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Google Life Sciences to Fund Heart Disease Program – Article by Reason

Google Life Sciences to Fund Heart Disease Program – Article by Reason

The New Renaissance Hat
Reason
November 22, 2015
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An interesting next step from Google Life Sciences: they are putting forward $50 million in search of a laboratory to propose a program that pushes forward the state of the art in research and treatment of heart disease. Spent over ten years, that would produce an organization about the present size of the SENS Research Foundation, or a tenth of the Buck Institute, for purposes of comparison – and smaller than many of the research groups presently dedicated to the study of heart disease. So this is a sizable and welcome investment in medical research, but the significance is overhyped by the reporting organization here; no-one is going to cure heart disease with a $50 million project, since heart disease is caused by aging, and in the most general sense. This is an effort to change the funding landscape, stir things up, and make some progress.

If you walk through the list of forms of cell and tissue damage that causes degenerative aging, near every one of them contributes to structural failure of the cardiovascular system. The loss of stem cell activity and consequent decline in repair of tissues is only one of these: oxidized lipids that contribute to atherosclerosis in blood vessel walls; extracellular cross-links stiffen blood vessel walls and cause hypertension and consequent structural weakening in the heart; senescent cells wreck havoc on all the tissues they accumulate in; transthyretin amyloids that accumulate with age are implicated in heart disease via their ability to clog the cardiovascular system; and the loss of lysosomal function in long-lived cells, including those of the heart, progressively damages their function. Curing heart disease, removing it from the picture, requires treatments that effectively address near all of the causes of aging.

Quote from “Google Aims a $50 Million Moonshot at Curing Heart Disease” by Davey Alba, WIRED, November 16, 2015:

Cardiovascular disease people on Earth than anything else – over 17 million a year, and the number keeps going up. Of those deaths, more than 40 percent is due to coronary heart disease. Medicine has drugs that can treat it and practices that can help prevent it, but nobody really knows what causes it or how to cure it. Now, Google and the American Heart Association aim to change that by dropping a $50 million funding bomb on the problem. And as you might expect from a Silicon Valley giant that believes in moving fast and breaking things – an approach that hasn’t always transferred well to basic scientific research – the company isn’t spreading the money around. Google Life Sciences and the AHA said the money would go to one team over five years. “Traditional research funding models are often incremental and piecemeal, making it difficult to study a long-term, multifaceted subject. AHA and Google Life Sciences have committed to a bold new approach.”

The AHA, already the largest funder of cardiovascular research in the US outside of the federal government, says the program will be its most heavily funded initiative in nearly a century. Applications begin in January and if all goes according to plan, they’ll be due by February 14th. (Valentine’s Day. Get it?) If you want the $50 million, your idea has to fit on a single page. And Google won’t take a financial or intellectual property stake in the results. The organizations hope that the program will accelerate the field of heart research much like Google’s self-driving car eventually compelled the entire automobile industry to follow its lead.

Link: http://www.wired.com/2015/11/google-aims-a-50-million-moonshot-at-curing-heart-disease/

Reason is the founder of The Longevity Meme (now Fight Aging!). He saw the need for The Longevity Meme in late 2000, after spending a number of years searching for the most useful contribution he could make to the future of healthy life extension. When not advancing the Longevity Meme or Fight Aging!, Reason works as a technologist in a variety of industries. 
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This work is reproduced here in accord with a Creative Commons Attribution license. It was originally published on FightAging.org.

How Can Life Extension Become as Popular as the War on Cancer? – MILE Panel

How Can Life Extension Become as Popular as the War on Cancer? – MILE Panel

MILE-Demonstration-2-Ad

What can be done to raise public support for the pursuit of indefinite life extension through medicine and biotechnology to the same level as currently exists for disease-specific research efforts aimed at cancers, heart disease, ALS, and similar large-scale nemeses?

In this panel discussion, which occurred on October 1, 2015 – International Longevity Day – Mr. Stolyarov asks notable life-extension supporters to provide input on this vital question and related areas relevant to accelerating the pursuit of indefinite longevity. Watch the full discussion here.

This panel is coordinated in conjunction with MILE, the Movement for Indefinite Life Extension.

View the presentation slides prepared by Sven Bulterjis, “Aging Research Needs Marketing: What Can We Learn from Cancer Research?”:

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Also see a statement prepared by Peter Rothman for this event. This statement was read out by Mr. Stolyarov during the panel, and panelists’ responses were solicited.

Read the announcement by Keith Comito – “The #LifespanChallenge Starting on October 1 – International Longevity Day”.

See Mr. Comito’s introductory video for the Lifespan Challenge.

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Panelists

Adam Alonzi is the author of the fiction books “Praying for Death: A Zombie Apocalypse“and “A Plank in Reason”. He is also a futurist, inventor, DIY enthusiast, biotechnologist, programmer, molecular gastronomist, consummate dilletante and columnist at The Indian Economist. Listen to his podcasts at http://adamalonzi.libsyn.com/. Read his blog at https://adamalonzi.wordpress.com/.

Sven Bulterjis is a founder and member of the Board of Directors of Heales – the Healthy Life Extension Society, based in Brussels, Belgium. He has worked as a post-graduate researcher at the SENS Research Foundation and at Yale University. Moreover, he is an Advisor for the Lifeboat Foundation’s A-Prize, whose purpose is to put the development of artificial life forms into the open.

Keith Comito is a computer programmer and mathematician whose work brings together a variety of disciplines to provoke thought and promote social change. He has created video games, bioinformatics programs, musical applications, and biotechnology projects featured in Forbes and NPR.

In addition to developing high-profile mobile applications such as HBO Now and MLB AtBat, he explores the intersection of technology and biology at the Brooklyn community lab Genspace where he helped to create games which allow players to direct the motion of microscopic organisms. Read his Forbes article “Biological Games“.

