09 September 2022

The hottest topic

How Science is fighting aging

Alexander Kolyada, NV

What was discussed at the ninth conference on aging and the search for drugs against it Aging Research and Drug Discovery Meeting. After the speculative Hallmarks of Aging article that tore the scientific world apart, everyone set a course not just to manipulate life expectancy, but also to improve all nine indicators of aging set out in the article: genome instability, telomere shortening, epigenetic modifications, proteostasis disorder, nutrient regulation disorder, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular aging, depletion of the stock stem cells, altered intercellular communication. Everyone has different paths to this, but the trend is obvious.


The hottest topic is the diagnosis of aging. 9 years ago, when the conference was just beginning, almost no one talked about it, everyone was looking for an effective impact on life expectancy. There were not enough approaches to diagnosis. Now there are a huge number of ways, and there are many molecular methods, and the question is what to choose.

Doctors show excellent diagnostic panels where each organ system is considered separately and tells the doctor what to do. Scientists talk about measuring aging even at the level of each individual cell, with unprecedented and excessive accuracy for doctors. Who works with big data — learns to measure aging based on digital data about a person. In general, there is the most progress in this area.

Drugs that affect the pathways associated with aging. Metformin, NAD, resveratrol, acarbose, MCT, rapamycin, 17-a-E, B-GPA and many other undisclosed substances were discussed. Metformin testing has moved closer to the full path of drug testing in the context of aging in the $65 million TAME project, which has high hopes.

A lot of research is devoted to artificial intelligence, or anything similar to it. It scans the big data of a potential drug, and searches the genomes for targets for influences, and analyzes the data of millions of people to find why they live so little. It is already clear to everyone that without ML and AI in modern science, it is difficult to do something fundamentally new. That's just all ML and AI specialists are busy in marketing and are figuring out how to reach consumers with their digital hands to sell some kind of anti-aging dietary supplement. While scientists studying aging are in desperate need of such specialists in order to invent such a dietary supplement at least sometime in the future. But salaries in marketing are higher.

A separate section was about the effect of nutrition on aging. They talked about the keto diet and what it can be good for health — the absence of carbohydrates or ketone bodies. Prolonging the life of animals under different dietary regimes. Large windows between meals during the day show themselves better than frequent meals. Limiting essential amino acids in the diet is also useful for prolonging life in model organisms. All this is implemented with very complex and bizarre molecular tools. The basic principles of healthy eating cannot be changed, but the nuances of the work of this food is a very interesting and active topic now.

A new direction is also interesting — nanotes. Artificial microscopic spherical sponges that should absorb any harmful substances in the blood. As the blood transfusion experiments show, it is very easy to make an old young mouse with old blood. To do this on the contrary is extremely difficult. Therefore, there is something old in the old blood, and you can try to remove it. The technology is new, it is still being tested, but it is very interesting.

They also talked about the genetics of longevity. There can be no rapid discoveries here, because these slow people will not reproduce as fast as mice or flies, and there is not enough data on them. But it is still interesting that longevity is not only inherited by descendants, but also somehow binds spouses. If one of the spouses lives for a long time, then the other has such a tendency. Either there is someone to bring a glass of water to, or they choose potential partners of centenarians at the start in an unknown way to us. Also a good hypothesis. For the genes of centenarians, of course, a fierce hunt has been "declared". All the genes that make people abnormally long-lived (or living normally?), important for science, they are future targets for drugs. Such genes are searched for in every population, because they may be different in different parts of the world. According to statistics, most drug developments today begin with the discovery of such interesting genes.

Every year I see twice as many people at the conference who say that the field of knowledge is expanding. Just to tell all the industry news for the year, you need to listen to ten hours of reports over four days. As always happens, the more we know, the more questions we have. But this only makes it more interesting.

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