Skip to main content
Menu

Aging and Lifespan

Young Blood and Old Blood

So let’s do a non-coronavirus post for the weekend. Over the years, I’ve sporadically reported on the (rather contentious) field of aging and its biochemical implications. Many readers will recall the results of the past few years that claim that infusion of young-animal plasma into aged animals seems to have many beneficial effects. Of course, this field is well stocked with controversy. Not everyone believes the results, from what I can see (although, for what it’s worth, there seem to be an increasing number of papers on it). If they’re real, not everyone thinks that they can be readily extrapolated to humans. And even if they can, it doesn’t take very much thought to see a number of ethical implications as well.

There have been a couple of recent papers that will stir things up even more. This preprint from a multinational research team (UCLA and many others) details work on several “methylation clocks” of molecular aging. DNA is methylated (especially on cytosine residues) to a number of transcriptional effects, and the number and distribution of such methyl groups definitely change over the lifespan of most animals. The Horvath lab at UCLA has made a specialty out of this epigenetic research area for some years now, and the changes in DNA methylation with aging seem pretty well established (even if quantifying them is trickier). This new paper draws on a large number of rat samples, with an overall methylation clock detailed, as well as more specific ones for brain, liver, and blood tissue. The addition of an even larger set of human tissue samples provides two more cross-species methylation clocks as well. Previous work from the group has provided similar clocks for mice, which correlate well with known lifespan-extending interventions such as caloric restriction (reviewed here).

This new preprint details the readouts of such clocks after treatment of two-year-old rats (and their various tissues) with a proprietary “plasma preparation” from a company called Nugenics Research (update: corrected spelling of the name). I don’t think that’s going to make publication of this paper in a journal any easier, because that preparation is resolutely not described in any detail at all in the paper, from what I can see. This is no indictment of the paper or its results, but it does make them rather difficult to reproduce, doesn’t it? Two of the paper’s authors are founders and/or owners of Nugenix, and Horvath and another author are consultants for the company (all this, to be sure, is stated in detail).

At any rate, the effects of the plasma preparation on both the methylation signatures and on more traditional readouts of physiological function seem to be pretty dramatic, after two rounds of treatment in elderly rats. By the DNA methylation clock, the ages of the blood, heart, and liver tissue were basically halved (there was much less effect on the hypothalamus, interestingly). Markers of inflammation and oxidative stress went down significantly in the treated animals, and many other blood parameters changed for the better as well (HDL, creatinine, and more). The animals performed better in physical and cognitive tests (grip strength, maze test) with numbers approaching that of the young animals themselves. The authors say that this work “supports the notion that aging can be systemically controlled, at least in part through the circulatory system with plasma as the medium“.

Meanwhile, this paper has also just come out, which looks at whether such effects are due to factors coming in from the young animals or things being removed from the old ones. The authors, from UC-Berkeley and the California Pacific Medical Center, are looking at what they call a “neutral blood exchange”. They replace half the blood volume in mice (both young and old) with isotonic saline plus added albumin protein. The effect of this on the older animals was also significant, with noticeable improvements in wound-healing ability, neurogenesis, and fibrosis/fatty deposits in the liver. The younger mice were not really changed by the treatment. The authors tried several control experiments to make sure that this wasn’t an effect being driven by added albumin protein, and it apparently isn’t. They conclude that removal and substitution of old plasma “is sufficient for most if not all observed positive effects on muscle, brain and liver” in parabiosis-type experiments. It doesn’t exclude the idea of there being beneficial factors in young plasma, but suggests that this is not the driver of many of the results seen. (It would be very interesting to check the DNA methylation status of various tissues before and after this treatment!)

