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The 2015 Round Up: Our Biggest Longevity Stories This Year

Posted on 31 December 2015

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Credit: Maria Konovalenko

Credit: Maria Konovalenko

The gears of progress can move frustratingly slow but as of 2016, we’re making definite headway. All in all it’s been a good year, and here are our most memorable moments

The first life extension trial is given the go-ahead by the FDA After a push to classify aging as a disease, the FDA announced they have granted permission for a trial involving the diabetes drug Metformin. The Targeting Aging with Metformin (TAME) trial is the first ever trial specifically looking for an anti-aging drug in humans.  The rise of gene editing and CRISPR 2015 will go down as the year gene editing fever began. The first human embryo was edited (ish) by researchers in China and scientists had a global discussion on the technology – giving it a cautious green light. Watch this space, gene editing is only going to get bigger.  Want to find out more about CRISPR? Watch a video here Our interview with BioViva’s daring CEO Liz Parrish  We sat down and interviewed Liz Parrish, head of gene therapy company BioViva about their efforts to keep you young and healthy, and her decision to become patient zero and test two gene therapies on herself. Read the full interview here. Young blood could help you live longer. Seriously.  As we await the anticipated results of a trial using young blood infusions to rejuvenate the elderly, interest in the anti-aging properties of young blood went mainstream.  Watch a TED video on the subject here Think 80 years is a long time? Look at this One of our most popular posts this year, these charts might just give you a new perspective on life. A human life is over all too quickly.  The 5 Anti-Aging drugs of the moment We ran down the 5 most researched ‘anti-aging’ drugs so far.   We’re all aging at different speeds Aside from merely looking younger, researchers found people can display wildly different rates of aging according to a variety of biomarkers.  Wave goodbye to the population pyramid Overpopulation is less of a problem than you might think, but we’re entering a time with more ‘older’ people alive than ever before. This brings extra challenges, but is also something to celebrate. Check the article out here. Aging should be classified as a disease Research is dependent on funding, and funding is dependent on classifications and budget allocations.  Under the current system, for a flourishing longevity movement we need to start classifying aging as a disease (and persuade the FDA too). Find the article here. Tech billionaires get behind aging research With Google’s new company Calico, Craig Venter’s Human Longevity Inc. and investment from figures including Peter Thiel, is real investment starting to trickle into aging research? Read more here, and here. Our aging world series: Dementia We’ve posted a number of articles in our aging world series, laying out the statistics of various age-related diseases. This one tackled the staggering dementia rates across the globe now, and to come. First synthesis of Glucosepane Sugars may taste divine, but they progressively stiffen your body in a process called glycation. Scientists have now synthesised the primary molecule formed in glycation for the first time, creating a new drug target. Read about it here. Breakthrough gene editing trial reverses leukemia A pioneering gene editing therapy has shown remarkable success in a unique trial on 1 year old Layla Richards at Great Ormond Street.  The Longevity Dividend Why does aging research really matter? Besides saving lives and minimising suffering, if that’s not enough for you, tackling aging makes economic sense too.  The Animal That Wouldn’t Die  A popular video on the hydra – a curious organism that may very well be immortal. Peto’s Paradox: how do large animals avoid cancer? With many, many times more cells why don’t large animals like elephants and whales get cancer all the time, and what can it teach us about cancer protection? Read the piece hereAntioxidants – separating myth from reality If you’re feeling a bit lost about antioxidants, this might clarify a few points for you.  Has aging been programmed by evolution? The answer is probably yes. Danielle, a beautiful video on the aging process Anthony Cerniello’s clever video mimicking the gradual aging process Periodic fasting may be as effective as calorie restriction Long term calorie restriction is extremely difficult to achieve, but periodic bursts may be a viable alternativeWe know more than ever about which genes are linked to aging, and which might make good drug targets 2015 saw two popular breakthroughs: one finding that 1500 genes are tied to the aging process and another that discovered 238 genes that hinder longevity. It’s a beginning, but the more we learn, the more novel targets we have. 

Anything else? 

3-D printing organs is taking off, stem cell science is improving, gene therapy is moving back into the limelight after initial safety issues…the list goes on. Let’s hope 2016 holds even better things to come!   and on that note…

A Happy New Year to you all

 Here’s to many more healthy ones to come

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