Seeing age-related disease as one of the most profound problems facing humanity, he now works to accelerate and democratize longevity research efforts through initiatives such as Lifespan.io.
He earned a B.S. in Mathematics, B.S. in Computer science, and M.S. in Applied Mathematics at Hofstra University, where his work included analysis of the LMNA protein.

Roen Horn is a philosopher and lecturer on the importance of trying to live forever. He founded the Eternal Life Fan Club in 2012 to encourage fans of eternal life to start being more strategic with regard to this goal. To this end, one major focus of the club has been on life-extension techniques, everything from lengthening telomeres to avoiding risky behaviors. Currently, Roen’s work may be seen in the many memes, quotes, essays, and video blogs that he has created for those who are exploring their own thoughts on this, or who want to share and promote the same things. Like many other fans of eternal life, Roen is in love with life, and is very inspired by the world around him and wants to impart in others the same desire to discover all this world has to offer.

B.J. Murphy is the Editor and Social Media Manager of Serious Wonder. He is a futurist, philosopher, activist, author and poet. B.J. is an Advisory Board Member for the NGO nonprofit Lifeboat Foundation and a writer for the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET).

Elizabeth Parrish, CEO of BioViva, is a humanitarian, entrepreneur, and innovator, and is a leading voice for genetic cures. As a strong proponent of progress and education for the advancement of regenerative medicine modalities, she serves as a motivational speaker to the public at large for the life sciences. She is actively involved in international educational media outreach and sits on the board of the International Longevity Alliance (ILA). She is an affiliated member of the Complex Biological Systems Alliance (CBSA), which is a unique platform for Mensa-based, highly gifted persons who advance scientific discourse and discovery.

The mission of the CBSA is to further scientific understanding of biological complexity and the nature and origins of human disease. Elizabeth is the founder of BioTrove Investments LLC and the BioTrove Podcasts, which is committed to offering a meaningful way for people to learn about and fund research in regenerative medicine.  She is also the Secretary of The American Longevity Alliance (ALA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit trade association that brings together individuals, companies, and organizations who work in advancing the emerging field of cellular and regenerative medicine.

Statement by Peter Rothman on the Question “How Can Life Extension Become as Popular as the War on Cancer?”

Statement by Peter Rothman on the Question “How Can Life Extension Become as Popular as the War on Cancer?”

The New Renaissance HatPeter Rothman
October 1, 2015
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Editor’s Note: This statement was prepared by Mr. Rothman in connection with the October 1, 2015, Movement for Indefinite Life Extension (MILE) Panel: “How Can Life Extension Become as Popular as the War on Cancer?” The panel took place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. US Pacific Time on October 1, 2015. This statement was read out by me during the panel, and panelists’ responses were solicited. Watch the recording of the discussion, including panelists’ responses to Mr. Rothman’s statement, here.
~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Editor-in-Chief, The Rational Argumentator, October 1, 2015
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Question: “How Can Life Extension Become as Popular as the War on Cancer?”

I have a few thoughts on this question. Perhaps ironically, they’re in the form of more questions.

What exactly is the War on Cancer? How did it start?

How “popular” is it?

Does popularity in this sense correspond to funding, research results, or any meaningful metric?

Is this approach something we want to emulate?

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Wikipedia reports, “The War on Cancer refers to the effort to find a cure for cancer by increased research to improve the understanding of cancer biology and the development of more effective cancer treatments, such as targeted drug therapies. The aim of such efforts is to eradicate cancer as a major cause of death. The signing of the National Cancer Act of 1971 by then U.S. President Richard Nixon is generally viewed as the beginning of the war on cancer, though it was not described as a “war” in the legislation itself.“

The War on Cancer is referring here to the passage of a law and is not really a war in the conventional sense.

The popularity of the idea is a bit of misleading thing. I’m not sure what this means here. How many people supported the law back when it was passed? How many people think it is a good idea now? How many people search for this phrase on Google? Popularity in the sense of the general public liking an idea had little or nothing to do with the passage of a law like this.

So in summary, the War on Cancer required the passage of a law allocating funds. The popularity of the idea had nothing to do with it.

The idea of war on a disease or an abstract concept such as “terror” is problematic. War suggests enemies to attack and weapons to deploy. But these metaphors are not always correct in reference to curing an illness like cancer or solving the complex problem of aging.

After all, the enemy in cancer is our own DNA. How can we attack it?

With aging the issue is even more dramatic. A war on aging suggests eliminating older persons perhaps. The war metaphor is at least overused and deserves to be questioned.

Has the war on cancer been won? Wars are won and lost, but our scientific investigation of methods to cure disease goes on. Just because a disease is able to be cured in some cases does not mean we have “won”.

Curing aging is in fact not entirely separate from curing cancer. Cancer is largely a disease of older persons, especially certain cancers. So any “war on aging” would at least overlap with the war on cancer. Creating a new war is always problematic, however.

Declaring war does not produce funding. Successfully defeating aging require funding of research and development of medical techniques, medicines, etc. It isn’t a PR campaign like “Say No to Drugs” during the Reagan era and the same methods of communication do not apply..

But transhumanists are notoriously bad at marketing, for example consider the failed Immortality Bus campaign which draws crowds of less than half a dozen people. Sure it is weird enough to get written up in Vice, but does it convince anyone that controls funding to support our efforts? Name one person or organization that has funded some scientific research as a result of this campaign. There isn’t one.

To move forward we have to focus on the efforts that matter, and that means getting research funding. A realistic approach to increasing research funding is forming a Political Action Committee to promote the idea in congress and in D.C. more generally. This is where the decision will be made as it was with Nixon’s 1971 Cancer Act. All other efforts are at best distractions, and at worst make our cause seem weird or out of the mainstream.

Weird, fringe causes do not attract funding.

In summary, I want to suggest to the panel and audience that they go All In for longevity research. This means doing whatever you can do yourself to achieve longevity. Eat right, get enough sleep. Avoid junk food. Exercise. Transhumanists that do not do these things are not in a good position to talk to the public about longevity at all in my view.