The paper wastes no time in noting that therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) is already an FDA-approved process (as witness convalescent plasma treatment in the current coronavirus epidemic), and it says that Phase II and III human trials are being planned on the basis of these results. That will be quite interesting to watch, says the 58-year-old dude writing this blog. Overall, I still find such results hard to believe, but at the same time they seem to be showing up from multiple experiments. This second paper especially seems to be a very testable hypothesis indeed. That’s a good thing, because in the end, it’s going to be reproducible human clinical data that decide whether this is real or not – so I’m glad that feasible experiments will allow such data to be collected. Something to watch. . .

 

 

70 comments on “Young Blood and Old Blood”

  1. Peter Kenny says:

    I was reminded of The War Of The Worlds by HG Wells (I’ve linked the Project Gutenberg version as the URL for this comment):

    “And this was the sum of the Martian organs. Strange as it may seem to a human being, all the complex apparatus of digestion, which makes up the bulk of our bodies, did not exist in the Martians. They were heads—merely heads. Entrails they had none. They did not eat, much less digest. Instead, they took the fresh, living blood of other creatures, and injected it into their own veins. I have myself seen this being done, as I shall mention in its place. But, squeamish as I may seem, I cannot bring myself to describe what I could not endure even to continue watching. Let it suffice to say, blood obtained from a still living animal, in most cases from a human being, was run directly by means of a little pipette into the recipient canal. . . .

    The bare idea of this is no doubt horribly repulsive to us, but at the same time I think that we should remember how repulsive our carnivorous habits would seem to an intelligent rabbit.”

    1. loupgarous says:

      In Robert Heinlein’s story “Methuselah’s Children”, humanity follows a “two-track” approach: secretive selective breeding of those whose ancestors had long lives (the “Howard families”), and once the Howards’ secret was out, big gummint decided to Do Something, which was to round up all the Howards for experiments to find out how they lived so long.

      Along comes the story’s protagonist Lazarus Long, the longest-lived Howard, who convinces the Head of the world government to assemble the captured Howards in an internment camp where Long can rescue them in his space freighter, and do an orbital rendezvous with a “generation ship” built just for really long missions to nearby solar systems.

      The would-be Josef Mengeles of the Future, their test subjects whisked away, decide to work with other subjects and discover “young blood” is the key to “rejuvenation”. When the Howards return to Earth after many adventures, they are met by a smug, improbably healthy and old committee who basically tell the Howards “yaah, yaah, yaah, we did it ourselves”. The surviving Howards take rejuvenation as they need it, including Lazarus Long, who wanders space, has many more adventures and isn’t written of again for 15 years (in Time Enough for Love”, the prototypical example of libertarian erotica). Some ideas never die.

      1. anonymoustache says:

        A comment to Lowe’s “Young Blood” post of 5 May 2014:

        “Bathory’s bathing in blood for eternal youth, and Dracula’s drinking blood for immortality, are close but no cigar. It’s Robert A. Heinlein that hits the bull’s-eye: his Lazarus Long novels feature immortality by a periodic “rejuvenation” process, which “consists largely in replacing the entire blood tissue in an old person with new, young blood.” (quoted from Methulselah’s Children, p. 266 of my 1986 Baen paperback edition)”

  2. ColdWetDog says:

    So, bleeding patients is coming back?

    What is old is new….

  3. Matt Gruner says:

    Another potential aging biomarker is circular RNA (circRNA) accumulation. Thousands of transcripts in our cells produce ‘back-spliced’ isoforms (at a pretty low rate usually) that form single stranded literally circular loops of RNA. The lack of a free end for exonucleases to attach makes them nigh on indestructible. If you look in post-mitotic tissues like the Drosophila and mouse brain, there is a dramatic enrichment with age (https://bit.ly/3hpdX7t). Shameless plug for one of my papers where we profiled circRNAs in the rapidly aging nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (https://bit.ly/2B42VUs). To date circRNAs have predominately been identified and counted using next generation sequencing at the bulk tissue level but new improved RNA in situ methods like RNAscope make counting from tissue sections possible. What is the best biological marker for aging? With the FDA opening clinical trials to treating aging like a disease this question has never been more important.

