A year in Longevity: different perspectives

Looking for anti-aging solutions in some unusual places.

2020 has seen Longevity.Technology covering a variety of news in the Longevity sector, from discoveries in the lab, to companies exiting stealth and from aging clocks to smartwatches that monitor your blood pressure.

Here are some of our favourite stories that looked for aging breakthroughs in some rather different places …

Longevity on the high seas

Sea sponge
Image credit: Kimmo Hagman / Shutterstock

Our oceans also represent an incredible source of chemical diversity to find potential leads for drug discovery; marine biologist Dr Michèle Barbier told us about the “great potential” for human Longevity to benefit from studying marine life, and that the huge biodiversity of the oceans should be explored to find molecules of interest or mechanisms of interest that that could benefit human health.

“We plan to test the anti-aging potential of some molecules from marine organisms and other tests will check their potential for regeneration,” Dr Barbier told us. “We already know about one jellyfish that has the capability to regenerate its entire body.”

Just trippin’

LSD Alzheimer's Longevity Technology
Image credit: Michele Paccione / Shutterstock

Biotech firm Eleusis completed a phase 1 trial of LSD and has high hopes the psychedelic drug can affect the signalling pathways that result in both an overproduction of toxic protein in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease sufferers, as well as loss of communication between neurons and neuroinflammation.

Researcher Robin Carhart-Harris, head of the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London, said: “The study provides reassuring safety data and opens the door for larger scale clinical trials to evaluate the potential therapeutic effects of LSD.” Phase 2 is underway…

Infusing anti-aging properties

Ambrosia - Young blood back on the menu
Image credit: Michael J P / Shutterstock.com

Start-up Ambrosia’s San Francisco clinic offers infusions of young blood plasma from young donors to people aged 30 and older. Its clinical trial found “statistically significant improvements in biomarkers related to Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, inflammation, and stem cells” after a single treatment.

In an exclusive, Ambrosia’s founder and CEO, Jesse Karmazin told us: “Young plasma, as found in our clinical trial, produces a number of objective improvements in blood tests. The mechanistic details were identified in mouse studies, they are numerous and consistent.”

The Final Frontier

A strategic partnership between CELLINK and Made in Space promises advances for drug screening and cancer treatments.
Image credit: Cellink

Bioprinting company CELLINK formed a strategic partnership with microgravity manufacturing specialist, Made in Space to identify 3D bioprinting development opportunities on the International Space Station (ISS) as well as future opportunities off-world. The collaboration promises advances for drug screening and cancer treatments.

In 2019 Russian company 3D Bioprinting Solutions sent its micro-gravitational 3D printer, the Organ Avt to the ISS to carry out experiments on printing tissues in space, and in July of this year, the 3D BioFabrication Facility (BFF) and the Techshot ADvanced Space Experiment Processor (ADSEP) sent up a 3D printing system capable of manufacturing human tissue in the microgravity condition of space.

Leapfrogging into Longevity

Evolved by AI algorithms from frog cells into something not remotely Kermit-like, this living machine is a real leap forward for Longevity.
Image credit: Douglas Blackiston / Sam Kriegman

Biologists at Tufts University manipulated African frog embryos using minute forceps and electrodes to cut and join the stem cells. They assembled them following AI-designed algorithms created at the University of Vermont, shaping their growth into something completely new – xenobots, a new field of research. The potential for nano-targeted drug delivery got a lot bigger.

Study co-author Joshua Bongard of the University of Vermont said of the xenobots: “They’re neither a traditional robot nor a known species of animal. It’s a new class of artifact: a living, programmable organism.”