Beyond this, we need to directly support research ourselves. Crowdfunding is one avenue, but realistically crowdfunding is a drop in the bucket and will remain so when compared to the U.S. annual research budget of $65 billion dollars. Volunteer yourself.
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References
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_on_Cancer
http://www.issues.org/19.4/updated/bailar.pdf
http://graylab.dfci.harvard.edu/assets/files/publication%20pdf/Review%20paper/Review-Haber%20DA-Cell-2011.pdf
http://timesofsandiego.com/opinion/2015/09/30/the-midlife-crisis-in-americas-war-on-cancer/
http://www.cell.com/cell/pdf/S0092-8674(15)00365-7.pdf
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Peter Rothman, M.S. is Editor of H+ Magazine where he is looking for great articles about the future of technology, humanity, the mind, society, and human culture.

Peter is an engineering and management professional with deep experience in the design, development, and launch, of commercial software products, internet services, and other mission critical systems. He is currently doing research into analysis and visualization of text for a consumer facing application.

He was previously chief scientist of a biometrics-based fraud prevention company. He led the development of Live365.com, one of the largest providers of streaming audio on the Internet. He operated a product development and engineering team for the global multi-million dollar public software company MetaTools/MetaCreations. He founded and operated a startup software company, raised capital, and negotiated eventual sale of company. He has designed and implemented cutting-edge software, algorithms, and technologies.

Peter’s specialties include biometrics, mathematics, streaming media, virtual reality, simulation, text analysis, data visualization, and artificial intelligence.

Peter was an early developer of VR technologies, including developing applications of VR to financial visualization and a concept for unencumbered infantry training using VR for the US Army.

Aging Research Needs Marketing: What Can We Learn from Cancer Research? – Presentation by Sven Bulterjis

Aging Research Needs Marketing: What Can We Learn from Cancer Research? – Presentation by Sven Bulterjis

The New Renaissance HatSven Bulterjis
October 1, 2015
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These presentation slides were prepared by Sven Bulterjis and are a component of the materials for the October 1, 2015, Movement for Indefinite Life Extension (MILE) Panel: “How Can Life Extension Become as Popular as the War on Cancer?” The panel took place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. US Pacific Time on October 1, 2015. Watch the recording of the discussion, including Mr. Bulterjis’s presentation, here.
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Sven Bulterjis is a founder and member of the Board of Directors of Heales – the Healthy Life Extension Society, based in Brussels, Belgium. He has worked as a post-graduate researcher at the SENS Research Foundation and at Yale University. Moreover, he is an Advisor for the Lifeboat Foundation’s A-Prize, whose purpose is to put the development of artificial life forms into the open.
Is the FDA Too Conservative or Too Aggressive? – Article by Alex Tabarrok

Is the FDA Too Conservative or Too Aggressive? – Article by Alex Tabarrok

The New Renaissance HatAlex Tabarrok
September 21, 2015
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I have long argued that the FDA has an incentive to delay the introduction of new drugs because approving a bad drug (Type I error) has more severe consequences for the FDA than does failing to approve a good drug (Type II error). In the former case at least some victims are identifiable and the New York Times writes stories about them and how they died because the FDA failed. In the latter case, when the FDA fails to approve a good drug, people die but the bodies are buried in an invisible graveyard.

In an excellent new paper (SSRN also here) Vahid Montazerhodjat and Andrew Lo use a Bayesian analysis to model the optimal tradeoff in clinical trials between sample size, Type I and Type II error. Failing to approve a good drug is more costly, for example, the more severe the disease. Thus, for a very serious disease, we might be willing to accept a greater Type I error in return for a lower Type II error. The number of people with the disease also matters. Holding severity constant, for example, the more people with the disease the more you want to increase sample size to reduce Type I error. All of these variables interact.

In an innovation the authors use the U.S. Burden of Disease Study to find the number of deaths and the disability severity caused by each major disease. Using this data they estimate the costs of failing to approve a good drug. Similarly, using data on the costs of adverse medical treatment they estimate the cost of approving a bad drug.

Putting all this together the authors find that the FDA is often dramatically too conservative:

…we show that the current standards of drug-approval are weighted more on avoiding a Type I error (approving ineffective therapies) rather than a Type II error (rejecting effective therapies). For example, the standard Type I error of 2.5% is too conservative for clinical trials of therapies for pancreatic cancer—a disease with a 5-year survival rate of 1% for stage IV patients (American Cancer Society estimate, last updated 3 February 2013). The BDA-optimal size for these clinical trials is 27.9%, reflecting the fact that, for these desperate patients, the cost of trying an ineffective drug is considerably less than the cost of not trying an effective one.

(The authors also find that the FDA is occasionally a little too aggressive but these errors are much smaller, for example, the authors find that for prostate cancer therapies the optimal significance level is 1.2% compared to a standard rule of 2.5%.)

The result is important especially because in a number of respects, Montazerhodjat and Lo underestimate the costs of FDA conservatism. Most importantly, the authors are optimizing at the clinical trial stage assuming that the supply of drugs available to be tested is fixed. Larger trials, however, are more expensive and the greater the expense of FDA trials the fewer new drugs will be developed. Thus, a conservative FDA reduces the flow of new drugs to be tested. In a sense, failing to approve a good drug has two costs, the opportunity cost of lives that could have been saved and the cost of reducing the incentive to invest in R&D. In contrast, approving a bad drug while still an error at least has the advantage of helping to incentivize R&D (similarly, a subsidy to R&D incentivizes R&D in a sense mostly by covering the costs of failed ventures).

The Montazerhodjat and Lo framework is also static, there is one test and then the story ends. In reality, drug approval has an interesting asymmetric dynamic. When a drug is approved for sale, testing doesn’t stop but moves into another stage, a combination of observational testing and sometimes more RCTs–this, after all, is how adverse events are discovered. Thus, Type I errors are corrected. On the other hand, for a drug that isn’t approved the story does end. With rare exceptions, Type II errors are never corrected. The Montazerhodjat and Lo framework could be interpreted as the reduced form of this dynamic process but it’s better to think about the dynamism explicitly because it suggests that approval can come in a range–for example, approval with a black label warning, approval with evidence grading and so forth. As these procedures tend to reduce the costs of Type I error they tend to increase the costs of FDA conservatism.