    1. eub says:

      That’s an interesting phenomenon! Is there reason to suspect that circRNAs have a biological effect, versus being a neutral “clock” of past transcription activity?

  4. Hematology Researcher says:

    While plasma replacement or similar might offer some beneficial aspects with respect to aging in mice, hematological aging in humans is complicated by clonal hematopoiesis, which becomes visible from about the age of 40 onwards. This is the result of irreversible somatic mutations in HSCs. A current hypothesis is that inflammatory stroma and serum help select for the expansion of these clones. Clonality increases the odds for all-causes mortality. So exchange of plasma or peripheral blood may help in the short run, but you’ll still be left with these pre-malignant clones.

    1. Rhyo9 says:

      Do you think the dilution would result in increased erythropoietin production? I downloaded the article PDF and unfortunately I still can’t make out the ‘heat map’ figure – I think EPO increased in the treatment group but I’m not sure. Some of the treatment effects could be due to improved iron homeostasis – though Conboy et al are probably correct in that the bulk of the benefit is due to dilution of TGF beta family proteins; senolytic therapies might provide the best long term-solution.

      Can you think of potential therapies to address the somatic mutation in HSCs problem? Could DNA damage repair be up-regulated? Could they be replaced with HSCs generated from IPCs from ‘clean’ (mutation free) patient cells? I seem to remember reading something about the HSC niche being really important, but I’m having a ‘senior moment’ …

  5. Jeff says:

    Whoever came up with the dame “Nugenics” deserves a solid dope slap — it sounds like the second coming of Josef Mengele.

    1. Jeff says:

      Okay, I meant “name”, not “dame”. No idea how that happened.

      1. Katherine says:

        You must have a bad cold.

    2. loupgarous says:

      Late-night TV ads for “Nugenix” feature a retired baseball jock telling a rapt audience of newsies how he just didn’t have the testosterone he did when he was younger – until Nugenix boosted their circulating testosterone! Apparently, Nugenix is selling something else on teevee than they are in the paper Derek shared with us.

      1. Pedwards says:

        That’s exactly what I was thinking about when I first read that name in the post. Given the fact that the commercials hit all the boxes for the standard supplement BS hucksterism, I’d take anything that comes out of that company with the requisite dump truck of salt.

        1. anon says:

          Is it the same company? The company involved with the paper is Nugenics Research, which is an Indian start-up company.

      2. Derek Lowe says:

        Turns out I missed the spelling on that one – it’s “Nugenics Research”, not the testosterone hawkers. Fortunately.

  6. Not a Doctor says:

    I’m somewhat uncharacteristically optimistic about the chances of rejuvenation technology, so it’s surprising in a good way to see a level-headed, scientifically-minded opinion back that up. Especially in an article calling out a shady practitioner amid other examples of reproducible research!

    From the hallmarks of aging, a number of the concerns have to do with waste products accumulating in the body as our cleaning processes break down. Replacing plasma might be involved from that angle, at least when it comes to extracellular waste. This would be consistent with how infusing old blood into young animals doesn’t seem to cause damage, as the young animals have fully-functioning processes to clean out the extra waste. Unfortunately that would then be little more than a stopgap treatment, much like dialysis; the real solution would be finding a way to repair the damage to cleaning processes. Still, every stopgap solution might buy a couple more years, and the research is progressing…

    I also think that it’s important to call out that, much like for COVID-19 treatments, the goal was never to extract a steady supply of theraputic blood, but to find which components of blood are useful and mass-manufacture those. For COVID-19, it’s the antibodies; for this treatment, it may very well be the saline, which is kind of the easiest part. Even so, it’s curious that there are negative ethical implications from applying blood donations to treat the horrific conditions of aging degradation, and yet the people donating plasma after COVID-19 recovery are heroes, let alone how many people need blood transfusions due to more acute trauma (imagine shunning a postpartum mother as a ‘vampire’ for receiving treatment after a messy birth!). I think it comes down to fairness – everyone is an aging patient, and too many of us are in a really bad stage of the illness. As with COVID-19, we don’t just need treatments that work, we need treatments that work for everyone.

