Dear Future Centenarian,
I usually hate seeing another year go by, especially with advancing age. 2015 was different though. So many longevity advancements can’t help but stir your optimism.
An approved clinical trial for longevity? Whoever thought it would happen this soon?
On June 24th, researchers met with regulators from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make the case for a clinical trial designed to show the validity of the approach.
Nir Barzilai of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and other researchers plan a clinical trial called Targeting Aging with Metformin, or TAME. They will give the drug metformin to thousands of people who already have one or two of three conditions — cancer, heart disease or cognitive impairment — or are at risk of them.
Researchers convinced FDA officials that if the trial succeeds, they will have proved that a drug can delay aging. That would set a precedent that aging is a disorder that can be treated with medicines, and perhaps spur progress and funding for aging research.
The diabetes medication metformin will be tested as a possible “anti-aging” drug in human trials in 2016 as researchers try to determine if it can actually boost longevity. The U.S. FDA has given a green light for the trial.
Even more encouraging is… gene therapy entered its first human longevity study last September. Rather than wait decades to see if lifespans can be extended, this trial is designed to reverse observable effects of aging within a year.
I wrote of this BioViva, USA study in previous issues. The company plans to offer offshore treatments next year via medical tourism shortly after funding is secured.
Do you remember the parabiosis medical technology that hit the news? Old mice that had their circulatory systems connected to young mice circulatory systems became physiologically younger. Now Life Extension Foundation plans a $10M study that will inject selected pro-youthful growth factors into elderly patients separated from blood donated by young humans. They hope to erase 1-2 decades from aged patients.
Life Extension is seeding the funding with a $1M donation.
In addition to Google’s Calico project, Google Ventures committed $425M to longevity research.
Then the gene editing technology, CRISPR, made amazing headway, especially with the trail blazing work by Dr. George Church of Harvard Univ. CRISPR’s implications for aging are enormous.
There’s more. A step here and a leap there in labs all around the world. I may just lift a New Year’s glass of champagne and toast all the dedicated researchers, donors ranking from individuals to small and large institutions like the Foster Foundation, entrepreneurs and investors who are making all this happen for you and me.
More Life… and Happy New Year