Montazerhodjat and Lo also don’t examine the implications of heterogeneity of preferences or of disease morbidity and mortality. Some people, for example, are severely disabled by diseases that on average aren’t very severe–the optimal tradeoff for these patients will be different than for the average patient. One size doesn’t fit all. In the standard framework it’s tough luck for these patients. But if the non-FDA reviewing apparatus (patients/physicians/hospitals/HMOs/USP/Consumer Reports and so forth) works relatively well, and this is debatable but my work on off-label prescribing suggests that it does, this weighs heavily in favor of relatively large samples but low thresholds for approval. What the FDA is really providing is information and we don’t need product bans to convey information. Thus, heterogeneity plus a reasonable effective post-testing choice process, mediates in favor of a Consumer Reports model for the FDA.

The bottom line, however, is that even without taking into account these further points, Montazerhodjat and Lo find that the FDA is far too conservative especially for severe diseases. FDA regulations may appear to be creating safe and effective drugs but they are also creating a deadly caution.

Hat tip: David Balan.

This post first appeared at Marginal Revolution.

Alex Tabarrok is a professor of economics at George Mason University. He blogs at Marginal Revolution with Tyler Cowen. 
International Longevity Day – October 1, 2015 – Press Release by Ilia Stambler

International Longevity Day – October 1, 2015 – Press Release by Ilia Stambler

The New Renaissance HatIlia Stambler
August 30, 2015

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International-Longevvity-Day Dear friends,

There has been emerging a tradition by longevity researchers and activists around the world to organize events dedicated to promotion of longevity research on or around October 1 – the UN International Day of Older Persons.

This day is sometimes referred to in some parts of the longevity activists community as the “International Longevity Day”. As this is the official UN Day of Older Persons, this provides the longevity research activists a perfect opportunity, perhaps even a perfect “excuse”, to emphasize the importance of aging and longevity research for the development of effective health care for the elderly, in the wide public as well as among decision makers.

The critical importance and the critical need to promote biological research of aging derives from the realization that tackling the degenerative processes and negative biological effects of human aging, at once and in an interrelated manner, can provide the best foundations to find holistic and effective ways for intervention and prevention against age-related ill health. Such an approach has been supported by scientific proofs of concept, involving the evidential increase in healthy lifespan in animal models and the emerging technological capabilities to intervene into fundamental aging processes. The focus on intervention into degenerative aging processes can provide solutions to a number of non-communicable, age-related diseases (such as cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases), insofar as such diseases are strongly determined by degenerative aging processes (such as chronic inflammation, cross-linkage of macromolecules, somatic mutations, loss of stem cell populations, and others). This approach is likely to decrease susceptibility of the elderly also to communicable, infectious diseases due to improvements in immunity. The innovative, applied results of such research and development will lead to sustainable, economically viable solutions for a large array of age-related medical and social challenges, that may be globally applicable. Furthermore, such research and development should be supported on ethical grounds, to provide equal health care chances for the elderly as for the young.

Therefore it is the societal duty, especially of the professionals in biology, medicine, health care, economy and socio-political organizations, to strongly recommend greater investments, incentives and institutional support for the research and development dealing with the understanding of mechanisms associated with the human biological aging process and translating these insights into safe, affordable and universally available applied technologies and treatments.

October 1 – the International Day of Older Persons — provides the researchers and advocates an opportunity to raise these points and make these demands.

http://www.longevityforall.org/the-critical-need-to-promote-research-of-aging-around-the-world/

In 2013, events during or around that day – ranging from small meetings of friends to seminars and rather large conferences, alongside special publications, distributions of outreach materials (petitions and flyers) and media appearances – were held in over 30 countries, and in 2014 in over 20 countries. (Sometimes the events’ dates vary several days around October 1, or even through the entire month of October, designated as the “International Month of Older Persons” or the “International Longevity Month”, and sometimes the events are organized independently and without prior knowledge of other events, but they are all nonetheless unified by the common action and purpose.)

http://www.longevityforall.org/october-1-international-day-of-older-persons-longevity-day-2013-2014/

Let us maintain and strengthen this tradition! Let us plan and organize a mutually reinforcing network of events worldwide. If you plan to organize an event for that day – either live meetings or on-line publications and promotions – please let know. Together we can create an activism wave of strong impact. 

Following the collection of an impressive number of longevity promoting events worldwide in honor of that day, a general public appeal will be issued, both widely disseminated and addressed to relevant officials, both governmental and supra-governmental. Yet, the strength of the appeal will depend on the strength of all the individual events and actions.

Among the materials for discussion, distribution and promotion, one may use the position paper on the “Critical need to promote research of aging and aging-related diseases to improve health and longevity of the elderly population”, briefly describing the rationales, technologies and policies needed to promote this research. The position paper is available in 9 languages and can serve as a “universal advocacy paper” both for the grass roots discussions and promotions and for the outreach to officials: http://www.longevityforall.org/the-critical-need-to-promote-research-of-aging-around-the-world/. Also one may use in the preparation a presentation briefly listing some topics in longevity science promotion, such as the feasibility and desirability of achieving healthy longevity and public actions that can be taken to achieve it – http://www.longevityhistory.com/articles/ab7.php – or any other materials of your choice.

So far, events for that day – including meetings, publications and promotions – are already planned to be held around the world, in over 30 countries on 5 continents, including:

In the US, a conference will be held at the headquarters of the International Society on Aging and Disease (ISOAD), at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, in Fort Worth, Texas. This action will be endorsed and promoted by the US Healthspan Campaign (http://www.healthspancampaign.org/).

The Longevity Day action will also be promoted by the US Transhumanist Party, during their campaign tour that coincides with October 1.