    1. intercostal says:

      I think the difference in perception of ethics comes down to two things:

      – aging isn’t universally seen as a ‘disease’ state. Infection or trauma are seen more as things ‘inflicted from outside’, whereas aging is ‘natural’ to the human condition.

      – aging is far more common than COVID or trauma, and so it seems like the usual supply of blood donations would be insufficient; the fact that leaders tend to be elderly raises the fear of coercion.

    2. x says:

      “Unfortunately that would then be little more than a stopgap treatment, much like dialysis…”

      Of course, dialysis – for all its problems – doesn’t encourage the production of novel anti-human antibodies. Assuming this becomes a common treatment (I am eliding the ethical issues for brevity’s sake), I have to assume the treatment would undergo significant processing.

      Which makes it more expensive, now that I think about it, which leads us directly back into that ethical swamp…

    3. Fubar says:

      This would be consistent with how infusing old blood into young animals doesn’t seem to cause damage, as the young animals have fully-functioning processes to clean out the extra waste.

      Infusing young blood into old animals apparently was tested many decades ago, and its rejuvenation effects were found to be short lived.

      The poet William Empson referred to it in his villanelle Missing Dates, before 1940. This is the tercet:

      They bled an old dog dry yet the exchange rills
      Of young dog blood gave but a month’s desires.
      The waste remains, the waste remains and kills.

      The villanelle Missing Dates is here:

      https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/missing-dates/

  7. Grumpy Old Professor says:

    hmmmm.. so what happens when one transfuses from old mice into young, or the Ig fraction…?

    (said the sixty-TWO year old dude…)

    GOP

  8. SteveM says:

    Sounds like there’s a buck to be made in that. I.e., charge to collect and store plasma from younger people (who have that money) that they could have replaced as they age.

  9. Count Icarus says:

    Really appreciate your level-headed treatment of anti-aging therapeutic developments. It’s certainly a field where big, poorly substantiated promises pop up with regularity (I say as someone believing in and working on rejuvenation technologies).

    One comment I would add for the second paper is that it seems to have been pushed through editorially (look at submission/accepted dates). Just like the (stated but still present) conflicts of interest for the first paper, this is something to pay attention to when assessing conflicting claims in different papers.

  10. Nosferatu says:

    I vant your blud….

  11. Christophe L Verlinde says:

    A biological question:
    Are rejuvenation and life span extension contra-productive to evolution?
    I think they are because they allow the artificially age extended persons
    to siphon off resources at the expense of the new generations. (This is
    under the assumption that these artificial super-aged creatures
    cannot reproduce. In this context, can menopause be reversed?)

    1. Jeff says:

      Cristophe, that doesn’t sound like a biology question so much as ethics and public health policy questions.

    2. Pedwards says:

      The things that are “Productive to evolution” are things that medicine has fought against for centuries, or even millennia. If we were really concerned about keeping human evolution on track, we’d be letting children with birth defects die, not treating people with genetic diseases, and not bothering with antibiotic research, all with the goal of “The strong will survive and reproduce, the weak will die and be removed from the gene pool”. And that’s without bringing eugenics into the equation

      I, for one, have absolutely no desire to live in a society that bases it’s medical and ethical systems on whether or not something is “Productive to evolution”

      1. Kaleberg says:

        No cooked food either.

    3. confused says:

      I don’t think anything is really “counterproductive to evolution”, other than total extinction of life. Evolution *always* happens, at least in Earth life (except in a situation of Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, which is impossible in the real world, since it requires infinite population and zero mutations, among other things).

      Now, I suppose total immortality combined with no new births would stop human evolution, but even totally curing aging wouldn’t end all death. (And there are probably a lot of different causes of aging operating at different levels of organization – DNA/molecular, cell, tissue, etc. I doubt any simple intervention would solve them all.)

