Studies “open a new frontier in biotechnology and medicine,” says Life Biosciences CEO.
Intellectual property generated by the scientific findings behind two recent publications in Nature, has been in-licensed by Boston-based longevity powerhouse Life Biosciences, with the goal of developing new therapies for age-related conditions.
The publications, based on research conducted in animal models, describe new mechanisms for reversing age-related disease, showing that therapies targeting the biology of aging have the potential to not only slow the progression but also to reverse aging-related disease.
Longevity.Technology: Groundbreaking longevity research is always fascinating in itself, but it’s even more exciting when that research becomes part of a commercial venture. Life Biosciences is one of key players in commercialising the extension of healthy human lifespan, so we’ll be watching with interest to see what happens with this IP in due course.
In a statement, Life Bioscience’s CEO Mehmood Khan said, “These two studies open a new frontier in biotechnology and medicine. They pave the way for the development of groundbreaking treatments to restore the function of aging organ systems and thereby allow people to live healthier longer.”
One of the studies was led by Life Biosciences co-founder David Sinclair and showed that neurons in the eye can be reset to a youthful state in which their ability to regenerate is switched back on. Researchers rejuvenated damaged or aged cells in the eye with a gene therapy that induced expression of three of the Yamanaka factor proteins. This gene therapy allowed nerves in the eye to regrow after injury and safely restored vision, both in old mice and in a mouse model of glaucoma.
Life Biosciences subsidiary, Iduna Therapeutics, has licensed IP from Harvard University covering a patented gene therapy system for the expression of specific factors known to induce pluripotency and rejuvenation.
“The study shows for the first time that it may be possible to wind the clock back in complex tissues to restore youthful biological functions such as vision,” said Sinclair. “It is promising research in terms of how we address aging-related diseases, including diseases such as glaucoma, which affect many patients later in life.”
The second article reports on studies led by Life Biosciences founder scientist Ana Maria Cuervo, which found that the diminished ability of old mouse and human hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) to produce new blood cells is correlated with a decline in a process called chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA).
CMA breaks down unwanted proteins in cells and recycles them into nutrients. When CMA was activated in the hematopoietic stem cells of geriatric mice, either genetically or by treatment with a small molecule, the old stem cells regained the capacity of young stem cells to generate new blood cells. The findings indicate that therapies that activate CMA have the potential to restore the function of aging hematopoietic stem cells and improve immune function.
Life Biosciences has in-licensed the IP related to targeting of CMA from Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
“By activating chaperone-mediated autophagy, we are able to restore the functionality of hematopoietic stem cells in both old mice and older humans, which has very important therapeutic implications,” said Cuervo. “We are looking forward to further investigating how we can put chaperone-mediated autophagy to use in restoring the vitality of aging cells in older people.”