Also in the US, online promotions will be held by the MILE campaign and by the Christian Transhumanist Association.

MILE-Panel-Cover

A special promotion will be done by LEAF – Life Extension Advocacy Foundation – via its crowdfunding platform for longevity research (http://www.lifespan.io/).

A fundraising action will be launched on that day for SENS Research Foundation by Fight Aging (https://www.fightaging.org/fund-research/).

In Israel, a seminar will be held in Bar Ilan University, by the Israeli Longevity Alliance. Toward that day, Israeli activists will also freely distribute an e-book on the history of longevity research (http://www.longevityhistory.com/).

In Moscow, Russia, a conference will be organized by the Russian Longevity Alliance. Another large conference will take place in Moscow, on the “Quality of Life of Older Persons”, supported by the Gerontological Society of the Russian Academy of Sciences, focusing on geroprotective substances and therapies.

In Gomel, Byelorussia, at the end of September, a conference will take place on the general subject of Radiobiolgy, at the Institute of Radiobiology of the National Academy of Sciences of Byelorussia, with a leading section on the biology of aging and longevity (“gerontological aspects of man-made factors”).

Another  small conference will take place in New Delhi, India, organized by the Solutions For the Future, with the help of India Future Society, and ISOAD India.

A series of events is planned in Pakistan, by the Pakistan National Academy of Young Scientists and the Universities of Lahore and of Malakand. The newly formed Pakistan Aging Research Society (PARS) organizes an entire month long campaign, “Go for Life” – from September 1 until October 1 – to encourage physical activity of older persons.

In Rome, Italy, a conference will be organized by the Italian Transhumanist Association and the Italian Longevity Alliance.

Additional meetings and promotions are planned by the European Healthy Life Extension Society (HEALES) in Brussels, Belgium, including a Competition for the Best Short Film on Life Extension.

A conference on longevity/life-extension science will be held by the Waag Society – Do It Together Bio in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

In Germany, meetings will be held by two new officially registered political parties that emphasize the development of biomedical research in their programs: in Berlin, by the German Health Research Party and in Stuttgart by the German Transhumanist Party.

An online promotion (videoconference) in Spanish will be organized by the Venezuela Longevity Alliance (together with activists from accross Latin America). A similar videoconference (to be recorded) in Portuguese will be organized for Brazil by the Brazil Longevity Alliance.

A pro-longevity documentary promotion will be done in Helsinki by Longevity Finland – Pitkäikäinen Suomi.

A meeting will be held in Stockholm, Sweden, by Aldrandefonden/Svenska Livsförlängningssällskapet SLFS – Swedish Life Extension Society.

In the UK, the London Futurist community will celebrate longevity research as a part of a discussion of emerging technologies in London.

In Larnaca, Cyprus, the ELPIS Foundation, together with the local gerontological community, will hold a seminar “Health in Older Life” and a local TV show in honor of that day.

In Perth, Australia, a meeting will be held by the “Healthy Longevity Philosophy” society. Another promotion will be done by Science, Technology and the Future society in Melbourne, Australia.

In Kiev, Ukraine, a seminar will be held on behalf of the Kiev Institute of Gerontology of the Ukrainian Academy of Medical Sciences.

In Beijing, China, a meeting will be organized by the Technium community.

In Uganda, the Kasese Freethinkers Sports Academy will educate about the connection between physical activity and longevity.

A mini-seminar will be held in Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria, by Longevity Nigeria group.

In Romania, a conference will be held at Äna Aslan National Institute of Gerontology and Geriatrics, in Bucharest, toward the end of October, with earlier promotions.

In Vietnam, Hanoi, the Vietnam Public Health Association will hold a conference on the Mental Health of the Elderly, emphasizing biomedical research on neurodegenerative diseases.

In Singapore, a seminar on biology of aging will be organized at the National University of Singapore. This will precede a large Biology of Aging Conference organized by the Singapore Immunology Network (A*Star) – not “officially” a part of the “Longevity Day” events, but perhaps of the “Longevity Month.”

At about the same time, the 10th Asia / Oceania Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics 2015 for “Healthy Aging Beyond Frontiers” will take place in Chiangmai, Thailand, including sections on biology of aging.

In Paris, France, a seminar will be organized at the Biopark Cancer Campus, University Paris Sud.

In South Korea, the Korean Branch of Solutions for the Future will organize a meetup in Seoul.

In Switzerland, Zurich, the Swiss Longevity Alliance will have a presentation on longevity research. This will shortly follow a large international symposium on geroprotectors in Basel.

In Poland, the Warsaw University Students Association will support the organization of a discussion on life extension science.

In Canada, at Huntington University, an event will be held by the Canadian Institute for Studies in Aging (CISA). In Alberta University, Canada, a special discussion on Technology and the Future of Medicine will be dedicated to that day.

In Iran, a study group will be conducted in Tehran on behalf of the Iran Longevity Alliance: http://www.iranlongevity.com/.

Yet another study group will be held in Cairo, Egypt, by the Egypt Longevity Alliance: http://www.egyptplus.org/.

And yet another free discussion of longevity science will take place in Tirana, Albania – the first longevity research activism event in the country.

In Bulgaria, events toward the International Longevity Day will start earlier in September with a conference in Ravda, organized by the University for National and World Economy, Department of Management and BASAGA – Bulgarian Academic Simulation and Gaming Association, including a section on Futurism, Transhumanism and Longevity, and continuing up to the date itself with more live and online discussions and publications and a special appeal in honor of that day.

In Tokyo, Japan, Exponential Technologies Institute will hold a meetup on longevity science in the framework of Tokyo-Singularity-Meetup.

A meeting will be held in the National Library in Tbilisi, Georgia, by activists of the Georgian Longevity Alliance, including presentations on the development of longevity science in Georgia and the world, and debates.

More events and expressions of support are expected to be initiated in the very near time in different countries.

Please add your support and more events and publications for this initiative! If you would like to get involved, please let know!

