated almost in our days, in the 1990s, with the filing of the American geneticist Arthur Riggs.
In the nucleus of each cell in the body of the DNA molecule is stored a gene - an identical hereditary program that does not change throughout life and is not influenced by any external factors. How, then, from this same code, the cells (of which, in turn, different tissues and organs grow) are formed completely different in their structure, functions, and the processes of the processes in them? Cells of different types activate different parts of the genome, in the process of division change the activity of individual genes. And this process is regulated by additional factors, a separate "control program," which is also recorded in the genome - this is the epigenome.
The world science is just beginning to engage in a serious systematic study of the epigenome - in 2007 the first publication in the framework of the American national was published. Programs of the epigenome , and three years later 3 r3r3173 was founded. International consortium of human epigenome [/i] (
), Which combined research projects in several countries.
Some aspects of epigenetic changes, such as methylation of DNA. or histone modifications have already been studied in more detail; many other biologists have yet to understand. But it is already clear that epigenetic processes most accurately correlate with age-related changes in the body, and most likely in them the key to obtaining an exact, complete and consistent theory of aging at the cellular level is hidden. There is every reason to believe that the complete mapping of the human epigenome will be a significant breakthrough for modern science, such as the discovery of the cell by Robert Hooke in the 17th century and the complete decoding of human DNA in 2003.
Unlike scientific institutions and state-funded programs that disclose the results of all their research and experiments, many private R & D centers are working on the problems of aging and age-related diseases behind closed doors. Sometimes secret labs of "big pharma" meet with the tech industry, and startups like the Californian appear. Calico , which was launched in 2013 with the support and funding of Google.
Headquarters Calico without any identification marks (photo: Google Maps)
The company is also investing in the bio-pharmaceutical concern AbbVie - in total, already $ 750 million (and plans to add another half a billion in the first quarter of 2019). Calico has not yet produced a single drug or biotech product, and only a few scientific articles published by its employees are available for public access.
In opposition to other scientific theories is the original approach of the British gerontologist Aubrey de Gray, co-founder Of the Methuselah Foundation , as well as 3p3r3153 sputtering from it in 2009. Research Foundation SENS
. Dee Gray is convinced that in the human body there is no natural program of aging at all, and all problems arise only because of the imperfection of the natural mechanisms of "anti-aging". He developed the complex Engineering Strategies of Negligible Aging ( launched by YC Combinator earlier this year :
Y Combinator Bio
"I am pleased to present our new experiment on financing biomedical companies in the early stages of development - YC Bio.
Biology is a fairly extensive industry, and the first narrower topic on which we want to focus will be the prolongation of a healthy life and age-related diseases. We believe that now there is a great opportunity to help people keep their health for much longer; perhaps this is one of the best ways out of the crisis in the health sector.
For a while we financed biological companies, and during this time we began to understand what works and what does not. We will try to develop a program based on this experience, and almost certainly in the process of working something else will change.
For YC Bio, we will run a separate track, as was the case with YC AI, for example. But there are several differences: instead of the standard deal for YC companies ($ 12?000 with a 7% stake), we will offer companies any amount from $ 50?000 to $ 1 million for a 10-20% stake, respectively. We will also help companies find a laboratory (through a partner), we will open access to a wide range of experts and other special offers.
We have prepared a separate application form in our RFS-system for all biological companies that are engaged in aging and prolonging healthy life. But, of course, we are happy to invite all the other bio-start-ups to apply for a standard YC program. "- Sam Altman, January 2018
Here can be your project
This fall, the Philtech accelerator launches a third thread - for startups that offer scalable technological solutions to the problem of aging. If you or your friends have an idea or a project of a technological solution to the social, economic and cultural problems associated with aging, it's about time to apply for : until September 20th, there is not much time left!
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