Let’s start off today’s recommended reads with the topic of life extension. No controversy there, right? This comes to mind because of a new preprint from BioViva, Liz Parrish, and George Church. I’m hoping to cover this on our Stem Cell Channel on YouTube.
Gene therapy and life extension research
The preprint is entitled, “New intranasal and injectable gene therapy for healthy life extension.” This mouse study makes some remarkable claims. In summary, they report that viral introduction of TERT or FST (genes that extend telomere length and boost muscle development, respectively) extend the mouse lifespan in a safe manner.
But to me the data seem almost too good to be true.
The reported benefits are huge in magnitude. It is surprising as well that they report no side effects. Note that TERT overexpression or changes in other factors that impact telomere biology are common features of many human cancers.
Further, I don’t understand how IP injection and nasal administration of a gene therapy would work so similarly and why would nasal administration yield results all over the body? It gets into the bloodstream quickly?
Adding to the mystery is why boosting TERT and FST produced such similar results. These are very different genes encoding totally distinct kinds of proteins.
I think there’s reason for some skepticism here and I’m not alone as check out this Endpoints piece.
I’ve covered BioViva and Liz Parrish before, and various enhancement or life extension efforts including DIY CRISPR. For instance, see this popular past post: Monkeying around with myostatin: on the road to healthier humans or human hulks?
Science media & some primary papers
- From Jocelyn Kaiser at Science, CRISPR injected into the blood treats a genetic disease for first time. transthyretin amyloidosis. The original NEJM paper on CRISPR into blood.
- Stem Cells Synchronize To Repair the Spinal Cord in Axolotls, Tech Networks. Here’s the original eLife paper: Spatiotemporal control of cell cycle acceleration during axolotl spinal cord regeneration.
- A deep dive from Lindsay Gellman at Wired on links between stem cell clinics and anti-vaxxers: How Fringe Stem Cell Treatments Won Allies on the Far Right.
More articles including cancer & stem cells
- Prognostic and predictive value of ALDH1, SOX2 and SSEA-4 in bladder cancer, Scientific Reports.
- Relevance of circulating hybrid cells as a non-invasive biomarker for myriad solid tumors, Scientific Reports.
Intestinal MYC modulates obesity-related metabolic dysfunction, Nature Metabolism.