You are also welcome to promote this initiative on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1017229998296364/

https://www.facebook.com/LongevityDay

Preparations for the next year’s International Longevity Day – October 1 – already started as well. The next global conference of the International Society on Aging and Disease (ISOAD) will take place in Stanford on October 1-2, 2016. The topics will range from interventions for longevity through stem cell research, genetics and systems biology of aging, to public support for aging research. The submission of abstracts and proposals is already started and welcome. And a conference is being planned in Brussels, for September 29-October 1, 2016, by the European Healthy Life Extension Society – Heales.

Hopefully, thanks to these and many other events, in this year and in the years to come, the importance of biological aging and longevity research will gradually become a strong theme of the international healthcare agenda, for the elderly and for the entire population.

Ilia Stambler, PhD.

Outreach coordinator. International Society on Aging and Disease (ISOAD)

http://isoad.org/

ilia.stambler@gmail.com

Thank you!

Ilia Stambler, Ph.D. is an IEET Affiliate Scholar, researcher at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, and activist at the International Longevity Alliance. He is author of A History of Life-Extensionism in the Twentieth Century.
 
He studied biomedical engineering at the Moscow Polytechnical Institute, biology at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, and earned his MA in English literature from Bar-Ilan University. He earned his Ph.D. at the Department of Science, Technology, and Society, at Bar-Ilan University. His thesis subject, and his main interest, is the History of Life-Extensionism in the Twentieth Century.
 
In addition, Ilia authored Life extension — a conservative enterprise? Some fin-de-siècle and early twentieth-century precursors of transhumanism, Demonstration for Radical Life Extension in Tel Aviv, and Heroic Power in Thomas Carlyle and Leo Tolstoy, and coauthored Breast cancer detection by Michaelis–Menten constants via linear programming, and Comparative analysis of cell parameter groups for breast cancer detection. Read the full list of his publications!
 
He speaks Hebrew, English, Russian, German, and Yiddish. He is active in the Israeli chapter of Humanity Plus, the Israeli Society for the Biology of Aging, and the International Longevity Alliance.
 
Watch Demonstration for Radical Life Extension in Tel Aviv 5: Ilia Stambler. Read 10 Answers by Ilia Stambler. Visit his Facebook page. Read his Google+ profile and his LinkedIn profile. Read his blog Singularity | Life Extension | Transhumanism (Hebrew).

Life Extension Advocacy Foundation Launches Lifespan.io – Press Release by Life Extension Advocacy Foundation

Life Extension Advocacy Foundation Launches Lifespan.io – Press Release by Life Extension Advocacy Foundation

The New Renaissance HatLife Extension Advocacy Foundation
August 28, 2015

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Editor’s Note: Visit and contribute to Lifespan.io’s first crowdfunding research project, the SENS Research Foundation’s MitoSENS Mitochondrial Repair Project, here. I have personally donated $100 and encourage all supporters of life-extension research to assist this effort in reaching its $30,000 funding goal. ~ Gennady Stolyarov II, August 27, 2015

LEAF_1NEW YORK, Aug. 26, 2015 – The Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF) officially launches Lifespan.io, an online platform designed to bridge the gap between longevity researchers and the public who support breakthroughs happening in this burgeoning field.

Lifespan.io is a website designed to house today’s most promising life extension projects. People are invited to contribute financially to the ones they wish to support. This unique approach to crowdfunding gives the public the opportunity to learn about longevity research, meet the people making it happen, and allows them to be a part of promising, historical breakthroughs in life extension technologies.

Supported by biologists George Church and David Sinclair, who are members of LEAF’s Scientific Advisory Board, Lifespan.io is a collaborative environment that invites projects from a wide variety of sources.  Research organizations, nonprofit institutions, citizen scientists, as well as forprofit entities, may submit their projects. Submissions are evaluated and approved based on the legitimacy, the extent of the focus on extending healthy human lifespan, and the viability of the venture.

Organizations submitting launch projects include Harvard Medical School and the SENS Research Foundation.

LEAF President Keith Comito says, “By inviting the public to participate, the organization is creating an environment where everyone can be involved and have a stake in the results. Equitable distribution of the benefits that life extension technologies have to offer is the key to achieving the results we all want: healthier and longer lives. LEAF welcomes everyone to join us and discover more.”

LEAF also aims to educate and inform the public about longevity research and life-expanding advancements. Lifespan.io has a YouTube Channel, Facebook, and Twitter profile where people can find the latest in lifespan, aging, and longevity news. To participate in and lend support to current projects, visit www.Lifespan.io. Join the conversation with the #CrowdFundtheCure hashtag.

Those wishing to submit a project for funding consideration, or who want additional information about the various methods of promotional and scientific counseling offered by LEAF, are also invited to learn more on the website.

LEAF_2ABOUT LIFE EXTENSION ADVOCACY FOUNDATION

The Life Extension Advocacy Foundation is a nonprofit 501(C)(3) organization dedicated to promoting life extension, longevity, and aging research through crowdfunding and advocacy initiatives. Its mission is to connect the researchers and scientists developing the latest advancements with the people who support them through the Lifespan.io platform. Endorsed by top scientific leaders and experts from multiple disciplines, LEAF’s goal is to make all human life healthier and more vital, as well as longer. For more information, please visit www.Lifespan.io.

Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150825/260842

Media Contact: Desireé Duffy, Life Extension Advocacy Foundation, 6614789165, info@lifespan.io

News distributed by PR Newswire iReach: https://ireach.prnewswire.com

SOURCE: Life Extension Advocacy Foundation

Changing the View of Aging: Are We Winning Yet? – Article by Reason

Changing the View of Aging: Are We Winning Yet? – Article by Reason

The New Renaissance Hat
Reason
June 28, 2015
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Peter Thiel, who has invested millions into the SENS rejuvenation research programs over the past decade, has of late been talking much more in public on the topic of treating aging. Having wealth gives you a soapbox, and it is good that he is now using it to help the cause of treating aging as a medical condition. One of Thiel’s recent public appearances was a discussion on death and religion in this context.