      However, extension of life could pretty much shut down *social and technological* change if the same people remain at the top of their fields for a much longer time, and there is less space for new generations to make their mark. (Right now, human rate of aging compared to generation time is such that by the time that one generation is established in their careers (~30s), their parents’ generation is retiring (~60s), so each generation gets to drive society for a fairly significant fraction of total lifespan. If we lived 300 years but retained a generation time of ~30 years, that wouldn’t happen.

      Especially if extending life didn’t change the psychological effects of aging.

  12. anon the II says:

    Seems like this would be a good time to remind everyone that the Red Cross has asked for blood donations since the donation rate is down during the pandemic.

    Who knows, it might add a few years to your life.

  13. Lousy says:

    Two molecules essential for live destroy our body progressively: Oxygen (oxidize all sorts of proteins, nucleotides and lipids) and Glucose (forming covalents adducts and cross-links with numerous proteins). So do not rely on young plasma, because your tissues become (have been) heavily damaged anyway by nasty Oxygen and Glucose. Life based on sulphur and glycerol in an atmosphere of nitrogen is a better alternative. Life on earth seems to be a lousy design or poor evolution for those who want to live forever.

  14. “They replace half the blood volume in mice (both young and old) with isotonic saline plus added albumin protein.”

    If the isotonic saline plus albumin protein wasn’t driving the effect, was it just the blood loss and resulting response of the body?

    If so, we might see bloodletting making a comeback.

    1. Wallace Grommet says:

      How else can men with hemachromatosis rid themselves of excess iron?

    2. MagickChicken says:

      I’d like to see the DoE for determining if this is an effect of reducing concentration of some compound(s) in the blood.

      “Sir, here’s a list of 4000 components in human blood. Pick three, and we’ll start a five-point concentration replacement scheme and monitor the patients for six months. Make sure you test the three doubles of the compounds, too. After we publish, we’ll pick three more for next year.”

      1. Michael Slattery says:

        “Sir, here’s a list of 4000 blood products……” Yea, I have been looking for that list, can you please provide a link. Thanks Michael

  15. entropyGain says:

    “The Blood Boy” episode of Silicon Valley in 2017…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kO0Zowa1To

  16. Eric Nuxoll says:

    Are the first words of the 3rd paragraph (“This new preprint…”) supposed to have a link associated with them?

  17. DTI says:

    When I was first on my own during the Ford administration I came close to supporting myself by selling plasma as often as I could (you could do it every third day, and I did so.)

    Decades later I still see plasma centers around, usually in poorer parts of towns.

    Obviously two pints of plasma per visit (they return the blood cells after lightly centrifuging so you can return often) isn’t the same as whole-plasma replacement. But you’d think it wouldn’t be that hard to measure differences between people who sell plasma often vs. demographicaly similar people who don’t.

    Or put it another way. Since those plasma labs are by-definition into it for the money, and since it’s likely that at least some of them keep extensive records including assays of samples taken, I’d think some young Archimedes in a company data center could extract commercially-valuable information from past records.

    1. loupgarous says:

      I had close to the same thought in a post which will probably show up when Derek approves it along with the rest of Monday’s posts with outside links: commercial plasma centers allow old plasma to be regularly collected and removed from the blood. This is a procedure that only requires cursory medical supervision in practice, once a plasma donor’s health and freedom from drugs of abuse is established and/or confirmed.

      The only thing remaining is infusion of an equivalent volume of saline with added albumin. Interestingly, what happens next in mice is, according to “Rejuvenation of three germ layers tissues by exchanging old blood plasma with saline-album”, Mehdipour et al

      significant dilution of autoregulatory proteins that crosstalk to multiple signaling pathways (with their own feedback loops) would, through changes in gene expression, have long-lasting molecular and functional effects.

      In other words – better quality of life for the elderly with fewer other medical interventions through epigenetics!

