The online PNAS article mentioned below includes the information that one of the article’s referees was Aubrey de Grey, Cambridge scientist, and co-author of The End of Aging. Aubrey de Grey has been arguing for many years that anti-aging research will only take-off when proof-of-concept is achieved with mice. The PNAS article summarized below, appears to provide that proof-of-concept.
(p. A13) North Grafton, Mass.
A Cavalier King Charles spaniel named Shadow was at the front lines of a new approach to gene therapy.
Earlier this month, 7-year-old Shadow was the first dog to be screened at Tufts University for a pilot study attempting to use gene therapy to treat a type of heart disease that often afflicts aging cavaliers.
It’s part of a novel approach to gene therapy that has successfully treated age-related ailments in mice. Now it is being studied in dogs, with eventual hopes to test it in humans.
Researchers reported their success in mice in a study published Monday [Nov. 4, 2019] in the journal PNAS. They treated four age-related diseases in mice using genetic therapy: heart and kidney failure, Type 2 diabetes and obesity. On average, the mice experienced a 58% increase in heart function, a 75% reduction in kidney degradation, and normalized weight and blood-sugar levels in mice fed a high-fat diet, the study found.
. . .
What’s interesting about the new research in mice is that it is broader—targeting not a single rare defect, but common age-related ailments. The experiments injected mice with DNA to create an extra copy of a healthy gene, expressing more healthy material in cells linked to common diseases of aging.
The goal of the biotech company behind the mice study, Rejuvenate Bio —which sprang from research out of the lab of Harvard geneticist George Church, who is a co-founder—is to treat multiple aging-related diseases in dogs. It recently started working with Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine on the dog pilot. If successful in dogs, the company hopes to treat similar human diseases but says that will take a lot more resources and time.
The firm says it expects the cost of dog genetic therapies would be similar to dog cancer treatments, including surgery, which range from about $500 to $8,000.
. . .
Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, praised the PNAS study as a proof of concept . . .
For the full story, see:
Sumathi Reddy. “YOUR HEALTH; Gene Therapy Targets Aging.” The Wall Street Journal (Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2019): A13.
(Note: ellipses, and bracketed date, added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date Nov. 4, 2019, and has the title “YOUR HEALTH; A New Approach to Gene Therapy—Now In Dogs, Maybe Later In Humans.”)
The PNAS article, summarized in the passages quoted above, is:
Davidsohn, Noah, Matthew Pezzone, Andyna Vernet, Amanda Graveline, Daniel Oliver, Shimyn Slomovic, Sukanya Punthambaker, Xiaoming Sun, Ronglih Liao, Joseph V. Bonventre, and George M. Church. “A Single Combination Gene Therapy Treats Multiple Age-Related Diseases.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) (Nov. 4, 2019): https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1910073116.
The book co-authored by Aubrey de Grey, and mentioned way above, is:
de Grey, Aubrey, and Michael Rae. Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs That Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2007.