In the struggle to produce meaningful progress in rejuvenation research, the tipping point can come from either a very large amount of money, hundreds of millions of dollars at least, dedicated to something very similar to the SENS research programs, or from a widespread shift in the commonplace view of aging. At the large scale and over the long term, medical research priorities reflect the common wisdom, and it is my view that public support is needed to bring in very large contributions to research. The wealthiest philanthropists and largest institutional funding bodies follow the crowd as a rule; they only rarely lead it. They presently give to cancer and stem-cell research precisely because the average fellow in the street thinks that both of these are a good idea.

So it is very important that we reach a point at which research into treating degenerative aging is regarded as a sensible course of action, not something to be ridiculed and rejected. Over the past decade or two a great deal of work has gone into this goal on the part of a small community advocates and researchers. It is paying off; the culture of science and the media’s output on aging research is a far cry from what it was ten years ago. When ever more authorities and talking heads are soberly discussing the prospects of extended healthy life and research into the medical control of aging, it is to be hoped that the public will follow. Inevitably religion is drawn in as a topic in these discussions once you start moving beyond the scientific community:

Quote [Source: “Peter Thiel, N.T. Wright on Technology, Hope, And The End of Death” by Max Anderson – Forbes/Tech – June 24, 2015]:

The Venn diagram showing the overlap of people who are familiar with both Peter Thiel and N.T. Wright is probably quite small. And I think it is indicative of a broader gap between those doing technology and those doing theology. It is a surprise that a large concert hall in San Francisco would be packed with techies eager to hear a priest and an investor talk about death and Christian faith, even if that investor is Peter Thiel.

Thiel has spoken elsewhere about the source of his optimism about stopping and even reversing aging. The idea is to do what we are doing in every other area of life: apply powerful computers and big data to unlock insights to which, before this era, we’ve never had access. Almost everyone I talk with about these ideas has the same reaction. First there is skepticism  – that can’t really happen, right? Second, there is consideration  – well those Silicon Valley guys are weird, but if anyone has the brains and the money to do it, it’s probably them. Finally comes reflection, which often has two parts – 1. I would like to live longer. 2. But I still feel a little uneasy about the whole idea.

The concept of indefinite life extension feels uncomfortable to people, thinks Thiel, because we have become acculturated to the idea that death, like taxes, is inevitable. But, he says, “it’s not like one day you’ll wake up and be offered a pill that makes you immortal.” What will happen instead is a gradual and increasingly fast march of scientific discovery and progress. Scientists will discover a cure for Alzheimer’s and will say, “Do you want that?” Of course our answer will be “Yes!” They will find a cure for cancer and say, “Do you want that?” And again, of course, our answer will be “Yes!” What seems foreign and frightening in the abstract will likely seem obvious and wonderful in the specific. “It seems,” Thiel said, “that in every particular instance the only moral answer is to be in favor of it.”

One of Wright’s objections was to articulate a skepticism about whether the project of life extension really is all that good, either for the individual or for the world. “If [I] say, okay I’ll live to be 150. I’ll still be a sinner. I’ll still be conflicted. I’ll still have wrong emotions. Do I really want to go on having all that stuff that much longer? Will that be helpful to the world if I do?” This roused Thiel. “I really have to disagree with that last formulation…it strikes me as very Epicurean in a way.” For Peter Thiel, Epicureanism is akin to deep pessimism. It means basically giving up. One gets the sense he finds the philosophy not just disagreeable but offensive to his deepest entrepreneurial instincts and life experience. “We are setting our sights low,” he argued, “if we say everyone is condemned to a life of death and suffering.”

Reason is the founder of The Longevity Meme (now Fight Aging!). He saw the need for The Longevity Meme in late 2000, after spending a number of years searching for the most useful contribution he could make to the future of healthy life extension. When not advancing the Longevity Meme or Fight Aging!, Reason works as a technologist in a variety of industries. 
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This work is reproduced here in accord with a Creative Commons Attribution license. It was originally published on FightAging.org.

Protein Modification as a Biomarker of Aging – Article by Reason

Protein Modification as a Biomarker of Aging – Article by Reason

The New Renaissance Hat
Reason
April 19, 2015
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The development of fairly consistent, accurate means to measure biological age – as opposed to chronological age – from a tissue sample is an important thread in aging research. Aging is a process of damage accumulation, and rejuvenation would be achieved through damage repair. Research and development aimed at significant extension of healthy life span can only become cost-effective given good ways to measure damage, however. There must be some reliable means to quickly assess the results of a treatment that claims a degree of rejuvenation through the partial repair of a specific form of cellular or molecular damage. In some cases this might seem easy. Take senescent cell clearance, for example: you run the therapy in mice, and compare a range of measures known to scale by senescent cell count in tissue samples before and after the treatment regimen. However, all that really tells you is how well the therapy clears senescent cells. All aspects of biology interact with one another, and age is a global phenomenon. To determine how aged an individual is and how effective a treatment might be when it comes to the practical outcome of additional healthy life span added there is presently little to be done other than wait and see.

The biggest challenge in the development of life-extending therapies is funding and cost. On the one hand there is far too little funding directed towards finding ways to treat aging. On the other hand effectively evaluating an alleged means of treating aging currently requires lifespan studies, and even in mice that takes far too long and costs far too much to be done casually. If there were standardized, quick and easy markers of physiological age that could be assessed before and after a treatment, then this research and development might be able to proceed ten times as rapidly, and evaluation of possible therapies would be open to far more research groups. There are many, many more laboratories with the capacity and funding to carry out a speculative $100,000 study versus a speculative $1,000,000 study.