      Of course, anyone who’s followed Alzheimer’s Disease research in mouse models of the disease knows that even work in the best US labs doesn’t translate to therapy for AD that works in humans.

      Commercial human plasma donation has established the safety of removal of plasma from the blood and reinfusion of the remaining blood in many millions of human subjects.

      IV Infusion of a saline-albumin solution (a “natural colloidal” fluid – “synthetic colloidal” fluids with hydroxyethyl starch instead of albumin are associated with increased complications including anaphylaxis and abnormal hemostasis) must be considered against other options such as crystalloid fluids during intravenous fluid resuscitation after surgery depending on the patient’s comorbidities.

      I don’t know if studies exist of the safety profile of natural colloidal IV fluid administration outside of intravenous fluid resuscitation. Volume for volume replacement of existing blood plasma with natural colloidal IV fluid may need to be studied in healthy volunteers after plasma donation as the Phase I study of this procedure, assuming it’s been tried in other animals than mice without toxicity signals.

  18. Anthony Verow MD says:

    Fascinating stuff Derek, thank you. Now I’m going to try to pull that paper (preprint?) and dissect it. I wonder if removing a fair chunk of plasma and replacing it with saline might amount to de-facto dialysis? Could that alone explain some of the benefits to an older animal?

  19. Ted says:

    Hi:

    Why isn’t anyone investigating the infusion of old people blood into the young’uns… maybe instill some common sense, in addition to providing a good control.

    Oh wait, we already kind of do that. Too bad we can’t do retrospective outcome studies on this.

    https://stanfordbloodcenter.org/donate-blood/blood-donation-facts/

    -t

    1. loupgarous says:

      A medical misadventure three weeks ago with capecitabine (chemotherapy for cancer) let to plummeting blood counts and (so far) two whole blood transfusions. I don’t feel any younger. Go figure.

  20. Martin Sanders says:

    Beware of rodent data – they are not us

    1. Jeff says:

      I can think of a few instances where they might be. 😉

    2. Kaleberg says:

      This was written up in Rat’s Health magazine, the magazine for rats trying to improve their lives and lifestyles. It’s probably the COVID-19 thing, but now I’m imagining their fashion pages and food supplement ads.

      1. loupgarous says:

        Rabbit food supplement ads bear reading – once.

    3. loupgarous says:

      Yep, all those attempts to go from mouse models of AD to developing medications that work in humans crashed and burned (along with a few billion in expenses for clinical studies).

  21. Erc says:

    Does this mean it is beneficial to donate blood regularly, as you remove some of your waste with each donation?

    1. loupgarous says:

      Donating plasma ought to do the trick if what’s good for mice is good for men.

  22. Yorkie says:

    I read with interest the study at the link below, about C reactive protein and ageing. CRP is a biomarker for inflammatory status.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2018719/

    COVID is more than a respiratory disease, and often seems to manifest as an inflammatory disease – creating many bizarre and under-recognized symptoms. Hypothesis being that COVID amplifies any underlying inflamation.
    I’m at risk of taking 2+2 and getting 5, but there seems a possible relation between reported COVID risk factors, and background CRP levels by age, sex, ethnicity, (and in other papers) CRP for various chronic diseases.
    I don’t claim any expertise in this topic, but it set up intriguing possibilities, and wondered if Derek would consider it as a topic for a post? Building on the great IL-1 essay!

    1. Rhyo9 says:

      Yes, inflammation as a result of oxidative stress. On the YouTube MedCram channel, Dr Seheult, a pulmonologist, has proposed a plausible hypothesis on covid-19 pathophysiology:
      https://youtu.be/22Bn8jsGI54

      Note that most of the comorbidities / risk factors for severe covid-19 have an underlying theme of dysfunctional AMPK signalling. AMPK dysregulation is associated with excessive oxidative stress, which leads to chronic inflammation. I’m currently looking into the relationship between AMPK and regulation of Na/K ATPase function; a gene variant for the ATP1A2 gene is 1.8 times higher among African Americans than Caucasians. The variant is a risk factor for hypertension, but given how Na/K ATPase is involved in so many processes, it could relate to many more health conditions including those related to lung function:
      https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/153/6/537/136863
      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27598118/
      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16234332/

