Weekly reads: $1B Saudi anti-aging push, OCT4 necklace, cancer trial wows, coffee brain

I recently wrote about stem cell-related ideas for anti-aging and even cheating death, but there are of course other approaches including drugs like metformin. A new article outlines a massive research funding plan to tackle aging. Let’s start with that.
Stem-Cells-Aging, anti-aging
The stem cell theory of aging. The fewer overall stem cells you have, the more likely you are to age. Can that be reversed? Image conceived by Knoepfler and Taylor Seamount, and drawn by Seamount.

Recommend reads including anti-aging

Saudi Arabia plans to spend $1 billion a year discovering treatments to slow aging, MIT Tech Review.  Antonio Regalado is one of the best science writers in the regenerative medicine space.  His new piece on the Saudi funding of $1B a year indefinitely to slow aging is very interesting.
The Saudi anti-aging research program does not yet have many specifics. Also, Antonio’s piece doesn’t mention stem cells. However, I’m guessing our favorite cells will be in the mix. Something called The Hevolution Foundation will distribute the funds. Where did that name arise? I wasn’t able to find out. The Foundation will be led by Dr. Mehmood Khan.
This new development also reminds me of Altos Labs here in Northern California, which is focused on regenerative reprogramming.  Antonio also has this tidbit:
Peter Diamandis, chairman of the X Prize Foundation, which organizes high-profile technical competitions, confirmed in a text message that he explored whether Hevolution might become a sponsor of a planned $100 million age-reversal prize, which is expected to feature scientific teams competing to rejuvenate animals. Those discussions have not moved forward. Another person familiar with the X Prize said it had secured other sources of funding.
Diamandis has his own company in this general space here in the U.S. called Fountain Life, which seems pretty dubious to me.

More reads

Stem cells make too many or too few brain cells in people with autism, Futurity.  The  research article in Stem Cell Reports is interesting. Of course, biology and genetics are complicated. So I’m not that surprised by the results. Further, we cannot approach autism in simplistic ways. That’s why it’s frustrating when people oversell possible stem cell therapies for autism.

iPS cell art. Artist Anna Dumitriu has exhibits ongoing in Germany. Her art embodies science and the work includes the image below of a representation of OCT4 and its role in reprogramming to make iPS cells. Very cool. She’s Artist in Residence at the Institute for Epigenetics and Stem Cells.

Oct4 necklace cellular reprogramming
Check out this pic of an Oct4 necklace representing chromatin mechanisms of cellular reprogramming. It’s by artist Anna Dumitriu. HT to ME Torres-Padilla. Image from Twitter.

Mending the gaps: ethically sensitive cells and the evolution of European stem cell policy, Regenerative Medicine.

That quick morning coffee might lead to enduring brain changes, Nature. Here’s the original research article in JCI: Caffeine intake exerts dual genome-wide effects on hippocampal metabolism and learning-dependent transcription. Could coffee have anti-aging effects in the long run?

The renal lineage factor PAX8 controls oncogenic signalling in kidney cancer, Nature.

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