All of this is to explain why there is considerable interest in developing a cheap biomarker of aging that can reliably assess physiological age from a tissue sample. No-one wants to run a five-year mouse study if there is a ten-minute alternative that produces an answer of about the same accuracy. That ten-minute alternative doesn’t yet exist, but some lines of research seem promising, such as work on DNA methylation patterns that appear to be fairly consistent among individuals over the course of aging. There is also the suggestion that the approach should be to measure the fundamental forms of damage thought to cause aging – but all of them, not just the one being treated by the therapy under consideration. At the present time that might be more onerous than finding a good set of secondary consequences that are reactions to damage, such as epigenetic changes.

The open-access paper linked below covers a fairly wide range of topics. The structures of our cells and tissues are built of proteins, and these proteins are constantly damaged and replaced. Many varied mechanisms toil constantly to remove proteins and cellular components as soon as they show damage or dysfunction. Nonetheless the difference between young tissue and old tissue is that old tissues have far more damage: misfolded proteins, malfunctioning structures inside cells, metabolic waste products such as advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) gumming together structures in between cells, and so on and so forth. The damage leaks through, and even damage repair mechanisms are not invulnerable; they falter with age due to much the same set of issues as causes dysfunction elsewhere. In the future repair technologies, such as those outlined in the SENS proposals, will bring about rejuvenation by reversing these forms of damage. Since these issues are a part of full set of causes of aging, they are also potential markers of aging.

Protein modification and maintenance systems as biomarkers of ageing

Changes in the abundance and post-translational modification of proteins and accumulation of some modified proteins have been proposed to represent hallmarks of biological ageing. Non-enzymatic protein glycation is a common post-translational modification of proteins in vivo, resulting from reactions between glucose or its metabolites and amino groups on proteins, this process is termed “Maillard reaction” and leads to the formation of advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs). During normal ageing, there is accumulation of AGEs of long-lived proteins such as collagens and several cartilage proteins. AGEs, either directly or through interactions with their receptors, are involved in the pathophysiology of numerous age-related diseases, such as cardiovascular and renal diseases and neurodegeneration.
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Beside protein glycation, it is also well known that levels of oxidised proteins increase with age, due to increased protein damage induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS), decreased elimination of oxidized protein (i.e. repair and degradation), or a combination of both. Since the proteasome is in charge of both general protein turnover and removal of oxidized protein, its fate during ageing has received considerable attention, and evidence has been provided for impairment of the proteasome function with age in different cellular systems. Thus, these protein maintenance systems may also be viewed as potential biomarkers of ageing.
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It is expected that a combination of several biomarkers will provide a much better tool to measure biological age than any single biomarker in isolation. For the most part, the markers based on proteins and their modifications that have been chosen are directly related with mechanistic aspects of the ageing process. Indeed, they are relevant to such important physiological features such as protein homeostasis and glycoprotein secretion that have been previously documented as being altered with age. Therefore, it is expected that they may be less influenced by other factors not necessarily related with ageing.
Reason is the founder of The Longevity Meme (now Fight Aging!). He saw the need for The Longevity Meme in late 2000, after spending a number of years searching for the most useful contribution he could make to the future of healthy life extension. When not advancing the Longevity Meme or Fight Aging!, Reason works as a technologist in a variety of industries. 
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This work is reproduced here in accord with a Creative Commons Attribution license. It was originally published on FightAging.org.

Tomorrow Will Be Different From Today – Article by Reason

Tomorrow Will Be Different From Today – Article by Reason

The New Renaissance Hat
Reason
April 16, 2015
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We live in an era of very rapid change driven by technological progress. Today’s world is enormously different from that of three or four decades past: consider the pervasive effects of the revolution in communications and computing technologies that has taken place over that time. Yet, human nature being what it is, most of the people who lived through this profound shift in capabilities and culture are nonetheless very skeptical of claims that the future will look radically different from today in any important aspect. It is strange.

In particular the concept of actuarial escape velocity leading to thousand-year life spans is a very hard sell. People look at the large number that is very different from today’s maximum life span and immediately reject it out of hand, no matter the reasonable argument behind it. Any medical technology that produces some rejuvenation in old patients buys extra time to develop better means of rejuvenation. At some point the first pass at rejuvenation treatments will improve such that remaining healthy life expectancy grows at more than a year with each passing year. At that point life spans will become indefinite, limited only by accident or rare medical conditions not yet solved.

It doesn’t help that most of the public has very little knowledge of the present state of medical research in any field, never mind the specific details of how aging might be treated and brought under medical control. The only solution to that issue is to keep on talking: educate, advocate, and spread the word.

Quote:

It is likely the first person who will live to be 1,000 years old is already alive today. This is according to a growing regiment of researchers who believe a biological revolution enabling humans to experience everlasting youthfulness is just around the corner. At the epicentre of the research is Aubrey de Grey, co-founder or the California-based Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS) Research Foundation.

“The first thing I want to do is get rid of the use of this word immortality, because it’s enormously damaging, it is not just wrong, it is damaging. It means zero risk of death from any cause – whereas I just work on one particular cause of death, namely ageing.” de Grey said his research aims to undo the damage done by the wear and tear of life, as opposed to stopping the ageing process altogether. “If we ask the question: ‘Has the person been born who will be able to escape the ill health of old age indefinitely?’ Then I would say the chances of that are very high. Probably about 80 per cent.”

“The therapies that we are working on at the moment are not going to be perfect. These therapies are going to be good enough to take middle age people, say people aged 60, and rejuvenate them thoroughly enough so they won’t be biologically 60 again until they are chronologically 90. That means we have essentially bought 30 years of time to figure out how to re-rejuvenate them when they are chronologically 90 so they won’t be biologically 60 for a third time until they are 120 or 150. I believe that 30 years is going to be very easily enough time to do that.”

Link: http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/researchers-believe-a-biological-revolution-enabling-hu

Reason is the founder of The Longevity Meme (now Fight Aging!). He saw the need for The Longevity Meme in late 2000, after spending a number of years searching for the most useful contribution he could make to the future of healthy life extension. When not advancing the Longevity Meme or Fight Aging!, Reason works as a technologist in a variety of industries. 
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This work is reproduced here in accord with a Creative Commons Attribution license. It was originally published on FightAging.org.