Thursday, August 21, 2014

Live from SENS Rejuvenation Biotechnology Conference

The smell of coffee, and sounds of familiar voices permeated the air as I approached the registration desk for the SENS Rejuvenation Biotechnology Conference in Santa Clara. Friendly faces and friends greet me, and I am reminded of at time almost exactly a year ago, when I attended SENS6 in Cambridge. I am directed to the breakfast area, where over a hundred individuals gather to catch up since they last saw each other. 

Opening remarks by Mike Kope, CEO of SENS Research Foundation, remind us of how much progress has been made in the field in the last several years, yet also reminds us we still have a way to go. Jerri Riley, VP of Outreach, outlines the agenda for the day, and thanks the audience, sponsors and exhibitors before introducing the keynote speaker, Dr. George Church, a pioneer in genomics and synthetic biology.
Mike Kope, CEO SENS RF

Next, Dr. Church discusses epigenome analysis using 3D RNA fluorescent in situ sequencing is the first topic presented, and we learn that super resolution of RNA sequences has improved, to the point of being able to view at the 10 nm scale. A unique collaboration between NIST and the FDA has been formed, in an new project called Blue Button. 
George Church

Next, we learn about Growth Hormone Receptor deficiency, which is associated with a major reduction in pro-aging signaling, cancer and diabetes in humans. Other effects include decreased body fat, decreased atherosclerosis and enhanced muscle growth. 

Another goal of Dr. Church's  is to further examine  and embrace the "outliers", those who live past 110 years, despite lifestyle habits that typically decrease life span. Is it because they have protective alleles within their genes? Variations in DNA such as MSTN -lean muscles, CCR5, FUT2, virus resistance, are just a few that have been discovered.

Another goal in aging research is to generate CRISPR viral therapeutics to rejuvenate tissues using CAS ST1-CP64 integrated cell lines, and activation using targets and effects on aging markers. Apparently, CRISPR activator therapeutics has many benefits, including up-regulation of metabolic pathways, can be packaged into a non-integrating virus, and target multiple genes/pathways contemporaneously.

As Q&A conclude the presentation, I have a chance to review the program for the day. Looks like I have a choice between three different tracks...Alzheimers, Cardiovascular Disease, and Towards a New Investment Paradigm... anyone want to vote on which track I attend? 


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