Mitochondrial therapy could tackle aging from the inside out

Mitrix Bio CEO and Founder on how mitochondria affect everything, everywhere, all at once.

DISCLOSURE: Longevity.Technology (a brand of First Longevity Limited) has been contracted by the company mentioned in this article to support its current funding round. Qualifying investors can find out more via the Longevity.Technology investment portal.

We recently brought you an interview with Tom Benson, the CEO and Founder of Californian longevity biotech start-up Mitrix Bio, in which we discussed how energy is the headline and why it will take a major intervention to win the Degeneration Game. Today, it’s the turn of mitochondrial medicine and its applications, from bolstering immunity to slowing skin aging.

Longevity.Technology: Mitochondria are organelles that play a critical role in energy production and metabolism, as well as other cellular functions, such as calcium homeostasis, apoptosis and reactive oxygen species (ROS) signaling. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been implicated in the pathogenesis of numerous age-related diseases, including neurodegenerative disorders, metabolic syndrome, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Mitochondrial decline with age is characterized by a decrease in both the number and function of mitochondria, resulting in reduced ATP production and increased ROS generation, which can lead to oxidative stress and damage to cellular components. It is no wonder, then, that research is seeking a way to both preserve mitochondrial function and to maintain mitochondrial numbers, both of which are crucial for healthy aging and the prevention of age-related diseases. What if technology could harness the body’s method for transporting and releasing fresh mitochondria? We sat down with Tom Benson to find out just how important mitochondria are.

Tom Benson on…

The dirty dozen…

The thing about mitochondrial degradation is that it affects all of the body – that’s what aging is, everything is affected. In many ways, there are too many targets! It almost sounds like we are proposing something miraculous, but that is what mitochondrial energy decline does – it affects everything.

There are about a dozen diseases that are easily identified right away in the different parts of the body. Brain, nerves, eyes, heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, immune system, skin, muscles, tendons and general strength.

Targeting immunity…

The immune system is probably the area where mitochondrial transplant is going to have the biggest effect, soonest, because it turns out to be extremely simple – so far – to regenerate the strength of the immune system by giving you new mitochondria. We use something called mitlets, which we have been working with extensively.

Mitlets are mitochondria that are encased in extracellular vesicles, and they are emitted by platelets when the platelets reach the end of their life. Components of the immune system, such as white blood cells, absorb these fresh mitochondria and use them to generate additional power. So, if we can grow mitlets in an external bioreactor, we could give them people’s immune system more firepower.

Facing up to evolution

How you’re perceived by the world makes a big difference; you don’t have to be a Hollywood celebrity to want to have a younger-looking face. People put enormous amounts of money into creams, facelifts, microinjections and all kinds of things that they try to keep looking younger, and unfortunately, as we all learn eventually, at the end of the day, it all fades away and we just look old.

A lot of that is mitochondrially-based; when the body is rationing mitochondria, facial appearance is not considered, from an evolutionary standpoint, to be that important to the survival of the species as we get older. And so, the skin, the hair and other parts of the face begin to degenerate, becoming less flexible, losing plumpness and losing muscle tone.

The obvious answer to that is to restore those mitochondria, put them back as younger, healthier mitochondria – regenerate all of those tissues, get the fat to regenerate, get the muscles to become strong again and maybe the opportunity will exist to improve people’s facial appearance without intrusive surgical treatments.

READ MORE: Mitochondrial transplant therapy appears to make immune systems younger

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