      Another big pathway that should not be ignored is mTOR. Some viruses are known to exploit the mTOR pathway (the 1918 flu strain for one); mTOR inhibition has been proposed as treatment for covid-19 as a means to lower excessive inflammation. Lower baseline mTOR activation due to low protein consumption could explain the seemingly low per capita death rate in India (seemingly – I don’t know how accurate the numbers are and it is hard to make comparisons among countries given differences in when their first cases occurred, etc.).
      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29866590/
      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32410266/

  23. exGlaxoid says:

    Can we cross check blood donors verses similar people who don;t give for overall health?

    1. Kaleberg says:

      That would require careful matching for the control group. Blood donors have to meet certain health standards.

  24. Charles H. says:

    Very interesting, but a word of caution.

    IIRC, investigation of the immune systems of the very elderly showed that most of their immunological variety had disappeared. To me this seemed to mean that they lacked the flexibility to respond to any new disease variant. This is separate from the decrease in activity of the innate immunological system, but is a change in the same direction. So if this works, everyone may end up with “the bubble boy syndrome”, if they live long enough.

    (Yeah, I’d like to be more energetic and have clearer thoughts myself. But that’s not the only component to life.)

    1. Rhyo9 says:

      Greg Fahy has developed a treatment that successfully reversed thymic involution in a small group of 50-something men, a larger trial is in the works.
      https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02638-w

  25. Bob says:

    All I can say is hurry up!

  26. TallDave says:

    interesting, seems compatible with mitochondrial theories of aging

    hopeful some sort of anti-aging protocol will eventually be engineerable, recent mRNA advances are interesting

    protein folding revolution may just be in infancy, degrees of freedom in proteins’ biological programming languages truly awesome

    our understanding of the biological compilers seems to be improving rapidly with more input from quantum chemistry

    1. TallDave says:

      great wiki btw, this was my favorite sentence

      “Despite the fact that biomarkers of ageing based on DNA methylation data have enabled accurate age estimates for any tissue across the entire life course, the precise biological mechanism behind the epigenetic clock is currently unknown.”

      looking forward to seeing that updated, a lot of resources should be directed at that question

  27. Larry says:

    More info including some comments by the authors of the first paper. This is either a whole new world or fraud. You can’t make any mistakes that would cause these results.
    https://joshmitteldorf.scienceblog.com/2020/05/11/age-reduction-breakthrough/
    https://joshmitteldorf.scienceblog.com/

  28. NMH says:

    Well, if its illegal to force academic faculty over 65 to retire, I think forced blood draws from grad students /post docs is the next step in the slippery slope of academic precariats (grad students, post docs) being used to support the “rights” of the academic elites (faculty, administrators).

  29. loupgarous says:

    Derek, I read the first paper you shared, Bjørn Hofmann’s “Young Blood Rejuvenates Old Bodies: A Call for Reflection when Moving from Mice to Men” and wondered if parabiosis is necessarily a zero-sum proposition.

    Hofmann’s definitely right that we need to prevent exploitation of the young for their blood in the Third World as we now exploit them to mine coltan and other minerals vital to the developed world’s technology, and even worse, human trafficking (a vice which Jeffrey Epstein’s death in custody kept us from finding out how popular it was among the elites of the US and other developed countries).

    But another paper you shared shows that removing things from older animals’ blood plasma does most of the things the Nugenics work and other papers claim for “young plasma”. That was the most exciting paper to this 62-year old reader. What if exchanging old blood plasma with a saline-albumin solution (a procedure similar to one done daily in commercial plasma centers to collect human blood plasma) could provide better quality of remaining life to the aging population without exploiting anyone?

    If this “old plasma out, fresh saline and albumin in” exchange would reduce the demand for other medical care significantly, then why aren’t we doing it? Wouldn’t it be cheaper and better all around?

    1. Precious Bodily Fluids says:

      Are there any effective weays to manufacture human serum albumin on scale? I’m under the impression that most of it is extracted from donated blood and that methods of ex vivo production are in their infancy.

      1. loupgarous says:

        Therapists must purchase blood plasma through intermediaries from human donors. This indicates that demand hasn’t nudged entrepreneurs to invent, develop and bring synthetic human blood plasma to market yet. It’s not yet obvious how a synthetic blood plasma albumin analog would be made economically and safely.

        Eventually, some researcher will create a human blood plasma analog, some venture capitalist or Big Pharma group will pay for it to be developed into a usable form, and then blood plasma replacement therapy won’t have to be a zero-sum transaction. Just as Russia bought Eli Lilly’s old pork insulin plant and some diabetics import Russian goods because they can’t afford recombinant insulin analogs, I’d bet that human serum albumin will still be made and sold – because the developers of synthetic human plasma analogs are entitled to recover their investment and make a profit.

        Even so, we’d be moving incrementally toward a future in which older humans don’t have to age quite so fast.

  30. Chris Manning says:

    The purported health benefits of a couple of cups of coffee and a couple of glasses of wine could be as simple as the diuretic effect of forcing the exchange of some blood volume. I hope that their technique turns out to be workable. It would be convenient to have the energy and focus that I did 30 years ago.

  31. Enoch Root says:

    Dracula was right.

    1. Dave J Price says:

      You owe Daniel an apology, even if he did steal your recipe.

  32. Roy Badami says:

    I’m sure the article on the ethical issues surrounding young blood transfusions is very interesting.

    However I think someone should perhaps write an article on the ethical issues surrounding charging people £30 to read such articles. (Or indeed, the ethical issues surrounding promoting such scammy websites, by linking to them.)

    Seriously, though, what’s the point of linking to papers that we’re to all intents and purposes non allowed to read? It’s just frustrating…

  33. BernYeeTelomeres says:

    I expect transfusion enters to open soon selling hipster plasma to old folks and pulling in premium revenue.

    There is also a secret society out there – the Academy of Health and Lifespan Sciences- filled with the science of lifespan Illuminati like Gaurente and Sinclair.

    These guys are in to something as they all look pretty good for old scientists and one of them looks like he’s reverting back to a blastula.

    1. NMH says:

      A lot of their published work turns out to wrong (fraud or carelessness) so If they are taking their own “medicines” I doubt if they will live longer than normal (!)

  34. Chris Manning says:

    BernYee makes a good point that true rejuvenation would require telomerase. Nothing on your planet is risk-free. Sinclair is aging gracefully. There are some good interviews on Youtube. The next thirty years are going to be gone a lot quicker, if we live that long.

    Want to know when you’re going to die?
    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/612256/want-to-know-when-youre-going-to-die/
    Your life span is written in your DNA, and we’re learning to read the code.
    by Karen Weintraub October 19, 2018

    Aging Is Reversible—at Least in Human Cells and Live Mice
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/aging-is-reversible-at-least-in-human-cells-and-live-mice/
    Changes to gene activity that occur with age can be turned back, a new study shows
    By Karen Weintraub on December 15, 2016

    The study also showed how fine the line can be between benefit and harm. When the researchers treated mice continually, some developed tumors and died within a week. When the scientists cut the treatment to two days out of seven, however, the mice benefited significantly. Sinclair says this should be taken as a note of caution by anyone trying to increase the human life span. “We’ve all been playing with fire,” he says, adding that this fine line will make it challenging to get a drug approved by regulatory agencies. “This is going to be what we spend the next 10 years figuring out: how to reprogram cells to be young again without taking it too far so they become tumors.”

    “Forty-seven years went by pretty quickly.”

  35. Interestingly seems compatible with mitochondrial theories of aging.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.